Adventure in Arenal
Trip Start Nov 06, 2009
2Trip End Nov 15, 2009
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The flight from Cleveland to San Jose were fairly painless except for having to get up for a 6:00 AM flight out of Cleveland. TACA airlines is a very good way to fly since I have never used them before. They are very professional and the planes are very nice. After a stop in El Salvador, we got into Costa Rica around 4:00 PM local time. A taxi took us to our hotel in Santa Ana, an area just outside the main city in the hills around San Jose. That night we were thoroughly exhausted from traveling, so we ate at the hotel (an odd combination of sushi and Italian food). It was an early bedtime to get some rest for our trip to Arenal the next morning.
The flight from San Jose was out of the much smaller regional airport. The plane was a small 10-15 seat propeller plane. It was only about a 20 minute flight with minimal bumps for the size of the plane
very active volcano. According to one of our drivers it is the second most active volcano in the world. Thankfully there has not been a major eruption requiring evacuation since 2001. Our hotel was located about 5 minutes past the main town of La Fortuna and was amazing to say the least. It had a perfect view of the volcano and the landscaping was incredible. There was even a hot spring on site for our use, which was a nice way to end a long day of activity.
night we tried to see the volcano erupting but it was too cloudy to see anything even if there was actually any lava.
The next day we drove to the El Silencio reserve which was basically just a big series of hiking
trails in the forest and near the volcano. We were hoping to see some monkeys in the canopy but were not able to spot any. We did see a lot of what we later found out is a bird called a Red Curacao It kind of looks like a turkey but smaller. They would make a lot of commotion when flying from tree to tree. There were also a lot of trails of leaf cutter ants on the path carrying leaves to their nest
That night we ate at an excellent place called Nene's which served typical Costa Rican food or "tipico" as it is called on menus. I have to say that the steaks served at every restaurant were excellent, great flavor and well cooked. The prices at restaurants however are no cheaper then in America. I was surprised at this since restaurants in Mexico were generally much cheaper. Costa Rican menus are the same for the most part. Often 5 or 6 types of steaks, a number of grilled fish dishes and appetizers that usually feature ceviche. So far we had not encountered any really bad food which is a change from our trip to Mexico. There are also 3 local beers; Bavaria, Imperial and Pilsen. My favorite is the Bavaria dark which is quite good for a central American beer. Imperial is comparable to a Corona but a little better.
The next day we had made a reservation for a canopy zip line tour at one of the local operators. We got there about early so the guide took us around their gardens and explained about the different types of plants and animals they have. There was one butterfly tent with a number of the large colorful butterflies that Costa Rica is famous for. In the other there were two types of frogs. These are the highly poisonous frogs that the indigenous people used for their darts and arrows. There was a red/blue variety and a green/black type. The tour began with a ride on a bus pulled by a tractor up some steep dirt roads. We then hiked 15-20 minutes in the forest to the first platform. I was very nervous at first when I saw how high and long the lines actually were. Thankfully the first 4 lines were practice lines to allow us to get a feel for it. It was an amazing experience to have that view and to be going so fast over everything. After my first time I was hooked. I could have done the tour 10 more times and never gotten tired of it. The next 6 were much higher and faster. The longest was 1 km with speeds approaching 70 km/hour. Michelle is so light that she got stuck at the end of a couple. For the longest one the guide went with her so she could make it all the way. A couple of the lines even went over some amazing waterfalls.
On the way back we rode horses for about 20 minutes instead of taking the tractor. It was fine except for when they started trotting which was not very comfortable. The horses knew the way back so the only thing we had to do was tell them when to slow down. The tour took most of the day, so after some souvenir shopping and an early dinner we got ready for our trip the next day to Samara.