La Fortuna and Volcano Arenal, Costa Rica
Getting around the lake was no easy task, either. We had to stop and ask where we were and where to go in almost every town. Be forewarned on your journeys that if you don’t see a sign, assume nothing. You simply must re-orient yourself all the time. The compass certainly helps, but in the mountain areas the roads change direction so often that it’s hard.
Another point is that roads get tiny, become big again, and get tiny again. And it’s all the same road. Nothing makes sense, and while you might expect that more from Guatemala or Honduras, it definitely applies in much of Costa Rica.
The trip to Fortuna we first started encountering rain. On the whole trip, it’s rained very little. Costa Rica had a system moving through it, and this was just the beginning.
Made it to Fortuna. Lake Arenal is just south of it. We skirted the lake for much of the trip. Punctured a tire in two places on the upper sidewall on one of the potholes and had to plug it. These are the 10 ply Toyo tires. Another note – if you can get your tires with some kind of world-wide guarantee from Bridgestone/Firestone, do that. They have dealers everywhere in Central America.
Monique and Will had stayed at a place run by Carlos. Got a room at this awesome “summer camp” style place for $5 a piece, for six of us. He also has secure parking, inside of a garage door actuated thing, and it’s really tall. The truck fit no problems. And we sold our cooler to him.
The town of Fortuna isn’t anything. We stayed that first night, went to get food at some place down the road that was nice and fair. Had the Tilapia in garlic cream sauce, it was excellent, and around $7.
The reason people go to Fortuna because of Volcano Arenal, and to a lesser extent the lake and the hot springs.
The problem with the volcano is that it’s usually obscured by clouds – common for volcanoes since they’re so high! But you can’t, or rather shouldn’t, climb Arenal. It’s active, blowing lava and rocks and what not from it’s cone daily. And people do die. That said, people climb a little way, hoping to get a glimpse of the lava.
We just went to the hot springs and boozed.
There are two main resort-springs. Tabacon is the more resorty of the two, and is around 8 miles out of town. Baldi is also very nice, and is 4 miles from town. The cost of Baldi is cheaper when you buy the tickets in town, and is $15. At the door it’s $25. Tabocon is around $30, but we hear they give you a meal credit of $10.
Baldi serves food, drinks, etc for inflated prices, but that’s what you get at a resort. Beers 1300 C. There are 8 or more hot pools, two with swim up bars, man made waterfalls, etc. It was a lot of fun.
Up in the morning to leave, and it was like herding cats, again. Traveling with girls is just plain different than guys. Usually Robert was the slow one in the morning, but with girls, he appears smoking quick. So we made off for coffee, and waiting for everyone to get ready. We finally left some time after 11. Alas… what you trade for beautiful traveling partners.