Costa Rica: Volcano and Waterfall
Our first day in the Arenal area began with breakfast at Altimira restaurant on the resort. Breakfast was amazing and they had just about anything you could have asked for. I had huevos rancheros and some of the other Costa Rican options.
I think we were supposed to have a view of the volcano but the rain from the green/rainy season made it foggy so that we couldn’t get a very good view of it. We knew that would probably be the case so we couldn’t be too upset about it.
It was kind of an expensive day because of all the taxis we had to take. Taxis in the area were super expensive but we figured we would have to pay it if we wanted to do anything so we just sucked it up. I think we actually spent more on transportation than we spent on food and sightseeing that day!
After breakfast, we had the taxi driver drop us off at Arenal 1968, which is near the Arenal Volcano National Park but has different trails. They actually follow the lava flow from the 1968 eruption of the volcano. The girl at the desk pointed out an eyelash palm pit viper on the tree right by where you have to pay to get in and said it was common to see them on the trail in the trees. It was small but still venomous – not something I was hoping to see on the trail! We later met a couple who had hiked at another location nearby and there was also the same kind of snake there right outside the trail, so we kind of wondered if it was a “plant” to discourage people from going off the trails.
There were two trails to choose from, or you could do a combination of both that was longer; that is what we chose to do. Part of the trail was in the forest and part of it was out in the open because the lava had killed everything. It rained a LOT while we were hiking and was really grateful that we had good hiking pants that were water-repellent and good rain coats. My husband has a tendency to want to buy stuff for vacations just to be buying them, but he was totally right on this one! Even though it rained, we were able to get a few really good photos.
Luckily, we got through the trail without seeing any snakes but we did see several birds. Afterwards, we walked up to a lookout point to see if we could get a shot of the volcano. This was probably the best view of it that we got but it still wasn’t that great.
There were flowers planted around the lookout area and Eric happened upon this guy.
At first, I was a little freaked out because I had been reading about the Brazilian wandering spider that is supposed to be one of the most deadly spiders in the world. Of course, they are found in certain locations in Costa Rica. I was worried that’s what this one was, but I asked every guide I came across starting that day until one of them told me it was just a common fishing spider. I was glad that’s all it was!
We had snacks for lunch, including some really good granola bars we had gotten from breakfast, and then headed for the La Fortuna waterfall. It is a long walk down and an even longer walk back up, but it is definitely a sight to see.
We had debated on whether or not to bring our swimming suits but we finally decided to. We changed into our swimming suits before hiking down so we could swim, but if I were to do it over again, I probably wouldn’t mess with it. The water was cold and it was really rocky so neither of us really wanted to get in. We took some pictures and headed back up to call a taxi.
We had the taxi driver drop us off in town so we could explore. I wish we would have had more time to look around but taxis in the area were really pricey so we really only spent a couple of hours in town. We ended up eating at a restaurant called Soda Viquez. It was recommended to us by some people we met in Monteverde but we were a little disappointed. The food wasn’t what we thought it would be when we ordered and it wasn’t all that great. I ordered some kind of Mexican nachos and they came with cheese sauce, which I really don’t like. I totally prefer melted cheese so I was super disappointed about the nachos having the cheese sauce instead. Eric had tacos and they were just ok. That being said, we had mango and pineapple coconut smoothies that were pretty amazing, so it wasn’t a total loss.
We were able to catch the free shuttle back to the resort (the resort offered this at a certain time each day) so we didn’t have to pay for a taxi that time. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying the hot tubs.
The resort was super nice but it was so dark. I think it was meant to be intimate but it was kind of freaky walking around at night, just because of all the animals around. I almost put my hand on a rail once but thankfully, I looked first and happened to see a frog sitting there. When we looked closer, we also saw one of those small walking sticks just a foot away from the frog. I didn’t put my hand down anywhere without looking for the rest of the trip!
To read more about our trip, check out these posts: