We woke up around 7am this morning. I had Gallo Pinto for breakfast before I packed my suitcase and prepared for a long day in the car.
We set off at 10 am and made our first stop at Tabacon Hot Springs where we skipped the expensive entrance to the tourist baths and went straight for the river where the locals go. It was quite a nice little spot where the river coming out from the Tourist baths pass. There was loads of locals there, but no tourists !
On our way to Tilaran we stopped at a viewpoint to look at the gorgeous view over Lake Arenal (Lake Arenal used to be a small lake, but in 1979 it was demmed up to 3 times its original size. The lake is incredibly important as it produces nearly 12% of Costa Rica’s electric energy. The lake is approximately 30 km long and almost 5 km at its widest point, making it the largest lake in Costa Rica at 85-square-kilometre (33 sq mi). Its depth varies between 30 and 60 meters (100–200 feet) depending on the season).
We stopped for lunch in Tilaran where we had a nice casado (rice, beans, veggies, maduro, salad and meat, chicken or fish of choice) with ice-cream for dessert at a restaurant just in front of the park. Yummy.
From Tilaran the last 40 km took us 2,5 hours to drive. The road was really really bad (and with bad I mean bad). The maximum speed we managed was 20 kmph because the road was steep, curvy and full of holes. It was a gravel/dirt road and each time a car passed us – we had 4-5 minutes of dust clouds around us.
We arrived at 4 pm and once we had checked in and carried our stuff into the room, we signed up for a Night Hike at Santa Maria Refugio de vida Silvestre. Then we relaxed a bit before we were picked up for the Night Hike.