Volcano Town

Trip Start Jun 26, 2009
1
5
10
Trip End Jul 12, 2009


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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Guanacaste,
Saturday, June 27, 2009

Day 1 - Saturday, June 27, 2009 - We made the long drive.  We saw Lake Arenal.  It is a man-made lake and it is huge.  It seemed like we spent hours driving around the lake.  We did see some interesting sights while driving.  Costa Rica is a beautiful country.  We learned there may be Crocodiles in Lake Arenal (Oscar our driver didn't think there were any, but there was a warning sign posted...who knows).  As we finally approached La Fortuna we saw the volcano.  As it was a rainy day, I thought we wouldn't be able to see the volcano, but we lucked out and got a full view of the volcano.  You could see steam coming from the top...very impressive. 

We made it to the Royal Corin and wow!!! was it impressive.  If you can, you should stay at this hotel.  The service is top notch and the hotel is so nice.  Check-in was fast, and everyone was very helpful.  Our rooms had great views of the volcano.  The hot springs looked nice, but we had dinner plans so the hot springs would have to wait.  Before we left for dinner, the hotel delivered a cake for may birthday.  It was beautiful.  Necia had set it all up before we arrived.

We went to a steak place in La Fortuna.  I cannot remember the name, but it was very good.  We thought the food and service were great.  We went based on the recomendation of our driver Oscar.  He has been so great taking care of us.  They brought out a happy birthday dessert for my birthday.  Once again, a very nice touch.

We were going to go to the volcano to see the lava flow if it was still visible after dark, but the clouds had came in, and there was no way to see the volcano.  So, we went back to the hotel and swam in the hot springs.  The water was perfect.  It was so relaxing and soothing not too hot but not cool either.  We really had a great time at the pool.  Everyone was worn out and ready for bed, but we were looking forward to the adventures that were planned.  (We were very surprised at how early it got dark - I think it was about 6:00 pm when it got dark)

Day 2 -Sunday, June 28, 2009 - Today was a day of relaxation.  We all slept in and had breakfast at the hotel.  It was a very nice breakfast with lots of fruit.  Grandma, Greg, and Malesa headed to the pool.  Grandpa, Necia, and Shaeleigh headed to the spa.  The girls got the works massage, hot rock reflexology, and facial.  Grandpa got the hot rock reflexology.  Upon exiting the spa, everyone looked very relaxed.  We had went to a pizza place for lunch and then went shopping.  The pizza was good, but it was a little unusual.  I think the main difference in the pizza was the cheese.  While shopping, we found all kinds of stuff that we could not live without (shirts, wood crafts, dresses, knifes, etc.)  We shopped the whole town of La Fortuna.  I think our favorite store was the wood craft place.  They had very neat stuff.  We purchased a lot of goods at the store.

Just as we finished shopping, it started to rain.  We then went and booked a Canyoning tour at Desafio.  While we were there booking the trip, it started to rain.  It rained very hard and water came through the roof and the windows.  The water dripped on a lightbulb and the lightbulb exploded.  The computer that the woman was working almost got wet from a leak in the roof.  If you go here you need to be careful about how they charge you there were three of us going on the Canyoning tour and they charged us for 4 people.  I asked them about the 4th charge and they told me it was for equipment, but it wasn't.  I called them back later to ask again and they said it was taken care of, but it wasn't.  In the morning they asked me where the fourth member of our party was.  I still don't know if they fixed the bill.  I just think everyone who goes here should be careful.

We went back to the hotel and went to the Lava Bar.  The Lava Bar is at the top of the hotel (the 5th floor) and it has a great view.  It was very relaxing to sit there and watch the rain and the volcano.  Oscar came back at 6pm to take us to either dinner or the volcano.  It was still a little cloudy so we went to dinner.  We went to a Soda (a Costa Rican Diner) and had a very nice dinner.  There was a small souvenier shop in the Soda and the kids had a good time looking while they waited for the food.  By the time we were done eating, it was clear enough to go to the volcano and see the lava.  It was a long bumpy ride to the volcano.  After making the long rought trip, we were so gald we were staying at the Royal Corin and not the Arenal Observatory Lodge ("AOL").  The AOL is too far out of the way.  I guess if you like roughing it and being in the middle of no where it would be okay.  The view of the volcano was great, although it was raining, we saw some good sized rocks come down the side of the mountain.  We also saw some lightning bugs.  It was great even though it was raining.  We had an umbrella with us, but wished we had more.  It would have been easier to stay longer and watch the volcano.  One thing we did not expect is that the place you watch the volcano is on a one lane bridge on the road to the AOL.  While you are watching the volcano, you are also dodging traffic as it comes up the road.  In the rain, we were also trying not to get splashed by the cars.

When we got back to the hotel, Shaeleigh and Greg went to the pool and swam for about an hour.  Greg really loves the hot springs pool.  It was a great day.  We had a very good time and got to see some Costa Rica culture.

Day 3 - Monday, June 29, 2009 - Today we went canyoning.  Parker, Shaeleigh and I got up early today at about 6:00 am to got canyoning.  (It really isn't that hard to get up early as the sun seems to come up at about 5:00 am)  We went to breakfast at 6:30 and sat outside and enjoyed the view of the volcano.  It is interesting because you can see smoke coming from the top of the volcano.  Oscar came to pick us up at about 7:15 to take us into La Fortuna.  We met with the other members of our group for the adventure.  (As I mentioned above, they wanted to know where the 4th member of our party was.  I told them I had only reserved for 3 people.)  Once the confusion was cleared up, we left town in a min-van on our way to the "Lost Canyon."  We turned off the nice paved road onto a very bad dirt road.  It looked like we were going to have to walk the rest of the way.  A few minutes later a small pickup with a covered back and some benches showed up.  Were were told to get into the back of the truck.  Here the adventure began.  We traveled a few miles in the back of the truck up a very steep hill on a very bad road.  The best part of this ride was meeting the people in the truck with us.  There were two boys from South Carolina, a mom and daughter from Germany, and me and Parker and Shaeleigh.  The girl from Germany had been in Costa Rica for 6 weeks learning spanish and here mother was picking her up.

