Blogs from Alajuela, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean


For our last day in Fortuna it was a full one! We started out by heading to Fortuna Waterfalls, apparently just a short walk down the road. Fortunately we brought 'Sammy the carolla', because it would have been quite a hike! Before the hike that is actually quite a large and well groomed park. There were many steps going down the waterfall to swim - they say about 500 but there must have been much more on the way up for all the complaining from our little friend, Scott. Probably the most complaints this whole trip. Maybe something to do with the temperature of the water? Scott didn't swim, but he did wander about in the shallow pools below the main waterfall. There were a couple of schools of pretty big fish to scare off, so ... read more

This morning we got up and went to Arenal National Park for a hike on the lava flows. We were given the choice between an easy hike about one hour, or a hard hike about 2 1/2 hours. We knew we could do the long hike so that’s what we chose. The trail meandered around a lake where we spotted chestnut mandibled Toucans, Oropendolas (they make the strangest sounds... hard to describe), herons and 30 other species of bird we couldn’t identify. We also saw beetles, leaf cutter ants and a scorpion! It was over 30°, there was significant elevation, and humidity was near 100%, but Scott persevered. The views of the top were worth it, and as promised we did walk on the lava flow. It was around 1230 when we got to lunch, and ... read more

After a dreaded 5 AM wake up, we got Tiffany and Alexa to the airport successfully. Apparently they had no problems, their plane was on time, and they’re now enjoying the relative cool of Canada, including a fresh layer of snow at home.It was about 2 1/2 hours to Fortuna and we had most of the day ahead of us, so we decided to try the local hot springs. They naturally mix with the river so there’s different temperature pools so going to the hot springs in a tropical country isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Options range from free public pools to high-end and swanky. We opted for high-end and swanky. It was expensive but it was very nice and apparently the only place where the water is not treated - just routed through seemingly ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Alajuela » Arenal February 16th 2019

We have had a few adventure packed days in the La Fortuna/Arenal area. We arrived late in La Fortuna (just after dark). We did survive the 2 nights in our un-air conditioned lodging although I’m not gonna lie - it wasn’t comfortable. It is very hot in La Fortuna. Sadly, we did not see any sloths in the gardens. We did however see a few frogs, lizards and plenty of leaf cutter ants. We started our first day in La Fortuna with a hike out to the La Fortuna waterfall (Catarata Rio Fortuna). We trekked down the many flights of stairs to water below. It was quite cool in the morning and with the wind and spray of the falls. We swam in the pool below which was more like a Canadian lake in summer than ... read more
Rio Chollin
Rio Chollin
Wish you were beer

Thurs 6-Fri 7 December - Day 41 to 42 - La Fortuna and return to San Jose for 1 night Our next journey took us through the mountains of the cloud forest using a combination of minivans and boats. The first leg to Lake Arenal took about one hour 30 minutes and the landscape was truly spectacular. Rolling hills eventually give way to the distant views of Arenal Volcano but we didn’t stop for photos as the clouds were very thick and low at the lookouts. Stopping by the side of the road, we walk down a dirt path to our boat on the shores of Lake Arenal. The scenery was truly stunning of the lake and we travel for approximately an hour slowly approaching Arenal Volcano. Once we reach the other side, we boarded another ... read more
We hired a motor scooter for the day in La Fortuna (2)
Arenal Lake near La Fortuna (10)
Arenal Observatory Resort and Spa (21)

It was our last part of the trip. We decided to do a little road trip. We went to Zarcero. On the way we stopped to Grecia, to see the church made of metal plates. We also stopped at Sarchi to see and buy some handicrafts. In region of Zarcero, views are splendid and reminds a bit of Switzerland. In Zarcero city, there's a nice topiary in front of the church. The church itself has 2 towers that look like missiles, (!!). On the way back, we went South to Atenas, one of the places that was tagged as one of the most ideals weathers of the world. In the "zocalo", like all other spanish cities, there's a beautiful park, and we sat there a little while to see people go by and eat some ice ... read more
zarcero church and its missiles.
Bye bye Costa Rica!

Our first stop out of San Jose is one of the top destinations in Costa Rica, La Fortuna, 136km from San Jose and 4 hours by bus over the range of volcanos that stretches across the middle of the country. It’s home to Arenal, an active volcano, though you almost wouldn’t know it’s there, as for the 3 days we are here we only see a glimpse of the volcano on one day, the rest of the time it’s shrouded in cloud and down in the town we are drenched in rain. As well as the volcano and hot springs, the rainforest experience is the main attraction here and if you have the time and money there are a myriad of rainforest experiences to be had, ranging from guided nature walks to zip-lining and rafting. We ... read more

We left Monteverde to stay in San Jose for a couple of days. It is our base to explore the central region. First stop is fantastic Poas volcano. It's a very popular park and for good reasons. The road(s) to get there from Alajuela or San Jose, slowly climb through various farms landscapes and showing superb views. Close to park entrance, there are a couples of farms growing strawberries. All in the car agreed they were as good as ones in Canada!!! Visitor center is well designed and has many interesting displays. The road leading to the crater builds up your expectations... and at the crater itself, you are not deceived. The crater is more than 1km wide, and the view is spectacular! The trails in the park brings to a special forest with short trees, ... read more
endemic poas squirrel
trail in forest

My Monday started out with a drive through the countryside - from Holstein dairy cows to fields of pineapples (seeing pineapples never gets old…sorry for the lack of pictures…it was raining) to bananas. It’s not every day you end up behind a dump truck full of pineapples or see the box of a pickup truck filled with bananas! I arrived in LaFortuna early afternoon and spent a bit of time wandering around, checked out another old church, had some very delicious quesadillas for lunch! Then I made my way further south to LaTigra to a hotel that Jon and I discovered on our last trip here - LaTigra Rainforest Lodge. I had been hoping to include it in my travels, and I booked myself 2 nights so that I’d have ample time to enjoy the rainforest ... read more

Central America Caribbean » Costa Rica » Alajuela » Arenal February 6th 2018

For today’s adventure we did the quintessential Costa Rica thing and took a 2 hour walk in the cloud forest on a series of suspended bridges. Yes, it was as awesome as it sounds. We had an extremely knowledgeable guide, Jorge, and the walk through the cloud forest was spectacular. We encountered a bunch of army ants on our trail that Jorge told us to run past quickly (you know, for safety). We saw a few birds, a tree that creaks and many a beautiful view. There were ferns the size of elephant ears - it was like something out of Jurassic Park (I’m pretty sure I saw a velociraptor lurking in there somewhere). We learned a lot - tons of info about the local flora (like which plants we could eat), that the things Tarzan ... read more

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