Arenal is the only active volcano in Costa Rica, and consequently there’s a bundle of things to do around the traps. The first thing on our list was a walking tour of the hanging bridges. Basically it’s a rainforest walk, but along the way are a bunch of suspension bridges that you get to cross. Some of the bridges are way high in the air, so they offer wicked views of the surrounding area.
The lady at the ticket booth didn’t speak much english, but the one line she had down pat, which she recited in a very thick spanish accent, was, “no running, no jumping, no smoking…”. (An audio clip would have really helped here.)
Some of the sections of the walk had rather amusing, if not disturbing, names.
Next up on our list was a volcano tour. That was way cool! We got to walk to the base of the volcano through a path created by lava flows from an eruption in 1992. From there we could see rocks rolling down the side of the volcano, which were being pushed out from the pressure build up inside one of the volcano’s chambers. Way cool!
The tour concluded with dinner at the Baldi Hot Springs – which of course meant we got to enjoy the facilities post-meal. They had water in all temperatures (heated naturally by the volcano), up to something like 65 degrees (holy moly, that’s hot!). The hot springs were great to relax in, but unfortunately, for some reason, their idea of a “tranquil environment” included playing 80’s rock music at about 120dB!
Anyway, we could have easily stayed at our hotel at Arenal for many more nights; there’s so much to do around the area (just wish we were there for the white-water rafting season!). Plus, the view from our hotel was just amazing – we could even see lava flowing down the volcano while lying in bed at night!
The only bad experience that we had here was our dinner at Linda Vista Steakhouse. Firstly, it was pricey – much more so than most of the local places we had been eating. Secondly, they didn’t have the wine that we ordered, but had the hide to suggest an alternate bottle almost twice the price. But worst of all, they served Samantha a raw chicken breast! It was completely pink in the middle! When Philip complained about it, they simply took her meal away with no apology, and no replacement. Dodgy, dodgy, dodgy!