What can I say about Arenal and La Fortuna. The most obvious two words is MEGA TOURISTY! But you have to experience that level of pampering at least once in your lifetime.
After our rainforest hike and soak we stopped at what was supposed to be a wood oven restaurant. Unfortunately, we were steered wrong by the fruit stand man. Apparently wood oven venues are rare. But the restaurant did not disappoint. When we pulled up there was a tourist group and guide just finishing up. We sat down with our menus and watched the overconfident guide showing off. Someone has spotted a tiny red frog in the parking lot and the entire group rushed to take a picture. Poor frog must have been freeking out. Then the guide did something unexpected and dangerous ( again, showing off). He scooped up the frog in his hand and brought it to safety from the road. Not only is it dumb to pick up any coloured in Costa Rica because they are poisonous, but I later learned that it is a death sentence to the frog. Their skin is so thin that they will absorb any bacteria from your skin and die. El guía era un idiota!
We continued to enjoy our casados while marvelling at the hill across the road covered in a very pretty plant. We asked our server what it was and she was pleased to tell us all about the cardommom plantation. She brought us a flower and seed pods to look at and taste. It was an educational and delicious moment. I recommend having fresh cardammom as a breathe mint after meals.
We then drove at least another hour to La Fortuna where Mickey ordered flowers to place on his Uncle’s grave. He recently passed and he was one of his favourite uncles. Then we checked in to our resort, Los Lagos, at the foot of the most popular and youngest volcano, Arenal. I was amazed at the size and slope although it wouldn’t be until the next day that we would see the peak as it was shrouded in mist and clouds.
We settled in to our room and headed straight for the thermal pools heated by Arenal of course. The higher up the mountain you went, the hotter the spring was. The first was also where the wet bar was. We had a drink there and then continued onward and upward. The final pool was super hot and thankfully, was adjacent to a pool of cold water. It was pretty fucking awesome, I must admit. I felt like a pampered princess in a size XXL tropical print bathing suit and pedicured toes. Completely out of my element and loving it.
The sun stays in the sky from 5:00am to 6:00pm. By the time we left the hot springs it was dark. We headed down into Fortuna for some chícharon, aka flame bbq’d pork. What a great dish and Mickey’s favourite. Complete with patacone ( fried plantain), mole (chocolate bean sauce), and my new favourite ceviche, green plantain. They didn’t have the traditional chicharone, but the ribs were still pdg ( pretty damn good). We vowed that we would have true chicaron before we left this area.
After a great night sleep, Mickey left to visit his uncle’s grave and after another cousin while I hit the trails the resort boasted of. I was a bit disappointed because in my mind, trails meant what we had just hiked for the past two days. They were more like tropical gardens to walk through which is nice but I wanted away from people for a while so I struck out climbing the mountain on my own. I stayed on the road but did my bird and flower watching. I will be posting all of the birds I identified in a later post and will be researching more about the flowers when I get time.
It was scorching hot by 10am so I headed back to get poolside at the regular pool. I dipped in and out for a couple of hours. Really relaxed. When Mickey returned we headed to the wet bar and had two cocktails that really buzzed me lol. So what does one do when buzzed? Head to the water slides!! We had so much fun. Giggled like school kids and did a few slides. Then back to try all the hot springs again. We found one we missed. It has like individual grottos and in each, two reclining loungers with water jets. Hot tub heaven! I couldn’t stay in too long cuz I was still buzzing lol. So I left Mickey there and headed to the next, then the next, and kept climbing till I reached the hottest one. I think that one is my favourite because you can go from one extreme to another. Reminded me of steam baths in northern Ontario in the winter. It was super relaxing and invigorating at once.
Both feeling like overheated bags of mushed bananas, we headed back to our room for a long rest. We were pooped. Especially Mickey because the poor guy got sick from the rain in the rainforest. Wait, what? Isn’t the tourist, the gringo, supposed to get sick?
Buenas noches! Pura Vida