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I Lift My Eyes Up, Up To The Mountains I pursue Him who first pursued me: the One who spread out the clouds as a curtain, who fashioned the earth by hand, the One who makes the clouds a chariot and walks on the wings of the wind. -Psalm 104

Dia quatro: Arenal to Playa de Esterillos, Costa Rica

COSTA RICA | Wednesday, 11 March 2009 | Views [2129]

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Up at 7:30 a.m.  Packed gear.  While others packed, wondered down to hostel café for an early caffeine kick.  Left gear at hostel.  Headed out for breakfast and morning trip to  Arenal Volcano Observatory.  Took a good 30 minute cab ride.  Stopped to play with some crazy little critters that looked like skunks.  Fed them.  Turned to leave.  Read a sign that translated:  Do Not Feed the Animals.  But can't really translate, so not really responsible for that mess. 

Arenal.  Planned on hiking to old or new lava flow.  Turns out neither option was available.  The short trail to the lava flow was closed off.  Took it anyway.  Worked way down steep, muddy rain forest path.  Eventually ran into a creek.  Played around a bit.  Built a dam.  Refreshed in the water.  Headed back up the trail.  Rain.  Made it back to the Observatory.  Watched clouds enshrouding volcano, attentively at first, then less so as nothing materialized.  Could occasionally see some steam billowing up off the harsh rock face.

Interbus van, driven by Ramone, picked us up from the hostel.  Headed out of La Fortuna:  destination, Jaco, then Esterrilos, the Xandari resort locale.  Left at 2 p.m.  Stopped twice.  After seeing 10 signs within a 10 km stretch, each advertising queso palmito, convinced our driver to pull over.  Bought queso palmito.  Queso palmito:  a large ball of cheese, a lot like mozzarella.  Smelled terrible; tasted not terrible.  Wound our way into Jaco at about 6 p.m.  Dropped off two of our party who stayed in Jaco.  Continued on to Esterrilos.  Arrived at 6:30 p.m.  Turned down an unpaved path, lined with trees, and separating two paddocks of gaunt, grazing bovines.  Main street.  A dusty, pot-holed strip of scorched earth.  Pulled up to an ornate metal gate, suspending a large curvaceous X in the center.  Gate rolled back.  And paradise appeared—Xandari Resort & Spa.  

Receptionist greeted us warmly.  Attendant carted luggage away.  Another smiling attendant offered drinks, drinks almost slushy-like in their consistency, packed with tropical fruitiness.  Led through an Edenic garden, down a dimly lit pathway, through rows of pastel villas, past a lap pool, a spa, a hot tub, and a lounge pool.   Numero Doce.  Arrival.  Entered into awesomeness.  Pics should suffice to describe Villa Numero Doce.

Checked out our new digs.  Expressed our joy with a celebratory  jump hug (thank you Scrubs).   Headed out for dinner.  Xandari restaurant.  Open-air seating under a thatched-roof, the sound of waves crashing nearby.  Hungry.  Ate:  calamari, catch of the day, tiramasu, and coffee.  Full.  Checked out the resort.  Nice.  Returned to the plunge pool, turned on the jets, and soaked up the good life.

Tags: arenal volcano, esterillos, interbus, jaco, playa, xandari resort


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