Written by nmagann on 17 Jan, 2012
What a way to begin a much-needed rest. The flights land into Liberia late in the evening and of course, mine was late. For the first time, I didn't have accommodations arranged. Contrary to what I had read, the cost of a…Read More
What a way to begin a much-needed rest. The flights land into Liberia late in the evening and of course, mine was late. For the first time, I didn't have accommodations arranged. Contrary to what I had read, the cost of a taxi into the center of town was a whopping $20, if I knew where I was going. I talked to someone at the information booth about hostels and she said the bus outside would drop me off in front of Mussmoni but it would be a 45 minute wait. I waited, boarded the bus and told him where I wanted to be dropped off. Fortunately, I had spoken to a security guard previously about my plans and he came over to translate my unacceptable Spanish. Less than 30 minutes later and 50 cents less, I got off the bus across from Mussmoni.The place looked liked a single story donut shop. Figuring there must be something in the back, I inquired as to whether there was a place to sleep. Apparently not, so she motioned with her hand the direction and number of blocks to where I could find some accommodations. My bag feels really heavy right about now and I have been "traveling" for over 12 hours now.After passing on three places for various reasons, I wound up crashing at Posada del Tope. It was a tiny room with a twin side bed and no windows, but a very high tin ceiling. I was just on the other side of the office were the television obviously played to keep the office guy awake.As I began to drift off to sleep I heard what sounded like fingernails quickly scraping on something like tin. It wasn't a super high sound, but it was unnerving. I heard it several times. It now sounded as if something was being chased by something making an equally scary sound. I realized the sound was coming from above my head and that something was running across the tin roof. The scratch sound indicated it couldn't be a human being running from the law or similar. Now I am assured there not just a tin roof over my head but thin pieces of tin with edges that could possible fall onto my head with critter atop. Something could crawl through the overlapping edges to find comfort with me while escaping eluding its predator.Fine, I accept my fate, now get it the whole scenario over with so I can go to sleep. Eventually I did just that.In the morning I was going to try to catch a bus to the hot springs so I had no time to look around and was going to pay for another night. I requested another room due to the noise above. The clerk agreed but walked outside with me across the street and pointed to the roof. There sat a large iguana sun bathing. His attempts to get warm at night was what I had heard. Nonetheless, my night of the iguana was over. Close
Written by travelswithkids on 17 Aug, 2008
Arenal Volcano looms over the town of La Fortuna. It is an active volcano, and the only one in Costa Rica that is producing visible lava currently. You can only see it at night, glowing red on the mountainside.You aren't allowed to get…Read More
Arenal Volcano looms over the town of La Fortuna. It is an active volcano, and the only one in Costa Rica that is producing visible lava currently. You can only see it at night, glowing red on the mountainside.You aren't allowed to get very close to the lava in the volcano national park for safety reasons, but you can see it from a distance. You best bet for lava viewing is to stay at one of the hotels on the side of the volcano where the lava is currently flowing. This is currently the north side, and hotels with good lava views that were recommended to us by others staying there include the Observatory Lodge and Linda Vista Del Norte. There are others also.However, we weren't staying at such a hotel. Our hotel had views of the volcano, but not the lava area. So we took the advice of others and drove around to the dam of Lake Arenal and parked to watch the lava. We were there at a fairly rainy time of year, so the top is often shrowded in clouds. We made the 15 minute drive 3 nights in a row to try to see the lava, and on our 3rd night we got to see it flowing and shooting into the air. (The first night, we didn't really have much hope since it was very rainy.) The clouds would part to give you a view for a few minutes, then close back in, then blow off again a little later. There were several other cars at the dam each night hoping for a glimpse also.Driving at night wasn't too bad. The road to the dam is pretty good. But don't go too fast! We came around a corner at Tabacon Springs resort once to see a full-size coach bus across the whole road, trying to turn around.If you don't have a car, various tour agencies in town will take you out there in a bus, park for an hour, then bring you back. No guarantees or anything of course, but if gives you a chance to see the lava. Staying at the lava-view hotels is a good idea because that way you can just hang out in your room, or at dinner, for as long as you want while watching for the clouds to clear away. Close
Written by lashr1999 on 12 Mar, 2006
This garden is in an out of the way region in the Arenal area. To get to it you have to pass a small town with dirt roads and small houses. Just before you get to the butterfly garden there is the Serpentaria where you…Read More
This garden is in an out of the way region in the Arenal area. To get to it you have to pass a small town with dirt roads and small houses. Just before you get to the butterfly garden there is the Serpentaria where you can see many snakes and reptiles. The best time to go, it is said, is in the morning when the butterflies are more active. However, we went just as it was closing. We told the owner how we came a long way and this was our last day and we were given a personal tour of the garden. In fact, the garden was active with butterflies at this time and there were no other tourists to get in our way.
The garden boasts 40 species of tropical butterflies in about four enclosed botanical gardens. The guide let us hold Costa Rica’s famous butterfly in which on one side it looks like a brown owl with eyes to scare off predators and on the other side it is a beautiful greenish blue. Another rare feature was the nocturnal butterflies with transparent wings. The guide helps you understand the stages of a butterfly's life and you get to see a butterfly nursery. While walking outdoors the guide told us about Costa Rica native plants growing outdoors. We were also treated to the sight of a sloth in the trees. As we were leaving, the owner let us hold a snake and see a venomous spider which were being housed here for the Serpentaria next door. It is too bad the Serpenaria was closed, it would be nice to have a personalized visit there as well.
