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La Fortuna and Arenal Costa Rica

COSTA RICA | Sunday, 20 July 2008 | Views [1115]

ArenalLa Fortuna was a sleepy farming town until it was “discovered” and now the grid of streets are lined with hotels, hostels, tour operators and souvenir shops. The main attraction of the area is its proximity to the Arenal Volcano and the relative affordability when compared with the surrounding resorts. The moment we stepped off the bus we knew we were where the tourists were, for the first time since the trip began every step we took someone was trying to sell us a tour or help us find a room. Once we got off the main street this stopped and we were able to find our hotel with no problem. After a brief rest Amy and Turgay decided to go out a splurge on dinner, at Don Rufino’s. They came back to the room with rave reviews but a lighter wallet. The next morning after a leisurely start to the day with breakfast at Vienna Caféart in the rain and a wander around the town we decided to take a walk, this walk got longer and longer after we decided to keep going to La Catarata de Fortuna (the waterfall of Fortune), a 7km uphill walk. As the walk progressed what had started as a gentle sprinkling of rain turned into a torrential downpour which lasted the entire rest of the walk. They took shelter at a roadside stand where a family had set up a cold water and cold coconut business, after having a coconut and feeling fortified against the rain they continued on (Amy really likes waterfalls). Along the way we saw a wood sculpting studio, had the artists been selling any of the pieces that were in the parking lot in front of the store I’m sure Amy would have convinced Turgay that they couldn’t live without one of them, lucky for them only the pieces in the store were for sale,now we are wet and while very beautiful they were not as moving as the others. Finally they arrived at the waterfall, paid their entrance fees and walked down to the falls. There are two separate waterfalls, the main one falls 70m into a sheer canyon set in the jungle and covered in bromeliads. The setting was beautiful and despite being soaking wet the whole walk was well worth it. Amy tried to go swimming but was quickly deterred by the temperature of the water (it was freezing). After returning to the welcome center Amy and Turgay hooked up with another couple and shared a taxi back to La Fortuna. After a very hot shower and some dry clothes they headed out for our guidesome dinner where the discovered the delicious and very affordable Soda El Rio, this restaurant specializes in basic fare of rice, beans, vegetable, meats, fried plantains and shredded cabbage. They served no alcohol but did have delicious fruit shakes with either ice and water or ice and milk. Turgay and Amy decided that they wouldn’t take the traditional tour out to the volcano to view the lava flow from a distance of 5 km or so, which after their experience at Pacaya in Guatemala, lava from that far away just didn’t excite. Instead they decided to go canoeing on the San Carlos River. iguanas galoreTheir guide Carlos (just a coincidence) and driver were excellent making for a wonderful experience. They pointed out two toed sloths, monkeys, caymans (alligators), the blue-jeans frog, iguanas and a multitude of birds. It was an easy paddle down the river to where it joined with the Rio San Carlos and to our exit point where we were served fresh fruit and water. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at a bridge near a restaurant where people feed the iguanas the trees and the underside of the bridge where covered in large somewhat hefty iguanas. Friends of Amy’s from New Orleans were also in thearenal volcano area at this time, Michelle, Maggie and Corey were staying at a resort near La Fortuna but since they were all heading to the Santa Elena/Mounteverde area the next day everyone decided it would be easier to find each other there. Amy and Turgay signed up for a Jeep-Boat-Jeep trip from La Fortuna across Lake Arenal and on to Santa Elena. This “Jeep-Boat-Jeep” trip proved to be a minivan-boat-minivan trip; it was however through picturesque countryside, the boat trip across the lake afforded wonderful views the Arenal Volcano and the surrounding pastureland. We were lucky enough to get Speed Racer as our second minibus driver making the trip that much more exciting.

-La Fortuna Arenal-

{La Fortuna Arenal}

Tags: arenal, costa rica, la fortuna

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