This is one of a series of posts on our 2012 trip to Costa Rica. If you like, you can start with the first post.
Now we’re staying at the base of the Arenal volcano, Costa Rica’s biggest and most famous. We’re just up the road from La Fortuna, so named, I think, because it was spared during a previous eruption. The volcano is completely socked in by clouds and fog today, as it usually is; if it clears up, they tell us we can see the red glow at the summit from our hotel room.
CVH went off on another wildlife tour today, up towards, the Nicaraguan border. She and her friends got to see a lot of animals.
Perhaps you can get a sense of how excited these amateur naturalists are from this video of them watching a small lizard:
Or check out this shot of them watching another animal; you can hear the guide pointing out there are three animals to see:
Did you see all three? No? Did you see one? Me neither. Now you know how I felt on these outings.
Here she is waving from the Nicaraguan frontier sans visa.
While she was watching for animals and making illegal border crossings, I walked into the town of La Fortuna. It’s about two blocks wide and five blocks long, mostly souvenir shops and tour offices, but had a wonderful bakery. The souvenir shops did have a variety and quantity of goods that was much greater than what we had seen in the other towns, and the prices here were about double what we had seen elsewhere. in general, any time you see a price in dollars, you can expect that you’re paying the “gringo premium”.
I got off the main drag and wandered down to the local bus depot. It started to rain (we’re still on the wet side of the mountains), so I ducked into a small soda, or lunch spot. In the U.S., the diner next to the bus station is usually a pretty nasty place; but this soda, like pretty much every place else in Costa Rica, was meticulously mopped and clean. Ticos seem almost obsessed with mopping and cleaning. I did get a wonderful lunch – huge pork chop, rice and beans (of course), plantains, fried yucca, salad. The portion was “American sized” – i.e., I couldn’t complete it – although this place was clearly not oriented toward the tourist crowd. I guessed the locals ate their big meal of the day at lunch.
After I ate, and the rain stopped, I walked around town some more. I saw a lady sweeping the parking pad between the pumps at the gas station, right after it rained, no less; these people really like to sweep and mop. Then I passed a bakery. The bakers had some sort of setup where they blew the aromas out onto the street; they knew what they were doing.In the afternoon, we all went to a hot springs resort. The waters are fed hot from the volcano. The resort was on the touristy side, but boy the hot water felt good!