Saturday, January 13, 2024

Costa Rica Days 15-18: Arenal Attractions

We left the coast behind and headed inland towards the Arenal Vocano. The drive estimated to be about four and a half hours so we departed early with lots of snacks and high spirits. 

Erin picked out a lunch spot that promised gluten-free and vegan desserts most of the way through the drive, along the narrow hairpin turn filled mountain route we had selected. Things were going smoothly and we hit the 15 minute warning that we were approaching the restaurant so we started gathering our things and putting on shoes. Moments later, we were brought to a stop by a line of cars on the road ahead of us. 

We were stuck for about 15 minutes before we saw someone walk by. We asked them if they knew the situation and they informed us that a bus and truck had collided. It was anticipated to take hours for the road to be cleared. Word started to spread and cars began turning around. We joined in and had to retrace our steps all the way back to the previous town. We had just lost two hours. 

It was dinnertime when we pulled in to our next rental property, in the town of La Fortuna, close to Arenal and all its attractions. Our accommodation was a rustic a-frame cabin. Super cute...but, definitely rustic. There were many windows with only a large mesh screen and we began to have a bit of a panic about mosquitoes. Some spots in the house didn't have a screen at all, only a big gap between the logs. we plugged these with towels as the wooden beams seemed like perfect bat habitat.

Craig and Erin looked at each other, a little down-and-out, but too exhausted to make a Plan B. They kept their reservations quiet and Adventure Girl settled right in to picking a room and making it her home. In the end, the property was fine; it just led to a couple of sleepless nights with all the trucks decelerating into town at the end of the property's road. 

The view from our window (volcano in behind)

During the two days that followed; however, we made the most of our location and the amazing weather that continued for us. We were fortunate to get unobstructed views of the volcano on both days and we spent some time in the surrounding jungle. 

We went on another hike with hanging bridges (these ones looked much more up-to-standard than our wobbly, more adventurous ones in Quepos!). We were treated to spottings of a pit viper camoflagued on the trunk of a tree (at a safe distance!), a sloth, and....a troupe of Spider Monkeys!!! That's four for four of Costa Rica's monkey species for us! Woohoo!

Not only did we see them, but we were lucky enough to get a great viewing! They swung from tree to tree and even climbed up and down a vine directly above us. We found a little offshoot trail where there was no one else around and enjoyed every minute of it. 

At the end of another hike in the jungle, we caught a glimpse of a new mammal crossing the road. After some research, we discovered that it was a tayra. We also saw many, many coati on and beside the road. 

Our time in Costa Rica ended with an uneventful drive back to Liberia and a very smooth experience at the car rental place and airport. One more stop was ahead before this trip would come to a close.

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