Published: November 30th 2008November 30th 2008
Why would one endure the 8 minute trip up a windy, steep, and slightly terrifying road, sandwiched between a pack of cows? I'll tell you why. When you get a chance to experience one of Earth's natural wonders in perfect vision, untouched, in all its glory, literally a few miles from where you are standing, it's worth the hellish trek up a road to see it.
When we had first planned our trip to Costa Rica, we had made sure that there was a stop at the Volcan Arenal. After driving most of the day to reach this stunning part of Costa Rica, we dropped our stuff off in our villa and headed towards the base of the volcano. However, this wasn't after taking a few moments to realize that our hilltop villa had a perfect view of the volcano. I was in absolute amazement to see Arenal tower of the valley, and see the smoke just rise out from the top. I've seen a lot of cool natural wonders in my travels, but that was the first time I had seen an active volcano. I then realized, s**t, if this things blows, this whole town is screwed.
driving around for a few minutes, we noticed that there was a "skytram" somewhere in the area and figured there had to be ziplines close by. We drove down a very bumpy and rocky road for about 5 miles until we reached the parking lot for the skytram and ziplines. Now I'll have to admit, I was ready to rock these lines, but after I saw a line that was 1/2 mile long just dangling above open ground, I immediately had second thoughts. Then, I went to put on the safety gear, and that was it. I couldn't do it. The last thing I needed was to be dangling mid air on a zipline and then have a crushing heart attack. Yea, I passed on that one, but some of the others braved the lines. I chickened out, but boy was it fun to watch everyone scream when they zipped down! In fact, our very own Steve was fortunate enough to stall out a couple of times and repel backwards to the platform. As the others zipped, I took a "nature walk" and toured around a butterfly garden. Riveting I know. I did get to practice my spanish with a
local guide, and I didn't have to have my heart beating at 1,000 times a minute. Not to mention, my shorts were unsoiled.
After we had dinner and it was dark out, we headed to the hottub at the hotel where we had a perfect view of the hot magma flowing down the side of Arenal. Unfortunately, it was so dark, and such a faint glow, we couldn't get any pictures. The mental images, however, will last a lifetime. It's really something to see nature in action, and quite tranquil as well. You really don't see that kind of thing in D.C. or Western Mass. Oh yea, I forgot to mention it was also $50 to sit in the natural hot spring (without bar service, mind you!). I think we got the best deal in the end.
As you can imagine, we took tons of pics of Arenal and the surrounding area, so enjoy one of Costa Rica's best attractions.
Until next time, safe travels
There are more photos below