Fire on the mountain and agua caliente

Trip Start Aug 01, 2007
Trip End Oct 04, 2007

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Flag of Costa Rica  ,
Thursday, August 16, 2007

We left Monteverde in the morning, driving through lush green pastures and small villages until we got to Lago Arenal, an artificial lake created for hydroelectric purposes. On the way we stopped at a small restaurant/shop where there was a really cute green Amazon parrot. She climbed all over us and didnīt want to let go of Ido when it was time for us to leave. He has some bite marks on his hands as a result of her attachment to him. Taking a boat across the lake, we were really lucky to see the volcano clearly and even witness it produce a puff of smoke and some more sulfur gas ans smoke rolling down its slopes.
In Fortuna, another small town at the foot of a volcano (sounds familiar somehow. . . ) we took off in the afternoon for a tour of Arenal National Park, including a walk through the rainforest, a stop at the the volcano lookout and a couple of hours in the Baldi Hot Springs complex. The tour was awesome. Our guide, Noe was from the Carribean side of Costa Rica and was really connected to nature. He said that when he guides, he does it from the heart and thatīs why itīs easier for him to see animals, because he is more open to connecting with nature. He seems to be the most senior guide in this region - all of the younger guides we passed on the way gave him respect. On the walk we saw a sloth hanging out in the sun, a few toucans, a spider monkey family, and finally (for us) a snake - a small viper hanging out on a log right by the trail. We also got to have the joy of walking in the pouring rain again.
After the walk we drove up to the volcano observation point where we waited for the clouds to lift and got to see the glowing red rocks being spewed out of the volcano and rolling down its slopes. It was too dark for a picture though . .
Next was the hot springs. The place is huge, with something like 25 pools and lots of waterfalls. We got there later in the evening so it wasnīt too crowded and we could find our own corners to hang out in. We also both did the waterslide, which has a really steep part where you catch about 3 feet of air. The landing is a bit rough, but it was fun.
Today, the 17th, we moved from the hotel included with our tour to one with a better atmosphere and for half the price ($4 per person for a private room at Gringo Peteīs). It also has a kitchen so we can cook our own dinner.
We set off to do some free horseback riding with Felipe, who has horses and needs them to exercise so he offers trips for tips to tourists. He was busy working on the barn, but we said we would come back tomorrow morning.
Instead, we walked a few kilometers (until we caught a ride) to the La Fortuna waterfall. It comes down about 70 feet into a big pool. We tried to swim towards the falls, but the current is so strong that it just pushed us back. It was quite refreshing after the walk in the sun.
We hitchhiked back and ended up catching a ride with an Israeli couple.
This afternoon we might head back to the hot springs, and tonight we might go try to see the volcanic activity again. Itīs not visible from town, you have to go to the other side of the volcano to see it. So hopefully we will get some fireworks later on!
Donīt forget to check out the pictures from Monteverde, finally online (including sloth pics!)

Pura Vida

Phoenix and Ido
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