We arrived at a small building in the middle of nowhere, where we were given our hard hats and harness for the repelling.  We had to leave all of our cameras, etc. behind as we were told everything we had would get wet.

Another truckload of people in the tour joined us at the small building before we left.  In total we had a group of about 15 people on the tour (not counting the guides).

 We walked towards the canyon and the guides gave us some direction as to how to repel into the canyon, and we were off on our adventure.  As it seemed me and the kids were the most novice of the group, I suggested we go last in the group.  This was a good choice as Parker and Shaeleigh were getting used to repelling.  They both did a good job, but it takes some nerve to walk backwards down a small waterfall with only a rope holding you.

When Shaeleigh and I made it through the first repel, the group was way ahead of us (including Paker).  We had to walk down a river through a canyon.  The entire time we were walking on slick rocks in the river.  The guide and I were helping Shaeleigh.  In some places you had to walk down small waterfalls doing a type of crab walk.  There were foot and hand holds in the wet rocks, but they were hard for Shaeleigh to reach.  In general it was pretty frightening.  We finally caught up with the rest of the group at the second largest repel.  It was probably about a 150 foot drop down a waterfall.  They had Shaeleigh do the double rope drop so they could help her (she didn't need to control her own rope for the drop).  She did a great job.  I went over the edge and lowered myself down.  It was quite a rush, but I had to stop myself every once and awhile because I thought I was going too fast.

Once we got to the bottom of the large repel, we stayed in a group of 5 - the other 10 people in the group stayed ahead of us.  We went through the canyon and did various repels and walked through some deep water.  We went through one place where you had to wedge yourself between the walls of the canyon and jump into a deep pool and swim across.  When I jumped into the water, I hit my head on a rock.  I was sure glad I had on a hard had.  We were all very wet and the water was cool, but not cold.  The next big thing was the wall of water.  All 5 of us wedged ourselves into a very narrow canyon and one of the guides stopped the water from flowing down the canyon.  We were all seated like a train.  Once we were all seated, the guide stood up and a wall of water rushed over us.  We were wedged in so tight that it didn't wash us out, but the water went over the top of us.  It was very fun, but it was not a very comfortable way to sit. 

After the wall of water, we went to the giant waterfall.  I have not idea how tall it was.  The hight made me dizzy.  My guess it was about 300 feet.  It was fun to go down the waterfall, but I would not want to do it if there was a lot of water coming donw the falls.  The guide told us that during the rainly season, you have to be careful not to hit the water in the falls or it will pull you down too fast.  We all made it to the bottom and had a great time going down.

The rest of the trip was walking through the canyon looking at the various plants and springs along the canyon walls.  At the end of the adventure, we had to walk out of the canyon.  This was very hard.  After all Shaeleigh had been through on the adventure, this was almost too much.  When she had just about ran out of steam and was ready to cry, we made it back to the little building where they had lunch waiting for us.  We had a very nice Costa Rican meal, and met up with the rest of the group.  Everyone had a great time.  Shaeleigh was not certain that she would go again, as it was a pretty big adventure, but Parker and I would go again if given the chance.

The tour guides took us back to our hotel.  The rest of our group, grandma, grandpa, Malesa, and Necia were in town.  They came back to the hotel and got Shaeleigh and went back to town to do some more shopping.  While they were gone Parker and I went to the spa.  I had the deep tissue massage with a mud wrap and parker had the swedish massage with the teen facial.

The spa was world class.  The waiting area was so relaxing with a koi pond and waterfall.  The therapist were very professional.  I had Isabella.  She was a big lady and was very strong.  I am not sure I was ready for the deep tissue message, but on the otherhand it was very relaxing and I feld very good after the treatment.  The great thing about the spa was due to the time of year, the deal was 40% off your first treatment and 50% off any additional treatment.  I wish that I had more time at this hotel, I would have gone back.

Necia and grandpa also went to the spa today.  I don't know what treatments they got, but they really enjoyed them.

I had to take a work call, and while I was on the call there was a very bad lightning storm.  The worst I had seen since we lived in Dallas.  The thunder was very loud and the rain was very hard.

Once my call was over, we went to dinner.  We went to a place called Lava Rocks.  It was a local Soda.  Most everyone had pasta I think.  When dinner was over, they asked us if we wanted some pie.  They said there specialty was apple pie.  Well, we decided to try the apple pie with ice cream.  It was apple pie with ice cream, but the apple pie was a fried apple pie like you would get at McDonalds.  Not really what we had in mind.  We all had a good laugh and will always remember the apple pie.

When we went back to the hotel, Malesa, Necia and I went to the pool (once the lightning stopped) although it did continue to rain while we were in the pool.  We went to the swim-up bar and all had some virgin coladas.  It was very nice to be in the warm pool, with a cool drink, under a little enclosure in the rain.  This hotel really had it all.

Day 4 - Tuesday, June 30, 2009 - We got up early and went to breakfast.  We all ate outside and enjoyed the fantastic view of the volcano.  We spent a little time packing and then met Oscar for the drive to Monte Verde. 

Everyone agreed they could have spent an entire week at the Royal Corin.  It was such a relaxing place and there were so many activities nearby.  We will all miss this hotel.

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Comments

gahtax
gahtax on

Arenal Looks Great
It looks like you had a great time in Arenal. I think the canyoning sounds great. Would you do it again?

John Dough on

A very pretty place. I was there once. it was great.

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