We stayed at Hotel La Fortuna for two nights, which was located near the base of the Arenal volcano (which sadly hasn't been active for about two years)
. We found a great local soda for dinner, Restaurante La Parada, where I had some really amazing ceviche and lomo con salsa jalapeno. After shooing away the local dog that wanted to follow us all the way "home", we headed to sleep in our non-air conditioned room (where during the night a ton of tiny spiders decided to infiltrate my backpack and make themselves at home...)
On Friday we signed up for canyoneering, which consisted of rappelling down four different tropical waterfalls and descending through a river canyon, the Lost Canyon, in the Tican rainforest. It turned out to be a blast, and of course was followed by casados at the Canyon Cafe. It rained for a good part of the day, and we encountered a decent-sized thunderstorm later on. That night we headed to Arenal Hot Springs at Los Lagos, where we swam around in the warm rainforest springs and took advantage their water slides. It was a bit disappointing that there was no lava flowing to see at Arenal, but the hot springs were definitely enjoyable after the rainy night.
We woke up pretty early Saturday morning. After hitting up a panaderia, Musmanni, we packed up our things and headed to Lake Arenal, where we took a ferry across to the other side in order to drive to our next destination: Monteverde.
After our early morning departure from San Jose, we set out for La Fortuna and the Arenal volcano. We stopped along the way for our first adventure- rafting the rapids of the Rio Sarapiqui. The rapids were class IV, but thanks to our amazing teamwork (and some helpful maneuvering and lessons from our Tico rafting guide), we managed to not capsize our boat. This doesn't mean we didn't get wet; the rapids were big enough that we all got soaked, especially when our raft leader made me sit on the front of the raft "vaquero" style, so I didn't stand a chance at actually staying seated as we bounced around over the rapids. We stopped midway through our two-hour rafting excursion to snack on some sandía y la piña and to jump off a small, rocky waterfall into the river pools below. During the last half hour or so of our journey, it started pouring rain, adding to the excitement/difficulty of rafting. After two hours of rafting, we were all ready for some dry clothes and a big tipical style Tico lunch at Tia Rosita.