Friday, April 29, 2016

Costa Rica Recap : Post 3 : La Fortuna

See my other posts leading up to our trip, and the recap posts: Costa Rica Recap : Post 1 : Alajuela & Costa Rica Recap : Post 2 : La Fortuna
 I'm going to make this post easier & just do a Picture Post, with captions below the photo's. Enjoy!
Breakfast from Maria at the Mayol Lodge. It was great!
First Volcano photo of the day. Now, who can say that each morning?! Also pictured, downtown La Fortuna, with Pops (a good ice cream joint), & one of MANY tourismo vans.
We decided our first official full day in La Fortuna will start with a hike at the base of Arenal. We drove to the National Park entrance, which is down a dirt road that circles the base of the volcano. I think it was $10 per person, but you get to park your car in a lot with employees to watch it. You just hike on the trails, unguided. Granted, we didn't see many animals, & a guided tour may be able to spot those for you. We recommend this guy with a small stand towards the Arenal Observatory. He is a local & very knowledgeable! Too bad we didn't have a chance to hike with him.See the bottom of this post for details.
The hiking begins!
The trails were nice to walk on.

Wonder what made those prints...

Timer cameras, for the win!

Ahhh, animals I recognize!

The man-eating snake that Jim screamed about when he almost stepped on it. I had to get a picture. Terrifying, right? Hehe.

We made it to the viewing! That's Arenal... on a very cloudy day.
They don't allow people to hike much closer than this. We read about years ago, a guide brought people closer to climb the volcano, it erupted, & they all were killed.

Me & Arenal. Just, ya know, hanging out. We're buds.
Water is key on this hike!

Those little leaves are being carried by ants. They all marched in a line, hauling these. So neat to watch.
After our hike, we had our first Coati sighting & it went a little like this: "WHAT IS THAT?!" "I don't know! A raccoon? An anteater? A furry, large rat?!" "Quick, get the camera! Stop all traffic behind us so we can take a picture!"

Zoomed in on Arenal's terrain.

Natural, free Hot Springs! (Just look for the yellow poles & lots of cars & people walking on the road that leads up to the volcano base.)

Jim, being distracted by all the Costa Rican wilderness & not paying attention to my camera.
The hike was a GREAT start to our day. It does get humid & hot, so make sure to bring water. If you have a strappy water bottle holder, or even a string-tight backpack, bring it to carry your water. I'd recommend at least 1 bottle a person, maybe 2 depending on the time of day you go. We went right away when the park opened. Take your time - make sure to notice trees, flowers, & animals in the treetops! You're in a wonderful place, where nature rules.
There is a SkyTram in the area, which sounded really cool, but we were on a budget. If you can fit this in, you should! There are some restaurants hidden up that dirt road, so check those out. Coati can be found in this area, too, so drive slow & have your camera ready!
Here is a map shot of the "dirt road" I keep referring to in this post:
The red circled area is the town of La Fortuna, where we stayed. Just follow the road west (the blue line I drew) towards that dirt road (the white line, with my black arrows pointing at it.) The natural, free Hot Springs were somewhere on that blue (tar) road. Heading away from La Fortuna, they were on the right side of the road. It'll be noticeable; lots of people walking in the area, lots of cars parked on the side of the road, & yellow posts (which I think are there so people don't drive down the path.) There was also a big gate across the road, that belongs to a hotel & they have parking right there, too, on the left side.
The first circle is the National Park we hiked from. The second is the Observatory, where I mentioned a nice man has a stand where he does guided hiking tours from.Lake Arenal is to the left side of the picture.We had drove up that far because we wanted to see the Observatory, but they were closed & it cost money. We figured, we can see the volcano from anywhere in town, no need to pay & see it elsewhere.
Got questions or comments about our trip? Post them below! I'd love to help out with planning your trip! Stay tuned for more posts on our trip.

Warm Wishes,

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