Tag Archives: Volcano

Returning to Volcan Poas

Most of the morning I spent sleeping and relaxing. I was still tired after the long drive 2 days ago, but for the afternoon I had scheduled to meet a friend and visit the Poas Volcano.

I met Mario at 1 AM by Pops at the Central Park in Heredia. From there we drove to his grandparents house to greet them and also to ask his grandfather how we should drive to get to volcan Poas.

We took off and mostly we felt quite sure about the way. However at one point there were no signs to let us know where to go on further. Mario thought we may have to take to the right so we went with his intuition (despite of what 3 of his couchsurfers have posted in the references that he is the worst co-pilot in Costa Rica – Im probably NOT the best driver here though). We found the signs further on and felt sure that we were on the right track again :D From there on it was really easy – however there were lots of heavy transports driving up the mountain hills and they were NOT particularly fast so we didn’t get there fast. However we had time to explore the beautiful nature driving up the mountain and watch the change of scenery.

The first time I visited Volcan Poas was back in 1993 with my mom and grandma that came to see me during my High School exchange year. Both the Crater and the lagoon were covered by clouds and todays luck was no better. A huge cloud (nope – not mist) had covered the crater and today I had no greater luck. However I had great company and lots of fun and now I just have a reason to come back – to see the crater and the lagoon on my third try :D

Volcan Poas is a stratovolcano and it lies within two vast calderas at the height of 2,708 meter over sea level. The southernmost of two summit crater lakes, Botos, is cold and clear, and last erupted about 7,500 years ago. The other is warm and acidic and has been the site of frequent eruptions since the first was reported in 1828. Eruptions often feature geyserlike ejections of lake water.

One of the rangers told us that it had had a 50 meter high geysirlike erruption just today !!! Awesome ! And we missed it :(

Do not descend to the crater.

Beautiful nature. Hidden in clouds.

My company and team mate from Couchsurfing MDST Mario. The view is hidden in a cloud.

Me with a poor mans umbrella

At 4 pm the rangers started making sure the visitors started moving towards the exits and we did as well, but while enjoying the beautiful nature. On our way down we drove with calm and made several stops along the way to buy queso de Palmito and strawberries (not so easy to find in the hotter lowlands).

However, today I had my first encounter with the law.
I was driving and took a wrong turn into a one-way street just in front of a local police officer. He honked his horn and I stopped and he came over. In the mirror he looked angry, but when he came over and saw me his face lit up in a smile and then he asked me; Are you lost my love? I heard Mario laugh beside me while I, of course, played the lost card to its full and asked for directions and explanations and then explaining how we had gotten lost and this and that. Awesome !
Then he directed me while I backed up to the cross and could turn in the right way :D Then he saw us off with; Have a nice day my love :D
I love Costa Rica !

We moved on and stopped to take pictures of the beautiful sunset.

Then we got lost again and just as we were most lost I decide to turn on the radio and the first 2 lines that streams are:

Que nos paso? ¿Porqué nos perdimos?
Meaning: What happened? How did we get lost? And of course… We both burst into laughter. It was soooo perfectly timed. Hehehe

However, finally we found Alajuela and with that also Heredia and finally it was time to have lunch (and dinner). We went to a restaurant in Heredia with traditional food and had a lovely meal before I went home to my family and Mario moved on back to Rohrmoser.

Arenal Backpackers Lodge – 5 star Hostel

When we got home from Baldi Hot Springs Magnus and I decided to go for a brief walk in Fortuna de San Carlos. Fortuna is quite a small city and we strolled around enjoying the evening. We also had a Mango / Papaya / Banana smoothie which was really really good.

When we got home we spent the rest of the evening in front of the swimming pool at the Arenal Backpackers Lodge – enjoying a nice summer night with music from the pool-side bar.

Magnus in front of the Swimming Pool..

Fortuna de San Carlos

After todays hike in the Arenal Volcano Jungle and the visit to Baldi Hot Springs we went for a hike in the city we are staying in, Fortuna de San Carlos.

Fortuna is a nice little city, but its totally dominated by all the tourists. Souvenir shops and Tourism offices dominate the city.

Twilight in the park of Fortuna de San Carlos.

However – THIS Fortuna de San Carlos is VERY different from the one I visited in 1999 when I visited volcan Arenal the first time …

Baldi Hot Springs

After a 4 hour hike in the jungle searching for animals we went to Baldi Hot Springs where we stayed for the rest of the afternoon and had a great time relaxing in the sun.

