First stop: La Fortuna

Trip Start Oct 16, 2013
Trip End Mar 09, 2013

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Where I stayed

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Friday, October 18, 2013

Day 2: 18 October 2013

Ok so I take my earlier comments about San Jose back! After travelling to the bus station on the other side of town today this part was much more like what I thought it would be: people hanging about on the streets, prostitutes, beggars and in general not really somewhere you want to spend much time. The bus times were different to the ones we found online so we went to find a cafe to wait in. We had some gallos (small filled tortillas) with sausage. We learned 2 lessons this morning: 1, never trust online bus times and 2, don't eat at bus station cafes as chances are there will be some cockroaches that will appear while you are eating!

The bus journey to La Fortuna (5 hours) went well until about half way through when the rain started and it got so foggy that the driver couldn't go very fast as he couldn't see much. Thankfully by the time we got to La Fortuna it was dry again and we set off to try and find a hostel. This proved easy as there was a tourist information place next to the bus station and soon we had somewhere to sleep and a tour of the Arenal volcano national park booked. With only 30 minutes to find the hotel, change and have some lunch we didn't have much time before we were heading off again.

The tour started at the observatory before we headed into the forest where our guide showed us around stopping on the way to point out the different plants, how they smell and what they can be used for. Such as making a paste for insect bites and making teas that help with an upset stomach - both of which might come in handy later on in the trip! We weren't walking for long before the rain came on again and as I made the decision to wrap my camera in my waterproof jacket I ended up completely soaked. It was actually quite nice though as it was the first time today I felt cool because of the humidity here! We saw some hanging bridges, a waterfall and our guide even found a red eyed frog before heading to the hot springs to warm our cold and tired bodies. Sliding around the hot springs in the dark drinking a cocktail with a group of strangers it finally hit me that we were actually here and that we would have lots of these slightly weird and completely new experiences to come on our trip. Hopefully they will continue to be as fun as todays was!

Day 3: 19 October 2013

As there are lots of activities here we went off to see what we could fit in today. We looked at a few options before finding a tour company that was doing a private horse riding tour around the other side of the national park which sounded cool. I haven't been on a horse for years so was glad that it would only be Anna and the instructor who would be there!

After some initial problems getting my horse Piquolin to move we were soon on our way. Our first stop was the Fortuna waterfall. We left the horses to rest and climbed down to the falls. We had a swim at the bottom (I even remembered to take my waterproof camera today) before starting the climb back up. We had a rest (defo needed for me) before heading to our second stop, a butterfly and frog garden.

After the tour we went to a local bar the guide recommended for lunch. Although the bar didn't look much (more of a room with tables) the food was the best we had eaten since arriving and it was super cheap :)

We just made it back to the hotel before it started raining so we spent the rest of the afternoon chilling on the balcony reading/looking at the volcano... I am a little obsessed with it! Sometimes you can see it all, sometimes its covered in fog so you can only see part of it, sometimes you can't see it at all, sometimes there is steam coming out the top. It never looks the same. As it didn't look like it was going to stop raining we had a quick dinner in the hotel before having an early night so we could get up to watch the sunset in the morning.
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