Blogs from La Fortuna, Guanacaste, Costa Rica, Central America Caribbean

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Leg five: Nicaragua to Costa Rica On Saturday 23 we headed to the local Tica bus terminal to catch a ride to Liberia (Costa Rica), our next stop off point. There was some sort of religious celebration going on as there was a marching band going door to door with a massive statue of Mary and Jesus. Listening to the music certainly passed the time! We left Granada just after one and arrived at the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica within an hour and a half. Similar to the road borders for when we crossed from Guatemala into Belize, there was one station for exiting and another separate area for entering and immigration. Unlike with leaving Guatemala, however, our exit stamps were retrieved for us - our bus driver simply collected everybody's passports and handed ... read more
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Welcome to Costa Rica Late at night, upon arrival at San Jose airport I had my first taste of Español (Spanish) at the immigration counter as the officer wished me a lovely trip! I figured I was off to a good start as I understood her at least. My UK travel buddy Fiona had waited for me at the airport and we traveled to the hotel together, where another UK travel buddy was waiting! Over-excited by the holiday ahead of us and the availability of a hot tub we jumped right in and proceeded to catch up on life in the jacuzzi for an hour! Much needed sleep then followed! Sunday 9th May Costa Rican adventures officially began on Sunday morning with a traditional breakfast of ‘pico de gallo’ (literally "rooster's beak"…thankfully only in the literal ... read more
A maze!
Rainforest
Dewy


This morning we boarded a bus for a drive around San Jose before leaving for La Fortuna at the base of the Arenal Volcano. There is one building that was built in the last century and made of sheets of metal. It was shipped to San Jose from Europe, but the blueprints weren't included. The metal plates were stored for a year when the "direction book" finally arrived. On our drive through the countryside, we saw acres of sugar cane, coffee, papayas, bananas, and lots of other crops that I didn't recognize. We drove through Costa Rica's beautiful mountains on narrow, twisting roads as we climbed higher. Since this is the rainy season, and we are in the tropics, it rained most of the afternoon. The clouds were so low, that the drive in the mountains ... read more
Lomas del Volcan
View from our front porch


It rained all night, and when we woke this morning, it was still coming down. (We're in a rain forest). Apparently, nothing stops the locals from earning some tourist dollars, so we went horseback riding in the rain! Marshall had never been on a horse before, and it had been decades since I had ridden one, but we were ready to go! There were three honeymoon couples plus the two of us. I didn't feel old, did I? The caballeros matched us to the right horse, and we were off. Marshall got a really pretty gray one, and I got the biggest one (I wonder why?); it looked like an Arabian horse that we had when I was a kid. For the next hour, we rode through fields, across streams, and through the rain forest. Occasionally, ... read more
La Fortuna Waterfall
Ecothermale Hot Springs
Hot Springs After Sunset


We head off early in the morning to be taken on a guided tour of the Arenal Lodge Hanging Bridges just outside La Fortuna. We meet our guide and it turns out his main thing is plants so we get to find out lots more about the jungle vegetation this time. First plant he picks out for us is the Ataxia which he says is very poisonous. Its alternative local name is 'Lotteria' as the leaves have white spots that sometimes look like numbers and people use these as their lottery numbers hoping for a big win! We also see some beautiful, large, hanging bell shaped flowers in a kind of pale peach colour. These are called Angel's Trumpets and are pollinated by bats not the usual insects that flit from flower to flower. They have ... read more
Wild annis
Cure for headache
Angel's Trumpet flowers


So after a ferry, taxi, coach, 2 flights and another taxi we arrived very tired into La Fortuna, Costa Rica. It was midnight and raining and the road we had just been on was full of pot holes and very foggy. We checked into our hostel and fell straight to sleep. On the first day we awoke early and explored the small town. Not alot to see, mainly tourist shops and adventure shops with a few restaurants chucked in here and there. We decided to take a taxi up to one of the local hotels that has 16 hot spring pools on sight called the Spring resort. We spent the day chilling out in the pools, resting, watching the monkeys in the trees and at last seeing the volcano as the cloud cleared. This was wonderfull ... read more
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After a relaxing night in the hot springs provided by the Arenal volcano, seven members of our group got up early that next morning to head out to go see the La Fortuna waterfall. La Fortuna, which is fed by the Tenorio River, is located near the edge of the Arenal Volcano National Park and is at the base of the extinct Chato Volcano. It was about a 15 min bus ride up to the entrance of the park. After getting checked in we walked up to the first lookout point. Once the initial shock of "wow that is awesome" sank in, the realization came that it was going to be a long way down to get to the waterfall. The hike down the almost 700 stone stairs took about 15 minutes with one stop about ... read more
Seven Who Hiked to the Falls
"Wow, that is awesome!"
First View


This past weekend our group had the opportunity to stay at Arenal Springs Resort and Spa. The resort was absolutely amazing. It is located right next to Arenal, Costa Rica's most active volcano. Since July of 2010, the explosions and lava coming from Arenal have stopped. However, scientists believe Arenal is still very much alive. Looking up at Arenal will take your breath away. The pictures do not do it justice. Arenal, at 5,437 feet, is so tall that the top is often hidden by clouds. Every now and then the clouds will clear and you can catch a glimpse of the entire volcano. Arenal has been Costa Rica's most active volcano for the past 43 years. This started in 1968 when Arenal had its largest eruption in its history after almost 400 years of inactivity. ... read more
Clear View of Arenal
Clouds Moving In
Landscape with Volcano


LA FORTUNA: The bus ride from Monteverde to La Fortuna was unpaved and therefore unpleasant. Sleep during the windy, bumpy ride was unsuccessful and the minute we stepped off the bus in town we were "greeted" with annoying tour salesmen. They were polite and friendly but we really weren't in the market for a tour having been in town for less than a minute and wanted to find our place and drop our bags. The "hostel" we booked was less than sufficient, but the bed was comfortable so I didn't mind. Apparently hotels have caught on to the hostel trend and started mislabeling themselves as hostels when they don't provide wifi, a communal area or a kitchen, amenities typical of hostels. Luckily we only booked one night there and found a far better place the next ... read more


I arrive in La Fortuna for Costa Rica´s Independence Day, September 18th. I went out in the morning to take a look at what festivities were taking place. The town was having a reverse sort of parade. Instead of groups parading around the town in a line, a bunch of groups were lined up along the road and slowly moving to the ´starting´point where they did a dance or performance for what looked like a group of judges. Most of these groups were children who did traditional dances, but there were groups who marched, played instruments and one who paraded around promoting greener living. It was an interesting even to watch but it started to rain so I headed back to the hostel. That afternoon I scheduled a visit to the Arenal Volcano which included a ... read more




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