We arrived around 12:50 pm and very excited for our adventure. After about 30 minutes of going through customs, we went to pick up our rental car. Unfortunately, the car we had reserved was not available nor any automatic car for that matter. After giving the agent a piece of my mind in Spanish he was able to arrange for a sedan. We began our trip from San Jose to La Fortuna at approximately 3:15 pm.
Our GPS took us through some back roads towards a highway which we quickly learned was still unfinished. Fortunately we had a map, and were able to figure out the proper route. It got dark fairly early, and we unexpectedly hit a pothole which resulted in a flat tire. Ryan pulled over and switched it while I held the flashlight.
We finally arrived to our hotel at 7 pm, only to find out that the toilet in our room had exploded and they had arranged for us to stay at a different hotel about 10 minutes away. At first we were upset because the hotel was quite far from downtown. As you can see we had a rocky start.
We drove to Arenal Manoa hotel and after dropping off our bags went for a quick dinner, then to sleep.
At 7:10 am we were picked up by Desafio tours for our canyoneering experience. There we met Leticia and Julien from Switzerland, which made our adventure even more fun. Check out the pictures!
After our adventure we were treated to a typical Costa Rican lunch, then we headed back to our hotel. We took the car downtown for the tire to be repaired, and had lunch at Soda Vizquez. After we drove to Arenal national park to hike around the volcano, and later went to Eco termales to relax in the hot springs and and enjoy dinner.
Car tire being repaired at servicentro La Fortuna. View of Arenal on our drive to the national park. Pretty and friendly bird. Very hot springs, but also relaxing. We stayed at the cooler one a bit further down.
On Tuesday morning we went to check out the hanging bridges, we spotted a few animals along the way, but still no sloths!
A beautiful marmote.I was jumping on the bridges until we came across this sign ruining my fun.Lush rainforest.found this lizard on our way to a waterfall.Two peccaries crossed right in front of us! “Blue Jeans” poison dart frog, very tiny.Leaf cutter ants.We had a quick lunch then headed back to the hotel to be picked up for Don Olivo’s chocolate tour. We tried many fruits, sugar cane juice, learned about how coffee became such a popular beverage. Then we walked through the cacao plantation learning about it’s history and earlier preparation styles. We then got to harvest our own cacao and ate it, so yummy. After we met Yesenia, she taught us the process of cacao fermentation, drying, and grinding to make chocolate powder.
Then we sat down to drink some delicious and natural hot chocolate, and tried some natural brownies made with 90% cacao and 10% sugar cane juice. Yesenia and her daughter (Alicia?), both kept us great company. We ended our day by walking to the free natural hot springs which are very popular amongst the locals as well as tourists. This little guy came to say hello
Headed downtown to eat at Chifa, a Chinese/Peruvian restaurant. Ceviche.Causa.Chaufa.Martin the chef came by and personally took our orders, gave us recommendations, and came back to ensure that everything was to our liking. Absolutely lovely. We recommend making a reservation.
Our 3rd day we spent by going on a hike to Rio Celeste which was about 1.5-2 hours away.
We made it to the waterfall!A very muddy and slippery hike!monkey laddera blue lagoon, so beautiful!hanging bridge, max capacity: 1.The point where two fresh water sources meet creating a chemical reaction which gives the river its color. The river to left meets with a creek ( you can sort of see it behind this tree). When combined, the mixture of aluminum, silicon, and oxygen create larger particles which act as a prism, resulting in the beautiful turquoise color of the water. The whitish color in between is a result of sediment from the reaction. After our hike we had a typical Costa Rican lunch (casado), and a number of toucans joined us.During our ride back, our guide spotted this 3 toed sloth for us!After being dropped off we decided to go down to La Fortuna waterfall. Our day ended with a 2 hour couples’ massage and room service.
Our fourth day we spent by driving 5 hours to Manuel Antonio. We stopped for some fresh fruits and snacks, BUT first we made a quick stop to identify the culprit pothole that gave us a flat tire. We went on a night tour where we saw 2 scorpions, many species of frogs, monkeys, a kinkajou a and HUGE spider known as a horse-killing spider. It was a very fun tour beacuse our guide Brian is truly passionate about his career. On our way back we spotted a sloth crossing the street by using electricity wires, this caused many cars to stop to enjoy the view.
After we headed to Gaia for a delicious dinner.
Our last day we spent by relaxing at Manuel Antonio beachAnd then headed to El Lagarto for some fresh seafood and a killer view of the sunset. We then headed for our 2 hour drive to San Jose airport.