Volcan Arenal and Back to Monteverde

Trip Start Mar 20, 2009
Trip End Jun 03, 2009

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Puntarenas,
Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hello all!

I am just sitting here at an internet cafe trying to write renewable energy curriculum and thought I'd take a short break to share with you my adventures of the last few days (I'm improving!).

Friday after school, Britt, Ashley, Annie and I hopped on Jeep-Boat-Jeep for a weekend away in La Fortuna. I think we were all needing some distance from homestays, teaching, and Monteverde in general (we still love all three of those things, it was just time for a vacation). Jeep-Boat-Jeep is a nifty notion where you pay twice as much as a bus but get to La Fortuna in a fraction of the time. The bus would take about 7 hours, J-B-J about 2.5. So worth it! We had heard that the ride could be a bit bumpy but in the end it was no worse than driving around Monteverde.

We got to Arenal Backpackers Resort and were a bit disappointed that they did not take credit cards. We checked in anyway and settled into our dorm. Then it was off to Burger King! No rice and beans/pinto for us this weekend! So delicious! We checked out La Fortuna a bit then picked up some alcohol for a little dorm party. Back at the hostel we met our roommates and started our party. So fun! We then decided to take the free shuttle to the local discotheque. We were all feeling pretty brave so we headed out to the dance floor right away, while the Ticos watched. We danced pretty hard that night and soon had a small group of very sweaty Ticos for dance partners. They whisked us around that floor like nobodies business! I don't think I've ever spun and dipped so much!

We then headed back to the hostel with our disgusting sweat-stained clothes and chatted with other guests about what we should do while in town.

The next morning we got up pretty early and headed to La Catarata, a gorgeous waterfall. It was a bit pricey ($6 cab, $10 entry) but was well worth it.It cascades through black volcano rock into a blue pool of water. We took many a model shot there!

For lunch it was back to BK then naps before our evening of more fun times. We payed $40 for our night and it was jammed pack. First off we headed to the National Park for a rainforest hike. Of course we also had to stop to take pictures in front of Volcan Arenal! It was of course the real reason for the whole trip. It had been pretty cloudy in Monteverde and then also in La Fortuna that we were concerned that we wouldn't even be able to see the volcano. Lucky for us, the sky cleared and we got great shots of the top. We had our rainforest hike and learned more about the local flora and fauna.

It was then time for volcano viewing and a history lesson. Apparently, until 1968 when the volcano erupted, the local people thought it was just a hill! Ever since its been pretty active although its been slowing down the last few years. We headed to a bridge in the evening to wwatch for lava. We'd heard that others hadn't seen much for the last couple days and since the cloud cover had increased we weren't too hopeful. Lucky for us, the lava began! Super exciting! We could see spurts and flows about 4 times. Super cool!

Then we all headed to Baldi Hot Springs for a relaxing evening sitting in many many hot pools, some too hot! There were a few water slides too.

The next day we checked out and relaxed by the pool all day long. I finally got the burn that I deserved (I was the only one that hadn't burned yet, and the only one that continually wears 4 SPF. I forgot to reapply. I expect my mom to comment on this, guaranteed). Then it was Jeep-Boat-Jeep back to Monteverde! We later learned some secrets about La Fortuna. There is a cheaper hot spring but it can be tricky to find. Next time we'd opt for that.

Yesterday, we finally got around to doing the Don Juan Coffee Tour. Don Juan is actually a real guy (we met him) and he's the grandfather of both Matt and Ashley's families. Matt's homestay brother gave the tour for us (and did a super awesome job, I learned more about coffee production and history than I ever thought possible!) and Ashey's homestay sister came along with us. We even got some delicious coffee at the end of the tour. Highly recommended!

So, now there's only a few days left before our practicum is complete! Definitely a bittersweet feeling!
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katie_h on

So cool that you got to see lava! I'm glad that it cleared up for you guys so that you could fully appreciate the volcano. That must have been amazing. I am highly anticipating your pictures! Good luck wrapping up your practicum, and enjoy the next leg of your adventure!

And put on some real sunscreen! :P

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