Published: January 26th 2008December 30th 2007
Danger- Go no further
Here we are at the highest point of the hike. When you read the sign and realize you're on volcanic spewed rock, it feels like you are very close!
Early on Saturday, December 29th we met up with the McLeod’s at the parque central. With breakfast burritos to eat on the road we set off for Arenal Volcano. Ron wanted to get an early start as the road between Esparza and San Ramon is busy and traffic has a tendency to get backed up. It was our lucky day as Ron easily passed a big logging truck, Lach followed closely behind and we were off. The ride from San Ramon to La Fortuna is a windy, climbing ride and on this day it was a bit overcast. We drove through a bit of rain and even through the clouds at one point as the elevation increased. The scenery was beautiful, even with the slight interruption of Benjamin’s tummy upset and explosion. Mom now remembers every time to give motion sickness pills early and to have bags on hand always!
We arrived in La Fortuna under serious cloud cover and drove past the numerous hotels and resorts en route to the Arenal Volcano park entrance without being able to see the volcano. Once on the west side however, we could now see Arenal looming up and we prepared ourselves for
Arenal Volcano show us your top
The clouds often cover the top of the volcano. This means another visit to try and get the full view.
a short hike. As we left the parking lot it was drizzling and we donned jackets and umbrellas. The trail began on flat terrain and then began to climb slowly. We were walking on paths made up of volcanic rocks and were eager to see if the peak of the volcano would reveal itself. It soon began raining quite hard, but we were not deterred. Lach is a great hiking leader as he moves forward at a good pace, keeping everyone focused on the walk and not on the rain. At the bottom of the volcano we stopped for shelter a few minutes and then started the climb up the stream of fallen volcanic rocks from the flow of 1992. Looking at that date and actually climbing up the rocks makes you realize that this volcano is very real and still very active. Once we reached the highest and safest point that we were able to climb to we huddled for shelter from the rain and wind. Then, as if to reward us for our perseverance and patience in the yucky weather, the rain stopped, the clouds cleared for the sun to shine and we stood in awe at the
Ariana at Arenal
We were thankful for the umbrellas to keep some of the rain off.
view. The magnificence of seeing an active volcano up so close was pretty fantastic and we could hear the pops and groans of the volcano at work. Unfortunately the clouds did not clear quite enough for us to see the top of the volcano nor any real spew. From our perch we also had a sweet view of Lake Arenal, the lake that was formed by damming and flooding of surrounding land. It is the largest lake in the country and perfect for windsurfing.
After the hike we left the park in search of a well deserved lunch, stopping on the way to watch a group of coatis on the side of the ride. Again the rain was coming down heavily on the east side of the volcano and we finally chose a soda that looked easy to access without getting drenched. With the heavy rain that did not seem to be letting up we had to forgo plans to check out the waterfalls in the area. Our other tour destination was to one of two hot springs in the area but we decided to skip this as well due to lack of time and not wanting to splurge
Lake Arenal behind the kids
We were all very glad that the sun came out to see the sights. And we were probably glad that it was cloudy as the sun was super hot.
on the pricey entrance fees for an hour of soaking. We set off for home, stopped at San Ramon mall for some good wine and ribs and enjoyed another fine evening poolside at Villa Posada del Sol.
The next day was our last day in Esparza area during the McLeod visit and we were all ready to try out a new canopy tour only 3km from town. The Parque Aventura Canopy Tour on the Rio Barranca was an easy 8 cable afternoon. With Ron as the group expert and the rest of excited for our first serious zipping we enjoyed the 3 hour tour. The first and second cable eased us all into the fun and then the third cable tested our true love and dedication. It was so long that we couldn’t see the end from the staring platform and Lach had a few words to yell out at the start “Pura Vida”. Ah yes the good life. I think that everyone enjoyed the experience and Benjamin was always sad when he couldn’t go first in the group. He zip lined with one of the guides, not solo yet! We met some very nice young ladies from Montreal
Benjamin loves the camera and we loved seeing the lake behind him.
and a interesting music man from California, which is always an added bonus when doing these kind of tours. At the end of the day we munched on yummy fruit and then went back to relax and pack up for the next day’s adventure to Monteverde. The plan was to eat one last meal a Posada del Sol and be ready for the Monteverde adventure.
The last evening at Villa Posada del Sol was very interesting as we were able to witness a lovely and romantic marriage proposal. While we eating there were many people hangin about and we thought they were waiting for the BBQ. We asked them if they wanted to share but were told "mas tarde" or later. The same people showed up just as we were cleaning up and moving out of the BBQ area but they were all dressed up. We never thought anything of it until Ron was talking to the owner near the pool and he witnessed a young man asking a young woman to marry him. The young lady was obviously surprised and very happy and she shouted 'SI. SI, SI." At that moment she wrapped her arms around him and
A group of coatis near the road caused us to pull over. It was pretty cool, then we saw that someone was feeding them from their trunk. Not so cool, but nice to see the animals.
then a Mariachi band appeared out of nowhere and all the friends gathered around and sang a couple of songs and celebrated. They sang for about twenty minutes and then the band disappeared and a major display of fireworks was next. It was one of those moments that makes you want to cry and cheer at the same time...another true "pura vida' moment.
There are more photos below