Just about a year ago, I set off to Costa Rica for a 9 day adventure. Ever since I was a little kid, I dreamed of zipping through the cloud forests and visiting the land that inspired Jurassic Park. While we were gone, NYC had 4 separate snow storms, so I can only believe that we traveled at the perfect time. Seriously, we were living the dream.
I am a total REI and gear junkie, so of course there was no packing light for this trip. Besides, we were going to be zip lining, kayaking, hiking up volcanoes, swimming in waterfalls, canyoning and going on nigh hikes through the jungle. One must be prepared for anything and everything.
After hours of travel, we arrived in San Juan which is not much to write home about. That is, except for the churros. For just a few bucks, you could buy a fresh hot churro filled with your choice of dulce de leche or chocolate sauce. It still is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.
From San Juan, we traveled three hours by van to La Fortuna, which is the principal gateway to the Arenal Volcano. Our hotel, the Vista Del Cerro was wonderful. The staff helped us so much with tips and discounts and the pool with a view of the volcano was all I needed at the end of every day. The cow neighbors weren’t bad either.
It is also home to several hot springs hotels and resorts where you can relax in the warm water or choose to be pummeled by a waterfall to work out the knots. Arriving around 6pm, we headed straight to the Baldi Hot springs to unwind after our travels.
Baldi offers 25 thermo-mineral hot water pools flowing naturally from the base of the volcano at temperatures ranging from 93, 100, 102, 104, 109, 110, 113, 116, 152. For the more adventurous, they also have a variety of slides and rides. My favorite part was to stand under the waterfalls and let the pressure of the water work out any kinks or knots in your muscles. It was a perfect start to the trip. https://www.baldihotsprings.cr/
On our second day in La Fortuna, we had the morning to kill and decided to take a taxi up a very bumpy road to experience the Fortuna Waterfall. Getting to the waterfall requires walking down a lot of very slippery wooden stairs, but it is certainly worth the trip. The waterfall is about 200 feet high and emerges from the jungle out of no where. The water is chilly and the current is strong enough that they have a lifeguard stationed there. It was so invigorating to swim in the waters with such a powerful force behind us.
After the waterfall, we went on a hike to the Arenal volcano and through the surrounding jungle. Though we couldn’t see the glow of the volcano because of the cloud cover, it was a wonderful hike with lots of monkeys, toucans and other flora and fauna.
On our last day in La Fortuna, there was a mix up with our transportation and we were graciously given a free canyoning and rappelling tour through the rain forest. Its certainly not for the faint hearted, but it was perfect for our itinerary. This essential meant a hike through a jungle river with rappelling down waterfalls, the longest of which was 200 feet tall. As they say, you will get wet.
From there, we had a quick opportunity to freshen up before heading off to our next location, the Monteverde Cloud Forrest which I’ll cover in my next post.