Costa Rica pt.2

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Costa Rica pt.2

Post by TopHat24/7 on Tue 11 Dec 2012, 10:39 am

Costa Rica pt.2

Days 2-3

Drove to La Fortuna from San Jose in the morning, easy getting out the city (our SJO hotel was right downtown) and the roads were good the whole way to La Fortuna. Our hotel, the Montana de Fuego, was about 5 minutes drive past La Fortuna itself, so a little closer to Arenal Volcano NP. Really liked the hotel, the grounds were lush and green with a heavy emphasis on water with large ponds surrounding most of the accommodation areas. The site is not compact, but not expansive either. We were at the very far end in a separate 2-storey block, which had the 3-bed rooms in it, and the walk back up to the main area (reception, spa, pool, restaurant) was never a chore. Our room was huge with a nice big balcony over-looking the gadens and forest below and had the benefit of a safe for our valuables and a fridge to keep our water cool. This is 3* accommodation and, if you were picky, you’d notice it. I liked the big walk in shower and found the bathroom (and accommodation as a whole) fine, but you could notice little things like cracks in the odd tile here and there, the shower door was stiff and a bit pastic-y, the windows were single glazed only etc. Personally, for a big wooden chalet, I thought it all added to the character! The hotel has the benefit of a lovely natural hot-springs spa which was great to relax after a day’s hiking and the restaurant served a good hearty breakfast buffet.

Staff were all very friendly and helpful and, having arrived around 1.30pm, got us booked on a private nature walk through Arenal NP from 3pm. Our guide was friendly and informative, pointing out a hundred and one things we would have missed, and giving a detailed explanation of the local eco-system and flora/fauna. The walk was easy going along a well-trodden dirt path and culminated in a rocky scramble to a viewing point for Arenal volcano and lake/reservoir. The second day we did the full package with SkyAdventures, consisting of a 3hr hike through the rainforest and over hanging bridges in the canopy (pretty scary) and then zip-lining across the valleys at 50mph!! Full review here: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g309236-d582182-r146018533-Sky_Trek_Sky_Tram_Arenal-Arenal_Volcano_National_Park_Province_of_Alajuela.html

Days 4-5

Took the very winding road around Arenal lake, followed by 40km of pure rough dirt-track, to Monteverde for a couple of days in and around the Cloud Forest NP. We stayed at the Fonda Vela, a charming small-medium family-run 3* hotel with a nice pool area and 2 jacuzzis with a small bar area (that was largely unmanned sadly as it was off-season) and a nice restaurant. Again our room was huge, with nice views out the lounge area. The management generously upgraded us from a standard 3 bed to a suite, as it was quite season, which was very nice of them and we were overall very impressed with the room – especially for a 3*. Having arrived early afternoon, we took an hour or two by the pool before heading out around 5pm for a guided night hike through the NP. A night hike is a must do in CR as you see a different range of species and we saw tarantulas, frogs and a sloth among others. The next day we really packed it in, early breakfast followed by a drive down to the entrance to the NP for the San Luis waterfall hike which was an absolute joy – only 90 mins but, even in the rain, so much fun criss-crossing the river on rickety wooden bridges (planks wrapped in chicken wire) and hiking through the rainforest to see a quite beautiful waterfall. Special thanks to our hotel who recommended driving to the entrance and doing the walk ourselves (costing just the $10 entrance fee) rather than taking a guided tour. After getting back to the hotel and drying off (we were completely soaked through) we got a light lunch by the pool before being picked up for a 90 minute horse-riding trip which was great fun and a totally different way of seeing things. Really peaceful and serene and our guide was polite and friendly. Then in the evening we headed to the Frog Pond (like a mini zoo but just frogs) which was great fun seeing all CR’s variety of frogs and toads, before heading into town for dinner at Morpho’s (recommend the pollo casado!).

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Re: Costa Rica pt.2

Post by Fists of Fury on Wed 12 Dec 2012, 8:39 am

Nice one toppy, will have a good read of this later.

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