Travel back in time (a few months, eek!) to when my parents were here. Our first stop (after base/SJ/Cartago) was Volcan Arenal.
We spent most of our 3 days at Arenal lounging by the pool getting a tan. We were very successful and did not turn into the bright red tourists most commonly found throughout the country. The views from anywhere on the property were incredible. For the first day the weather was a little cloudy and we were concerned we wouldn’t get a full view of the volcano. It is known to be a “shy volcano” and hide behind the clouds. The weather ended up being beautiful as our trip went on!
We took a flat water rafting trip on the Penas Blancas river. Our guide was great and very funny! He gave me a hard time for my lack of Spanish skills, but I’ll forgive him for that. (Surprisingly, my dad is actually quite the Spanish-speaker. Go figure!) As we were driving through the towns to reach the river, I mentioned “there’s a sloth on that fence.” They didn’t believe me (said it’s probably a chicken) but turned around the van and headed back. Sure enough… there was a sloth climbing along the fence of a house. We got within just a foot or two of it! From then on we had a contest about who could spot the most sloths. I think we tied in the end.
We saw 4 (at least) sloths, a red-eared slider that was very brave, many monkeys, and tons of tropical birds. We then ended at a local farm for some tico cheese and plantains. It was a really nice and peaceful way to see a ton of wildlife.
One night we headed down to local hot springs. There are several big and famous ones (all fed by underground streams heated by the volcano), but we chose a less known one. It was perfect! There were maybe 20 other people there the whole time. We lounged in the different pools of various temperatures and got a massage from their waterfalls. It was very relaxing and is supposed to be very healing.
Finally we headed into La Fortuna (the local town) for a nice walk around. Then all that was left was to prepare for our transfer to Monteverde. That was an adventure in itself…