March 26, 2008

Costa Rican Vacation

We arrived in Costa Rica on Sunday the 23rd and stayed one night at Grano de Oro in San Jose. I couldn´t tell you what San Jose looks like because I stayed in the hotel the whole night. I was tired from traveling. And we had an early pickup for our next hotel the following morning.

On Monday, our bus picked us up for our journey to Volcano Lodge where we are now staying. Every room in the hotel has a view of the Arenal Volcano. Before 1968 it was known as Arenal Peak. Guess what happened that year. That´s right. It erupted. Costa Ricans living in the area believed it to be just another mountain. 87 people in the two nearest villages died.

Anyways, yesterday afternoon we went on a nature hike in a secondary forest near Arenal volcano in a private park called El Silencio. Some of the trees are so tall already you´d think they´d been growing for 200 years, but no. The forest is only 40 years old. The hike was slightly challenging but wow. Pretty amazing. We heard howler monkeys in the distance and saw all types of beautiful birds, most notably a chestnut mandibled toucan and a montezuma oropendola. The second part of our hike involved lava spotting. We travelled by bus to a vantage point where many had gathered to watch the active side of Arenal erupt gently. And sure enough we saw beautiful lava flows from a safe distance. Yesterday's excursion ended with a visit to Tabacon Hot Springs where we also had dinner.

Today we´re scheduled for canopy tours. Jon is going to use the zip lines to make his way out of the canopy. I have a reservation for the funicular in both directions. From the safety of the tram, I´ll be able to see Lake Arenal on one side and the volcano on the other.

Tomorrow, we´re going to the north Pacific coast. Wahoo!!

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