Save the best for last

Trip Start Feb 14, 2005
Trip End Jun 14, 2005

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Wednesday, June 8, 2005

We arrived in La Fortuna after a LONG day of bus and ferry travel, settled in a hotel room and after eating some dinner headed out on a tour of Volcan Arenal. This volcano is one of the most popular attractions for tourists who visit Costa Rica because it is the third most active volcano in the world. The area around the volcano was very attractive and after the sun went down we were able to see the bright orange rocks of lava spewing down the slope. We watched and listened as the lava sporadically flowed for about a half an hour before our tour bus took us back to the hotel. This was the extent of our visit in La Fortuna as the next day Chris and Oli were off to San Jose to fly off (and we had to say our final goodbyes, sadly)and we traveled by "jeep-boat-jeep" to Monteverde.

Monteverde, also quite popular, is where the famous cloud forests exist. The land is lush and green and the weather is wet. Our first day there we rested and took a long walk. The next day we got up early and went to one of the many local forest parks to experience the hanging bridges that get as high as 150 feet in the air. At first look across the first bridge we wondered what we were getting ourselves into, but after beating our fears it turned out to be a beautiful walk with the birds chirping and big flying beetles coming after us.
That night we went to a restaurant just up the dirt road from us and had delicious latino cuisine with tasty latinopolitans. The food and atmosphere were so inviting that we traveled back there the next night too. Apparently our food budget has gone out the window. :)
The next day we woke up even earlier to take a tour of the Monteverde cloud forest, there are actually two cloud forests in the region. We chose the Monteverde forest because it was directly on the Continental Divide and was going to be less humid than the Santa Elena cloud forest. At 7:30 our tour started and for the next three hours we took about 5 courses in 1 in Ecology and Biology, our guide was fantastic. Maybe the most amazing part was that we were fortunate enough to see the Quetzal bird, not once, but twice in our adventure. This is the bird that we looked for in Panama and the same bird that many bird watchers come to this part of the world to see, but often go home without so much as a look.
We had planned on going to the nature preserve later in the day, but as soon as our tour ended the rain started to pour and our only option was to head back to the hotel, where we stayed for the rest of the day as the rain never stopped.

The next day we took our final bus ride and after 9 hours we arrived in Manuel Antonio, the second most visited place in Costa Rica, mainly because it has a rain forest and great beaches all in one. As soon as we arrived at our hotel the people in the pool invited us over so we jumped on in. The guys that we met there were Elgin and David both from Atlanta, and Alfredo who is from Mexico. We all became pretty inseparable for the next five days.
Day one we spent in the pool and then went to eat in a local soda restaurant (where the locals mostly eat) and had some great food - rice with shrimp and fish soup.
Day two we walked down the main beach where one lays on the sand as waiters bring us Piņa Coladas and of course we swam. That night we all hung out at the pool and had fun.
Day three we went walking through the rainforest as well as swimming in the gorgeous beaches with perfect waves. That night we all hung out at the pool again.
Day four we did nothing but play yatzee, play beach ball games in the pool, and have fun. However, we should note that after four months of roughing it, we decided to pamper ourselves with a local spa treatment. We had our bodies wrapped with aloe, lavender and cucumber while also receiving facials and food scrubs. It was quite Heavenly. And far to expensive to treat ourselves to more often, but we thought we deserved it.
The next day was pretty much spent traveling back to San Jose and shopping. There isnīt enough to be said about how much fun we had with Elgin, David and Alfredo over these past few days, it was really a great way to leave.

Today is the last day on the trip, tomorrow we head off to LA for a few days.
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