The long, narrow, winding road to Arenal turned to a steep, gravel road with more pot holes then anything else. The 7km ‘driveway’ in a tour van with 5 guys and loaded full of gear is not the most enjoyable ride.
We showed up after dark, and were unable to see the volcano we came to see. We checked into the suites, and headed up to the lodge for dinner. After a large meal and a few cups of delicious coffee, we retired to the rooms to play dominos and crib.
Our full day in Arenal was filled with activities. We left the lodge after breakfast and headed out on a birding hike. We spent 3 hours on a guided bird watching tour where we spotted over 40 different species of birds. Our tour guide was able to make well over 50 different bird calls using his mouth with amazing accuracy.
After the birding hike the group went out for lunch until our drivers arrived to take us to our next event. With the majority of the group choosing to go zip-lining and horse back riding (combo event), the remaining 5 of us packed up and headed off for an ATV excursion.
After signing our life away on a waiver written only in Spanish, we grabbed our mediocre helmets, revved up the engines, and headed for the trails.
Bald tires, muddy trails, and fields covered in livestock made for a very memorable afternoon. Within minutes of leaving the barn we were all covered in mud. Taking a handful of mud in the face at 20km/hour normally wouldn’t be amusing, unless you’re doing it to someone else at the same time :)
That evening was spent in hot spring waters fresh from the Arenal volcano, at a resort called Baldi Springs. With 25 spring water pools of different temperatures, 3 swim up bars, and a waterslide with the turns and slope of a double-black diamond ski run, there’s a little something for everyones tastes.
The next day we packed our bags and headed for the Pacific. A 4 hour drive down from the clouded hills to the warm, cloud free, flats of the western side of the country was a real treat. The weather is 24 degrees, the sun is shining, and I can hear the ocean calling my name… Surfs up!