Wednesday, March 21, 2012

costa rica: part 1

after a lovely week of adventure and peace, we are back from costa rica. since we rented a car during our vacation and were able to see a few different regions/ areas of the lovely country, i've decided to break up the posts in parts. i hope you enjoy!

part 1 of our trip includes our first drive from san jose/ airport to la fortuna. la fortuna is the town that is home to the arenal volcano. right before our trip, i started to get a bit weary about driving in costa rica and thought that maybe we had over-committed to driving all over. if you read online, there are very many negative reviews about driving in costa rica and even the locals warn you not to drive past 5 PM (at dark). so when we got the rental car company and saw how local time works (as in everything in costa rica happens at a much slower pace than the us) i started to worry that we'd be arriving at our first destination in the dark.

we got on the road around 1:45 pm and headed for la fortuna. we got a gps from the rental car company, but to our dismay, it didn't work properly. on our way, we only got lost once in the town of san ramon and we learned quickly that getting directions from locals without being able to speak spanish wasn't going to get us anywhere.

thankfully we found some signs and made it to our hotel, arenal observatory lodge, right at nightfall. the road to our hotel was 9 km past the national park entrance and it was all desolate and unpaved roads. we learned quickly that this is normal in costa rica!

the arenal observatory lodge was incredible and our room had a great view of the volcano. the arenal volcano has been active since 1968 and it is beautiful. on our first night, we just ate dinner at the lodge and relaxed (since we'd been traveling non-stop for over 12 hours).
the next morning, we had scheduled a canyoning excursion. i misunderstood the confirmation and we missed our pick up. thankfully we had a rental car and were able to catch the group before they left! we were told to "drive with energy" and we definitely did! it was worth it and we had so much fun! pure trek did a great job and we loved all of the guides.
afterwards, we came back to the lodge and hiked around the property. we hiked down to the most beautiful (and powerful) waterfall! the wind and mist coming off of the waterfall were so intense, but that didn't keep j from getting in!
then based on a recommendation from estaban at the lodge, we headed into la fortuna to eat at garra pata. it was apparently the best place to go for authentic costa rican fare. it's basically inside a garage in a neighborhood outside of the downtown area and the owner was wonderful. we had cas (sour guava) juice and the best meal by far that we had during our whole stay. the mashed yukka and plantains were to die for!
we ended the night at the tabacon thermal springs. the place was huge, but it was awesome! at night it felt like a maze but the water was incredible. such a fun experience.
we were asleep by 10 pm this night due to all of the fun!

the next morning, we ate breakfast and saw some white-nose coati's on the property. so cute! we then headed for santa elena and the monteverde cloud rain forest. stay tuned for more of our trip!


1 comment:

  1. Awesome clicks dude!!! After saw your photos I also plan to go Costa Rica. Please suggest me some best places to go in Costa Rica. Thanks


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