Arenal, Costa Rica

The rainy season has hit Costa Rica, so we decided to do one last road trip before we left for Europe.  The number one tourist destination in the entire country is La Fortuna Waterfall.   Arenal Volcano is also very popular and we wanted to check out both of those places.  We left our vacation rental house, as our month was officially up, rented a car and drove up the mountain!  It was a beautiful scenic drive through farm country; dairy cows, horses, fields of vegetables and coffee and sections covered in screen, like greenhouses.  Costa Rica is a lush, green and beautiful country and we enjoyed the view.  The roads are so windy and twisty that a few of our boys got a little carsick, but they bounced back quickly enough.

Craziness!

Craziness!

The town square in La Fortuna.

The town square in La Fortuna.

We found a great little hotel in the heart of La Fortuna, that offered a complimentary continental breakfast and had the added bonus of a pool, which the boys were thrilled with!  We made that our home base and then did some day trips from there.  We scoped out some free hot springs that the Costa Ricans frequent in the evenings.  It was a bit awkward getting there, but worth the trip.  The boys loved it!  For supper we found a steakhouse on the side of the road which boasted fire roasted meat and it was, by far, the best food we have eaten in Costa Rica.  The owner/chef custom ordered for our family and it was delicious!

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Wooden art is famous in this area. Some of the pieces we saw were huge! And expensive!

Yuck!

Can you imagine having this thing on your front lawn or sitting in your living room?

Wednesday, we drove up to Mistico, which has hanging and suspended bridges that you can walk through, up in the treetops of the rainforest.  We didn’t see much wildlife, but it was misty and very cool, nonetheless.  Later in the afternoon, while we were back in town, the clouds cleared and we had an actual line of sight to the top of Volcano Arenal.  It smokes all the time and apparently you can hear it rumbling.  That was the only glimpse of the actual top as it was very cloudy and rainy the entire time we were there.

Mistico hanging and suspended bridges

Look up, look waaaaaayyyyyy up!  Mistico hanging and suspended bridges

Poison dart tree frog.  It was a red spot on a fallen tree branch.  A guide could hear it, before he saw it.

Poison dart tree frog. It was a red spot on a fallen tree branch. A guide could hear it, before he saw it.  This picture is zoomed in.

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"Harry, I've reached the top!" (Home Alone)  Arenal Volcano

“Harry, I’ve reached the top!” (Home Alone) Arenal Volcano

The next morning, Richard, James and Matthew went to La Fortuna Waterfall.  Ethan and I stayed back and enjoyed the pool.  The waterfall was worth the 471 steep steps to get there.  In the afternoon, we played a game of Agricola with the big boys while Ethan had a nap (he was tuckered out from his pool time!).

La Fortuna Waterfall - 200 feet

La Fortuna Waterfall – 200 feet

It was a little chilly, but Richard went for a swim!

It was a little chilly, but Richard went for a swim!

Friday, we drove to Sarchi, which is a popular little tourist spot with wooden art.  We had promised the boys that they could look for a souvenir and this was the place to do it.  Ethan wanted a sea turtle stuffie, but the big boys each found a painted wooden mug.  We continued on to San Jose, returned our car and prepared for flying to Spain.

Old factory where they used to make ox-carts.

Old factory where they used to make ox-carts.  Sarchi has the world’s largest ox-cart, which were used back in the day to transport coffee from the various farms.

In Sarchi, at a market for wooden art.

In Sarchi, at a market for wooden art, souvenirs in hand!

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