“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

TravelHaven Journal – Costa Rica Adventure 6

Tortuguero to Arenal

Before we leave the paradise of Tortuguero we have breakfast around 8:30 and get our luggage to the boat by 9:15 for a 10:00 departure. After another lovely ninety-minute boat ride back to Caña Blanca, we board the van around 11:30 a.m. and start on our way to Arenal, starting with that ridiculously bumpy road.

As we set off for Arenal, Eddie asks if we’d like to take a slight detour. We said sure and had no idea where we were going. It turned out to be the Iguana Restaurant and as soon as we arrived, there were two or three iguanas right next to the parking lot, eating fruit. And there was a howler monkey (the first one we had seen up close), also eating.

After lunch, while I was browsing in the gift shop, I stopped to look at the trees (it was an open-air shop) and was amazed to see dozens of iguanas in the trees right next to the building! They were all sizes and everywhere you looked in the trees! None of the animals are tame, but they tend to hang around for the food. We were so glad Eddie had made the detour so we could see this incredible sight!

When we get to our hotel, Arenal Paraiso, around 4:00, the Arenal volcano is visible—a very rare thing, since it’s usually covered by clouds. So, we drop our luggage off and get right back in the van and drive to a vantage point to see the lava flow. Although the volcano itself was visible from our rooms, the lava flow area is on the other side of the mountain. By the time we get to the viewing area, clouds are obscuring the top of the volcano at times, but once it gets dark we can see the occasional lava flows glowing red-orange in the darkness. On Tuesday, the day before we arrived in Costa Rica, the volcano had had a fairly major eruption and the Park Service had evacuated the National Park. The eruptions we saw were very small, but certainly recognizable as lava.

When we left the volcano viewing, we ate dinner at a local place Eddie knew and the food was great, as usual!

Back at the hotel, we head for the thermal springs. Ahhhhh! How relaxing! The springs start at the top of a large hill and there are 8 or 10 pools at intervals from the top down to the pool area of the hotel. At the very top, the pools are like a hot tub on high (probably about 100 degrees F), but as the waters trickle down, they get cooler, until the pool closest to the pool is lukewarm (probably about 75 or 80 degrees F). Each pool, about the size of a small swimming pool, has rocks positioned for sitting, as well as steps for climbing in and out. The thermal pools are very relaxing—makes you just melt!