I'm on a volcano!

Trip Start Apr 29, 2010
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Trip End May 08, 2010


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Where I stayed
Arenal Observatory Hotel

Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Sunday, May 2, 2010

So, we get up and hit some breakfast in town.  Our entertainment was watching about 15 people get out of a minivan.  Not small Costa Rican people...big people.  It was hard not to laugh.  It looked like the van ride from hell.

Oh, and the day before, a guy who was pitching us guide services said he'd charge is some amount for adults and kids under 10 were free...he says nodding at 19 year old Rachel.  Uhm.well, he recovered by saying it wasn't polite to ask women's age.  Yeah...nice.  Hilarious.

Anyhoo..we make the short 20 min drive down a rutted, dusty road...that in rain would make a lovely river.  We cross a coulpe of streams..we can't decide whether it's the stream or the bridge that's called the 'PELIGROSA' ..(which means 'danger' in spanish, btw).

We get to a guardshack and enter on verification of our reservation...otherwise we'd have to pay to get in since they have a bunch of private trails.  Actually all  the trails seem to have toll booths at the trail heads.  We head up a very steep road past beautiful plantings into a piney forest.  Around a corner a lodge frames the view of the Arenal volcano.

This side of the volcano is the one that is active.  From the deck of the lodge, even when the top is obscured you can see an intermittent avalanche of rock spewed from the cone.  It's mesmerizing.  The summit has been mostly out of view but the clouds blow & part all afternoon.  

Our room isn't ready so they suggest a 1 hr hike to a waterfall.  We walk across a suspension bridge, past the 'smithsonian rooms' every one with a view of the volcano.  The pool is beautiful.  The grounds are colorful with lots of birds. 

Unfortunately, the trail is too steep for my foot (achilles tendon problem) and I let d&r go on without me.  I go back and watch some amazing avalanches from a deck near the pool.

On their return we get our room in a casona (shared bath but private room with 3 bunk beds.  The casona has a porch with an amazing view of the volcano and of enormous Lake Arenal.

 The whole reason to stay here is to watch the lava and sparks fall at night.  D & I decide to head to the pool in late afternoon as it is pretty humid..so of course it starts raining.  We hang on the porch then head off when it stops a short time later.  The colorful birds have kept us entertained.  The rain starts again as we get to the pool but the hot tub is covered so no probem.  We chat with a coule from Chicago and I get some great tips on Belize.

We do dinner at the lodge (pleasant but unremarkable food) and talk the waiter into turning on some musica...it livens the place up from near silence.  It's dark after dinner but the volcano is clouded over so we head to the casona and drink beer & chat with couples from Toronto and Albany.  D goes in because the bugs creep her out and a few minutes later along with a lightening storm over the lake (90 degrees off from the volcano) the sparks become visible rolling down the volcano slope.

D just can't get past the giant cockroach in the doorway and flying bugs on the porch and misses the show.  It's like giant embers being dumped down the mountain.  Spectacular!  And during pauses you can shift your gaze to the amazing lightening show. 

We try to get D out but she's paralyzed  by fear of the bugs.  Her reommendation is to pay the big bucks and get a volcano view room. 

The boom of volcanic eruption slows and soon the clouds return so we join D in the room and call it a night...right after we reblock the bottoms of the doors with extra towels so cockroaches can't creep in.
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