Sloths, Butterflies, and Volcanoes

Published: October 22nd 2017
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Geo: 10.4459, -84.6895

By way of introduction to the natural environment of Costa Rica, we began the day today at a nature preserve called INBioparque. Our guide, Alejandra, led us along a network of trails throughout the park which weaved through dense rainforest. Within the first twenty minutes, she pointed out a sloth in the canopy, lazily breakfasting on deciduous leaves. We also delighted in the Jardin de Mariposas (Garden of Butterflies) where the vibrant mariposas touched down upon our skin in the lightest of butterfly kisses.

Later in the afternoon, we hiked to the overlook at the Poas Volcano. We were lucky enough to see inside the crater, for oftentimes the view becomes obscured by too much steam pouring forth from the volcano´s mouth. A surreal landscape stretched before us of volcanic rock in gray and black and ocher. Then Edgar led us to the highest crater of the Poas—now extinct—topping out at 9,000 feet. This dormant crater is now filled benignly with rainwater, and although heavy mists enshrouded the lake when we first arrived at the viewpoint, within minutes, the clouds lifted and suddenly the lake appeared. It was a breathtaking world of greens and blues… But then, as quickly as the clouds had lifted, they descended again, rendering the whole crater invisible once more.

We lunched at a family-owned restaurant with typical Costa Rican fare: rice, beans, salad hash-potatoes (creamy diced potatoes), and a sweet strawberry shake. Dessert was a tapioca jello to cleanse the palate.

En route to our hotel this afternoon, we made a brief stop along the road at the La Paz ("peaceful"😉 Waterfall, and then continued on through dense vegetation. We shared an unforgettable moment on the drive when Edgar announced we were approaching the “Oh my God Corner”: a 180-degree switchback turn going downhill. The bus driver had to stop midway through the turn, put the bus in reverse, inch backward, crawl forward again, reverse a second time, and then slowly creep around the turn successfully. Even though it gave us a thrill, it was clear our driver had completed this maneuver several times.

We arrived at the Lago Arenal (Lake Arenal) Hotel in the dark amid a chorus of frogs and the elusive blinking lightning bugs. All of these were oblivious to the storm mounting on the horizon. During dinner, we reveled in the sheet lightning over the lake and wondered what kind of weather tomorrow would bring…

Additional photos below
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24th June 2013

great summary! and sounds like a great day, including a lucky view of the crater. good karma for sure. i especially liked the pic of the volcano.
24th June 2013

Seriously, Erin, you could be a travel writer! Awesome descriptions! Wish I were there. Sounds lush and exciting. Glad everyone's having fun!
25th June 2013

I agree with Mrs. Forester, Erin! Also, the picture of the students by the volcano is great. So much steam! That sloth must've been an awesome sight!
25th June 2013

Love the descriptions! Thanks for giving us such a vivid mental picture!

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