Costa Rica Trip Day 7 - 2009-03-12


Today we went up to Arenal, which is a volcano north of San Jose. After eating breakfast we caught a semi-private shuttle from a local hotel. It was a bit more expensive than the public bus, but it was faster and more comfortable. The drive was pretty interesting, because we got to see the countryside.

Unfortunately, the shuttle didn't serve the hotel where we were staying, so it just dropped us off at the beginning of the access road. The access road was a 2 mile winding dirt road, so we decided not to try and walk it with our luggage. Instead, we called the hotel and they sent somebody to come and get us, which was nice.

The name of the hotel was The Springs Resort & Spa. We knew the owner of the hotel through Robb's lawyer, Juan Carlos, so were able to get a pretty good rate. It was a really nice resort with a fabulous view of the volcano.

When we arrived, we got a nice tour of the area along with some tasty mango beverages. The resort is on the side of a mountain, with I think 18 or so pools that cascade into each other. One set of pools is normal, but most of them were natural hot springs. It was very well done with lots of vegetation and flowers throughout.

Our room was also quite nice with a perfect view of the volcano that was framed by a big picture window. Above the window was a big flat screen TV. King-size bed, hammocks on the patio and a jacuzzi tub. The tension on the hammocks was a bit weird: it was only tight in the center so it was like balancing on a rope. Ah well, the place has only been open for 7 months, so I guess they still have a few kinks to work out.

After dropping off our bags, we decided to head up to the bar that was in the pool to get some lunch. Since none of us had eaten in a pool before, it seemed like it would be an amusing novelty. It was pretty nice, the water was a good temperature and it was mostly sunny with a good view of the volcano. I had a burger that was a bit over-done, but it was alright.

After lunch, we decided to check out the hot springs. They were much warmer than the pool, but still quite comfortable. They had a number of them at varying temperatures. One of them had a water slide, but it was a pretty crummy slide. It was made out of concrete and had so much friction that I got stuck. I thought I could change my technique and get down it with a second try, but that just resulted in tearing my bathing suit. This made Liz and Kellian check their suits as well and, indeed, both of them tore their suits! They did have a sign that said that they weren't responsible for personal injury or damage to bathing suits, but seriously, all 3 of our suits were damaged.

We hung around the resort for the rest of the day, thinking that we would do the nighttime volcano-viewing trip, but unfortunately it was a bit too cloudy at nighttime for the trip to be worth it, so we canceled. Kellian bumped into the manager of the hotel, who she knew, so they chatted for a bit. She politely mentioned the bathing suit issue and he said that they needed to put another coat of something on the slide to keep that from happening and that it should have been closed.

For some reason the selection of meals was better for room service and it was cheaper, so we decided to forgoe a $25 meal in the dining room for a $15 on our patio, which also had a nice view. After that, Kellian and I went for some drinks in the hot springs while Liz read her book. The springs were nice at night, though it was a bit hard to navigate due to insufficient lighting. It rained pretty hard while we were there, but that wasn't bad since we were soaking in 100 degree water. It stopped pretty soon after it started.

Tomorrow we're planning to go horseback riding fairly early, so I'm heading to bed.

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