Integraded Bars  / Swimming Pools

Magnus enjoying waterslides

Me enjoying the 47 C degrees hot water.

We also had an amazing lunch buffet with a gorgeous view of the volcano.

In the Park there is also a huge amount of birds and animals that come to enjoy the water as well and we got to see a lovely pair of Chestnut Mandibled Toucans.

It was a lovely visit! Absolutely recomendable!

Arenal Volcano Hike

After having worked out 5 days this week I had decided that the weekend would be for relaxing. However, if I ever thought I was going to get a day off from working out just because it was saturday and not a weekday I had to think again.

I don’t like to watch time go by without filling it with adventure when Im travelling and today was no different so Magnus and I signed up for a guided Hike in the jungle for the morning.

From the Arenal Backpackers Lodge we were picked up at 8 am with a Swiss couple (Kasper and Claudia) and taken to El Silencio Reserve where we were taken through rainforest trails for a nice and gentle hike to spot a variety of flora and fauna.

Due to Will Smith being in town for the filming of After Earth by M. N. Shyamalan, a lot of the trails were closed down and not accessible. Of course it would have been very cool to see Mr. Will, but we were not allowed entrance to the filming location.

However we were lucky enough to see lots of animals today. We saw lots of birds of course; like the Montezuma Oropendola, the Clay-colored Thrush and a Toucan couple among the more interesting ones. We were also lucky enough to see a few Spider Monkeys. These are rarely seen, but one of the 4 monkey species in CR.

One of the other 3 species is the Mantled Howler Monkey which we also were lucky enough to see today!

We also saw lots of insects, flowers and plants that in itself was worthwhile the hike, like this one that is edible (but that I don’t remember the name of).

Our guide took us up to a beautiful viewpoint of the volcano. And there he thought us that the volcano has been dormant for 1,5 years now (which explains why the lava hikes are not available).

On our way back to the start of the hike we  found a nice Liana where Magnus decided to play that he was Tarzan :D

It was a great tour and our guide, Ramon, was really good at spotting wildlife.

However now its time for a relaxing bath at Baldi Hot Springs…

Driving from Liberia to Fortuna de San Carlos

I hereby present you to “The Car”. This one will be our slave throughout our drive through Costa Rica.

We started our journey just after 4 pm from Liberia. I drove the first part from Liberia to Cañas. Along the road there were lots of fruitsellers and the closer we got to Cañas the more we saw selling Vino de Coyoll and I had to pick up a few bottles of this very typical wine. Vino de Coyol is a wine distilled from a liquid that is collected from holes of the trunk of a very spiny palm. However it is supposed to have a very special effect – because if you DO get drunk with this drink, – intoxication goes away, but as soon as you go out again to work or spend time being active in the sun with a Coyol hangover you will get yourself drunk again up to two days after the day of getting drunk on it.

In Cañas we changed driver and Magnus took his turn and drove all the way from Cañas through Tilaran to Nuevo Arenal.

We almost got lost in Tilaran (Since Tilaran is like the BIGGEST city in Costa Rica and real easy to get lost in… NOT), but once we were on the right way we were good.

Most of the road to and around the Arenal Lake was covered in darkness and incredibly swingy roads. Some areas have no paintlines left to show drive lanes although in some spots you can see that once they had and other areas have nicely marked lanes with reflex lights marking the lanes in the dark as well. The best option here was to drive slow and be prepared for anything. At one point, in a swingy downhill, we found a bull walking in the middle of the road with a huge stick attached to its horns. Poor thing looked like it wasn’t too happy about that.

In Nuevo Arenal we stopped to have dinner at Rumours Bar & Grill. Magnus being a vegetarian and myself avoiding anything with Gluten made that stop difficult. But what do you expect from a Bar and Grill that sells Nokia and IPhones with 3G, but have to run over the street to get a can of soda and beer for their clients?

Actually they had nothing at all that wasn’t either pasta, pizza or baked in Soy or wheat products. However Magnus had a nice vegetarian dish and then we went across the street to the local restaurant where I had a casado dish (typical Costa Rican dish with rice, beans, salad, egg + either chicken or steak)  and a Papaya smoothie. Yummy.

I drove the rest of the way from Nuevo Arenal to Fortuna de San Carlos and several times we had to drive through really dense jungle and really swingy roads full of holes. I made a few stops where the jungle was particularly dense and we had to cross rivers because the sounds were just breathtaking.

We heard 100s of frogs. We saw fireflies. We heard birds. It was a really nice trip.

Arriving in Fortuna de San Carlos we checked in at the Arenal Backpackers Lodge which is a 5 star hostel with a really nice swimming pool and quite nice standards !

