Costa Rica

Volcán Arenal (La Fortuna)

After our awesome rafting trip, our tour bus dropped us off at the hostel we thought we were going to stay at, the Arenal Backpackers Resort. It turns out that this place is pretty popular as it was the only 5-star hostel in Costa Rica. The place was really nice and even had a pool, which is definitely a first for me in a hostel.

Since this hostel was full, the guy working there told us we could get a room at the hotel directly across the street for the same per person rate. The only problem with this is that the room had a 4 beds and we had 5 people. 2 guys ended up sharing one of the beds for one night, and luckily it wasn’t me!

The town of La Fortuna is best known for having one of the largest volcanoes in Costa Rica (there are several). It’s called Volcán Arenal (or Arenal Volcano) and is typically one of the most active volcanoes and the best to see. At night, you’re supposed to be able to see small bits of lava shooting out the top. Unfortunately, when we were there, the volcano had been inactive for the past 7 months. Oh well, I still got to see a volcano! This was the view from the balcony of our hotel room.

Even though we weren’t staying at the hostel, they told us we could still hang out at the bar that evening. Apparently between us we spent enough money at the bar that they told us the next morning that we could come back and use the pool as long as we were in La Fortuna! We ended up using the pool the night before anyway, though. They even had a poolside bar! After the bar at the hostel closed fairly early that evening (I think 11pm), we headed out to find a club that we were told was right down the street. This was a “2-blocks” type of situation as it was not right down the street. After wandering down the street through a dark neighborhood and with the direction of a couple police officers, we eventually found the place we were looking for. Since it was so far off the tourist strip it was all locals who went there…and us. That made for a fun night! And of course, there was a sign outside the place with the motto of Costa Rica.

The next day we decided to go to La Catarata, a national park in La Fortuna. It was a crazy downhill hike, but even worse coming back up afterwards. Once we got to the bottom, it was worth it, though. The is a giant waterfall you can swim in and around. It was a little dangerous, though, because there are large rocks on the bottom that are difficult to stand on and also a very strong undercurrent pulling you towards the waterfall. It was very refreshing once we were in the water because it was so hot and muggy out. This was the view from up top before we made the hike down.

Then once we got down closer by the actual water…

After playing in the water for a while, we found another little cove a little ways from here, where the water a was really pretty shade of turquoise.

Since the nice hostel was booked again for that night and I really couldn’t find anything else I wanted to do in La Fortuna, I decided to take a Jeep-Boat-Jeep tour to Monteverde with my 2 friends from Quebec. When you think of a Jeep-Boat-Jeep tour, it sounds like kind of a cool thing to do, but it turns out that Jeep, they meant big white van. Well, the boat was still pretty cool and gave us some awesome scenery.

Next: On to Monteverde!!

Nick Huggins
written by: Nick Huggins
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