I had a day off today from the dentist. For the first time we had an adventure. We were on a shuttle at 7:45 this morning to go to the Arenal Volcano and the Tabacon Hot Springs. There were six other people traveling with us along with the driver and the guide. It was a long, sometimes scary three-hour trip up and down and round and round but WOW!
We were riding with Maggie and Joyce from Ottowa, Canada, Lucy and her mom from Mexico, Greg from Atlanta and nameless man (who was very interesting but we waited too long to ask his name) from Oregon. We all had a great time together. We hit a tourist stop for souvenirs and to stretch our legs. Apparently oxcarts are a big thing in Costa Rica. We kept driving. Driving here is something to behold. There are entire families walking along the highway, crazy people on scooters, the big turisma vans, buses and then, just for fun, lumber trucks flying up and down these windy roads and I have yet to figure out the rules for passing on the right or left.
But, we made it! We stopped for an amazing lunch just below the volcano. (Keep my food reviews in check – I have not had a decent meal since early December!) But, truly, it was simple and delicious – chicken, black beans and rice, plantains and fruit smoothies. Others in the group had margarita pizzas (one of the Canadian women is part of a Canadian pizza family and she tests pizza while she travels – rough job, huh?).
After lunch, we went to a launch point for people hiking trails around the volcano – an active volcano that only recently stopped spewing lava – we took the shortest hike (pretty much a climb of 5 flights of stairs) to get a spectacular view. I knew from my pre-trip reading that we should expect the volcano to be covered in a cloud. In fact, I expected that we would be in the bottom of a cloud and chilly. We got lucky – it was a clear warm – high 80’s – day. Our group, having spent a majority of the morning talking about spotting monkeys and birds (no, I was not talking about birds – I was all for monkeys, though) we were scouting trees and looking in every crevice. No luck. We stumbled – literally – back down the hill. Thank you Greg-from-Atlanta for catching me before I undid all my dental work by landing on my face!
So, how do you top an impressive volcano sitting in the middle of a pristine forest? Why you head to the Hot Springs (but springs isn’t really right) spa down the hill to soak in the amazing water, sit behind waterfalls, find iguanas and wander around beautiful trails. So we did that. And it was all that.
The dinner we had after this glorious day was even better than lunch. Most of us dozed for the three hour drive back to our hotels. I already want to go back, though.
Tomorrow is Day 5. Back to the dentist but not until 2:30 pm. Bing and I both have Do Not Disturb signs on our door and our blinds darkened. We’re sleeping in! We’re figuring out a plan for something fun when I’m done tomorrow. I’m pretty sure it will involve more food. Stay tuned.