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Published: October 22nd 2017
Geo: 10.4459, -84.6895
What a busy day! We awoke to heavy thunderheads in the sky, but headed out on our kayak tour of Lake Arenal in spite of the weather. After a brief safety demonstration, each of us was issued a paddle and a life vest, then assigned to a tandem sea kayak (you sit on top, not inside). Hannah Abbott and Danielle paired up, followed by Hannah and her sister Abbi, Van and his sister Savannah, and Sean and I shared a kayak as well. Our kayak guide, Raul, called out: "You see that big pillar on the other side of the lake? OK, let´s race!" Suddenly, our serene group became a flurry of paddles and splashing water as we all tried to synchronize our strokes with our partner to move our crafts efficiently through the water. What fun! Midway through the kayak tour, the rainclouds really opened up and rain began to pummel us—but the group went swimming in the swimming hole anyway. After all, you can only get so wet! We enjoyed the warm, tropical downpour in stark contrast to the frigid rain in Idaho.
Later that morning, we hiked to La Fortuna Waterfall, clearly a popular tourist destination in
Costa Rica. And the sunshine emerged! Though the hiking rail was short, it was incredibly steep—comprised of manmade concrete steps descending perhaps a mile to the waterfall. But what a view… The waterfall itself careens down a verdant, 150 foot cliff, only to hammer the aquamarine pool below in a roaring alluvium of whitewater.
Lunch was a tasty dish of rice and chicken (seeing a pattern with the meals here?) with a side salad, followed by an hour shopping in the town of Fortuna. Edgar explained that many of the townspeople had been compensated with housing there for relocating after the eruption of the Arenal Volcano in 1968. Now it is a trendy tourist town, which we were all too happy to capitalize upon. We enjoyed the Chocolataria, the supermercado, and the artisans selling their handmade wares, from hammocks to jewelry. We even got to pet a friendly hombre´s chocolate lab puppy in the park, each of us trying to fill the void left from missing our own canine kisses back home.
This afternoon was such a luxury… We spent three languid hours at the Baldi Hot Springs, which is an extravagant hot springs water park. In total, there are 16
different soaking pools varying from the very hilly to the very hot—some small, some large, all a bit over the top. Marble pillars were encircled with rain forest vegetation; S-curved tiled seats allowed you to recline in the hot water; 30-foot caves hid secret sauna rooms; and waterfalls cascaded from cliffs and pillars galore!
The students capped off the day with a “wifi party,” enjoying the opportunity to e-mail home or check Facebook from the hotel lobby in the company of other student travelers in our group. They seem to have hit it off with the Texans especially, making fast new friends. I keep hearing what a sweet bunch of students I get to travel with and teach! This may just be the best job in the world!
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