Tabacon offers several ways for you to enjoy their hot springs. You can try just their hot springs for $25, or you can have dinner as well for $45. There is an additional charge for towels and locker rentals. They also have…Read More
Tabacon offers several ways for you to enjoy their hot springs. You can try just their hot springs for $25, or you can have dinner as well for $45. There is an additional charge for towels and locker rentals. They also have spa services available for added costs. The thing you have to remember is that the spring area closes at 10pm, so you have to plan your time accordingly. There are several pools and falls, each feed with the mineral water and heated by natural hot springs—some pools are hotter than others. This is a great therapeutic place to visit, especially if you had an active day canyoning, horseback riding, hiking, canopy touring, or ATVing. There are numerous trees, plants, and falls surrounding the various pools. The nature and plants are best seen in the morning while the volcano is better seen at night. Some pools are secretly hidden away. Drinks are available at the bar area. One tip is to sit under the falls and allow the hot healing waters to hit your back if you have back pain. I know that some may say this is be a waste of $25, since you may get a similar experience at a free Jacuzzi at your hotel. However, the atmosphere is different and was worth the cost, to me at least. The springs attract a mixed crowd of younger and older people.
Warning: Tabacon Hot Springs lies in a "high-risk zone" which is in the volcanoes path. In 1968, 78 people were killed by an eruption which hit Tabacon. In June 1975, before the spa was built, rock and burning gases passed over the spot. In 1993, pyroclastic flows came dangerously close to it. Potentially deadly avalanches occur within the zone once every 2-3 years.
Perhaps the best value for an exciting tour is the canopy tour by www.canopy.co.cr
It offers you a choice of horseback riding, or a trailer ride to the rain forest site where you will begin your canopy tour. Before the tour, you are instructed on…Read More
Perhaps the best value for an exciting tour is the canopy tour by www.canopy.co.cr
It offers you a choice of horseback riding, or a trailer ride to the rain forest site where you will begin your canopy tour. Before the tour, you are instructed on how the equipment works and what you are supposed to do to keep yourself safe. There are nine platforms of various heights, lengths, and speeds. It progresses even higher until the 6th platform, where you begin to descend. For a guy who’s scared of heights it was just as scary from the first to the last one. You can see various trees and mountain. You can not really see the wildlife or birds since everything races by fast. For that, try walking on the hanging bridges. The instructors guide you every step of the way, even at the last platform if you forget something. In our tour only one guy bowed out of doing it and let his wife and child do it alone. All and all this is a great tour for people who want an adrenaline rush.
Written by kjun12 on 12 Jul, 2003
Located on the northwest side of Lake Arenal very near the volcano. There is just one road around the lake so it is not difficult to find. Tabacon consists of a resort as well as the Volcanic Springs. The resort is quite expensive and I've…Read More
Located on the northwest side of Lake Arenal very near the volcano. There is just one road around the lake so it is not difficult to find. Tabacon consists of a resort as well as the Volcanic Springs. The resort is quite expensive and I've never stayed there. I will, therefore, tell about the springs.
As was said in the introduction to this area, these bathing springs are the finest thing in this area of Costa Rica. The entry fee of US$17 is not cheap, but you get spend the whole day in these pleasant surroundings. The fee includes your locker and a towel. A deposit must be left for these, but you get this back when the key and towel are returned.
There are about 20 separate pools of running water heated by the volcano. These pools were hewn from the lava rock that covers the entire area, and average about 15 feet wide by the same length. All are irregular in shape, some larger and some smaller. Very neat paths lead from one pool to another and the entire area is planted in beautiful tropical plants, many of which are blooming.
There is a spa with various types of massage offered as well as mud baths. These are not included in the entry fee and must be paid for additionally.
Several regular swimming pools are available for use. Each pool has a different temperature and the largest has a sunken bar offering any drink you may desire.
The restaurant is excellent though a bit expensive for the area. Try to eat there in the evening and be certain to request seating at the rear of the restaurant so that you will have a good view of the volcano. You are virtually guaranteed a nice meal and, with the evening view of the volcano, a truly romantic setting.
Last, you may find a love for your evening because there does appear to be some cruising going on.
Arenal rises 5436 feet above sea level, and is the most active of the volcanoes in Costa Rica. There are various tour companies which offer night hikes to various lookout points in the area. It is best to do this on a clear, non-rainy day,…Read More
Arenal rises 5436 feet above sea level, and is the most active of the volcanoes in Costa Rica. There are various tour companies which offer night hikes to various lookout points in the area. It is best to do this on a clear, non-rainy day, which is a 30% chance. An alternative, if you rented a car, is to drive around close to the volcano and look for the area where tour buses stop to let their customers see the volcano at night. This was exactly what we did. At various times we saw ash columns, lava flows, and sudden explosions if the volcano is not covered by clouds. In fact, just as we stopped we were treated to the volcano erupting. The embers burned for 2 minutes. It looked like the orange top of a triangular shaped incense when burned. After that, we saw some minor eruptions. The organized tours do not allow BYOB. However, if you rent a car you can drink to pass the time between eruptions. Trust me it can be a long, long wait between eruptions. Drink some of the local Rock Ice, which is a clear, alcoholic, lemony drink in a can with salt already in it.
Be aware that because of low light conditions your digital camera may not catch the eruption. To snap a digital photo properly, you need a tripod and have to remember to set your camera for night or low light conditions.
Written by awangel3 on 26 Aug, 2010
I highly recommend the night hiking tour w/ a your own personal guide! We actually got a picture of lava flow from Mt Arenal!! You hike up in the mountains and get closer and closer to Mt Arenal, hearing the rumbling and it gets louder…Read More
I highly recommend the night hiking tour w/ a your own personal guide! We actually got a picture of lava flow from Mt Arenal!! You hike up in the mountains and get closer and closer to Mt Arenal, hearing the rumbling and it gets louder as you get closer. It certainly makes your mind start wondering....ohhh, what if??? Close