After checking in and leaving our luggage in our room we parked ourselves in front of the pool (in the pool) and thats where we stayed until bedtime.

Liberia – Fortuna de San Carlos – Liberia

cloudy.gifWeather today has been a bit varied since I have been to several different regions of CR. Liberia had the same wonderful sunny weather as previous days. +33C and no clouds. Although in Fortuna the weather was cloudy and it even rained a few drops. Throughout the day the weater cleaned up though.

I got up at 4am this morning to get the bus at 5 to Puntarenas. As I walked down towards the bus station I enjoyed the quiet dark morning before I reached the bus station where I got a sandwich and something to drink before hopping on the bus. It was early and I thought; GOD i just hope nothing happens with this bus so that we dont miss the bus from Canas to Tilaran.
And what happens? OH Yes. Dont you doubt it. One of the tires went flat !
We all had to deboard the bus and stress rushed towards me since I knew we had to get the bus from Canas to Tilaran. The fact that I did not know if the bus from Tilaran to Fortuna leaves from Tilaran at 7 or at 8. I needed to get the bus from Canas at 6am. I just had to.
I found this other lady from the bus and we hopped on the first bus that passed from Liberia to Canas. In Canas we found out that the bus just left so the lady and I took the first cab we found and payed him to press his foot on the speeder.

Finally after about 15 minutes in the cab we reached the bus and I was happy. All was good again.
I could not help but thinking that it could be that I wasnt supposed to do this trip today. No matter what I was going to Fortuna ! I had to do it today cause it was my last possibility.
I just had my mind on getting JorunnS a gift I hope is good for her.

The good thing about getting to Tilaran at 6:45am was that I realized that one of the 2 buses that goes to Tilaran leaves at 7am and the other bus leaves until 12:30. It does not leave at 8 like some dude told me in Liberia. Another proof that one should not always believe anything that a common Tico tells you. hehe. Ticos does not like to be wrong and will not admit that they dont know things.

Finally we did get that bus at 7 and was so happy to get the bus I had planned for. I sat down with the lady I had gotten to know on the trip to Tilaran. She quickly dug up her Bible from her bag and started studying it. I dont normally sleep when travelling alone, but I seriously felt confident that she was gonna watch out for me. An hour and a half into our trip we had a stop and some people went off. I jumped on the opportunity to get a double seat just for ME. That felt good considering the seats of the buses always are too short for my legs.

We arrived Fortuna at 10am and I walked around a bit before I got my return ticket to Liberia. I could not wait for the regular bus to go at 5:30pm so I headed for the greyline company like I did last time I was in Fortuna. The greyline bus is scheduled for 1pm so at least that one will be back in Liberia about the same time the regular bus leaves Fortuna.
Then I took a cab up to Hotel Montana de Fuego where the souvenir shop I had been searching all day was located. OK it was not at Montana de Fuego but on the other side of the road. I went in there and looked through the souvenirs to see if I found a suitable gift for my friend. I will not say here what I ended up with since it is supposed to be a surprise for someone.

After choosing the gifts I went over the streets and had lunch at Acuarela restaurant. I had a wonderful tropical chicken with a mango / pineapple / passionfruit /peach sauce topped with strawberries, peaches and avocado. It was served with rice and beans and it tasted delicious !!!
I had an amazing view towards the Arenal volcano and the better thing about it all was that the clouds lifted up and the view towards the volcano was amazing. The sound of Lava rocks falling down the mountain hills, the damp from the hot rocks as they cool down towards the mountain. Those are views to remember. The amazement I feel as I look towards one of natures true wonders.

coatis.jpgThe greyline bus picked me up at the hotel and I was soooo tired I almost fell asleep waiting for it. Though I managed to wait until I was on the bus. I fell asleep almost immediately but the bus driver woke me up to show us all a coati family along the road. They are so used to tourists and beeing fed by people that they put on a show. They are amazing and they make strange sounds. They almost sound like some strange birds. I had bananas that I fed them with and they were almost fighting about the food. Cool animals.

After getting back on the bus I slept for another hour and a half. We had to make a bus change and after the change I spent the rest of the time talking to Klemens from switzerland. He was an AFS student in the US 04/05 and has been in CR 3 months like me. We had a nice chat and I hopped off the bus in Liberia while he continued to Tamarindo.

As I arrived Liberia I stopped at the internet cafe before going home. I didnt stay long though. I was dead tired and went home to sit on my bed for an hour or two before I finally went to bed.