Costa Rica is a paradise and one of my favorite places to visit. I had my first Costa Rica adventure back in 2014 and loved it so much that I ended up getting married in Costa Rica. For my third trip to this amazing Central American country we went exploring the Arenal Volcano and its surrounding areas.
The Arenal Volcano is a couple of hours away from the capital of San Jose. The drive to the volcano took us through cities such as San Ramon and up and over numerous mountains and valleys. Sprinkled along the road sides were fields of different types of crops such as coffee, sugar cane and rice. Shanty looking homes with livestock were a common sight on our trip to our hotel, the Chachagua Rainforest Ecolodge, which is situated just 20 minutes away from the La Fortuna area where is the volcano is located.
Our first real glimpse of the Arenal Volcano was on a little hike around our resort. We hiked up to a small town called San Juan where we could see the volcano and surrounding mountains. At the high elevation we were at, we were basically in the clouds. San Juan was made up of a couple of streets with tin roof homes sprinkled about. Barefoot school children were playing soccer on the only field while the residents just sat out on their makeshift porches.
We truly saw the sheer size of the volcano when we went to the Mistico Hanging Bridges Park where we had a clear view of the volcano in all it’s glory. The top of the volcano was obstructed by all the storm clouds that were rolling in. The Mistico Hanging Bridges Park featured a series of hanging, suspension bridges that offered spectacular views of the rain forest below and the surrounding mountains and lakes. It was a little nerve wracking as the bridges would sway as you walked across them. I guess that was why they had a 15 person max limit on one the bridge at a time.
The time had finally come to come face to face with the Arenal Volcano. We arrived at near the base to a park where we could hike up and see the volcanic lava rocks from the 1968 eruption. We hiked by lakes and lagoons, up and over rocks and open fields on our way to ascend up. No sooner as we made our way into the jungle basically you could hear the rain falling before it even got to us. The rain would hit the top of the leaves high up and would take a while before it got us on the floor. All the way to the top of the viewing area of the lava rocks the rain was relentless. Down pour after down pour followed us until we reached the viewing area. There we were covered by fog and clouds to the point we could only see several feet in front of us. Tree tops weren’t visible let alone the top of the Arenal Volcano. Although we did not get the view we had hoped for we got the adventure we wanted.
After all our hiking we needed a day of relaxation. We decided to spend the day the the Baldi Hot Springs. The Baldi Hot Springs were situated at the base of the volcano and the springs warmth were from the volcano itself. It was much deserved. We had a massage with hot, volcanic rocks and drinks by the pool. It was the perfect way to end our Arenal Volcano adventure.