Daily October (8)


Day 4

Excitedly the hubs arrived from his early morning trip to the beach with the gang to tell me all about his wonderful experience. Today is our last day here. We’re spending a couple more hours before we depart for our next leg of the tour.

We sat at breakfast table with the same group of people we dine with here. The German couple have their plans mapped out courtesy of our antiquated laptop, remember? They are excited to spend the remaining days of their Costa Rican adventure just lounging by the beach.

The rest of us will head on to Arenal, home of the famous volcano of the same name.

Breakfast was where we said goodbyes to other guests we became buddies with during our short stay in this lodge. We exchanged emails and facebook pages, etc. I was a bit sad, especially separating from the German couple. They were very nice and found out were mostly like us in many ways.

After breakfast, hubs and I took a walk around the perimeter, one last time. It’s so relaxing being surrounded by nature in this setting. While I was looking forward to seeing our next adventure, I was sad at the same time at leaving all this behind. We both wished we could spend more time here.

At the dock, we were sorted into 2 boats. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same Spanish-English speaking grouping. So we got separated from our German friends. Sad to see that happen. They went off first, then it was us, all 7 of us with a boat full of people.

This time the ride was not narrated, unlike when we were coming here from San Jose. I enjoyed seeing the familiar places now, the birds and the butterflies and the trees and the grazing cows, water from the canals splashing into my face and arms.

We arrived at the restaurant where we would be waiting for our tour bus to take us back to El Ceibo restaurant where on day 2 we had our second breakfast, remember?

When the buses arrived we were sorted again. And the ride back was faster than the one we took to get to Tortuguero.

A lunch buffet spread was awaiting us. Unfortunately, by the time we got in the El Ceibo in Guapiles, our German friends were no longer there. They are traveling on their own and I suppose only the ones in travel packages get to have lunch. They probably caught their bus to their next destination. Here we managed to say another goodbye to the same people we said goodbye to at breakfast time in Pachira Lodge. We don’t know where they were going. Some of them were heading in the same destination but taking a different transportation.

We took a van that carries about 8-9 people, just perfect for us. Cozy. The ride to Arenal took about 4 hours from Guapiles. We were traveling all day. The passing scenery was not all agricultural lands, we passed by many small towns. The long ride gave me a chance to indulge in wool gathering while enjoying the scenes outside my window. We even stop in a small restaurant/bar where our driver had something to eat.

It was pouring when we got near Arenal, we expected it. It is rainy season afterall. We just got lucky in Tortuguero, that was the exception, not the rule in this trip.

We stopped by a tour office and inquired about tours around the area. Nothing jumped at us and we thought we could easily do the tours ourselves without signing up for a guided tour.

The town of La Fortuna bears many resemblance to many small towns in the Philippines. The plaza is the center of the town with the church across it. I could totally live my Philippine lifestyle here, except this one’s full of tourists. Stores surround the perimeter of the plaza/church. It’s that feeling of I have been here, but I know I haven’t that really caught me off guard.

In our group we have a 94-year-old grandma who came to Costa Rica with one mission – to zipline. When she broached this to her son, he and his wife agreed to take her so she can fulfill her wish – another off the bucket list. My husband asked the tour office if they have a zipline where one is not going to climb up the platform but some sort of a gondola ride would take anyone up there. Roberta signed up for ziplining in Tortuguero. Nobody did because apparently the ziplining in Tortuguero is considered weak in comparison with the other areas of Costa Rica. Perfect for her. The problem was she couldn’t handle the climb up to the stairs on the platform. She felt dizzy.

And so when the tour operator said their zipline has a gondola ride to take one up to the platform to zipline, it was like destiny. She signed up for the next day.

Nobody else signed up for any trip; the couple in Baltimore along with us decided we’d make it simple and make this a do-it-yourself tour of the La Fortuna and Arenal.

When our van deposited us at the front of our hotel/lodge – I don’t know how to classify it – we were all impressed. The one-storey building/bungalow style in vivid bright reds and yellows Spanish decorated only housed the reception area. Across it, on a hilly portion is the dining area. I was bugged eyed at how lovely the d├ęcor was and how behind the reception desk was a large window with the view of the volcano, who needs painting when you can have this active volcano decorating the reception area. Needless to say, natural light was aplenty here, except it was cloudy and rainy when we checked in. Two nights here, let’s get it started.

With our luggages in tow, we needed to have the golf cart to take us to our rooms. It’s a little walk uphill, but it was drizzling and dark. Our rooms are sprawled all over the property. Landscaped, paved paths and bungalows housing 2 rooms each dotted the green landscaped area. Our bungalow was the first one from the reception area.

It was about 5 pm and we have nothing to do. The woman from Sacramento suggested we go to Baldi Hot Springs that night and get our hot springs experience over with. No wasting of time here. We all agreed. We agreed to meet at the reception area by 6 pm.

And because we had a plan before our van driver left, we asked if he could pick us up – not part of his job – and drop us to Baldi Hot Springs, not far from our hotel but not walking distance either since our hotel is a little remote, in a hilly portion of Arenal with unpaved muddy roads. He agreed and also agreed to bring us back to the hotel afterwards, for a fee of course.

While the leading hot springs attraction here is Tabacon, we decided it was okay for all of us to go to Baldi instead. They have many spring pools with varying heat levels. The ticket we purchased included a buffet dinner, can you believe that? If we knew, one could easily buy a ticket in the morning, stay all day here soaking in very therapeutic water, then have some eats.

WE sampled different pools testing whether the heat is just right for us. We found a very nice pool with just the right heat and a feature of a waterfall. The waterfall mimics the aquamassage in parlors, have you had one of those? So splendidly good. We didn’t want to leave. We had our meals, buffet style, typical Costa Rican food and a station for pastries and other sweet things. The good thing about this restaurant is men are not allowed to eat without putting their shirt on, but women can walk around and eat with just their bathing suit. We wrapped the towel around our suits, we were prudish.

And then it was time to leave. The driver was already waiting for us outside the hotel/hot springs. We asked if he was available the next day as we thought we’d just hire our transportation and we’d go wherever we wanted to go. But he wasn’t free the next day.


nice writeup, pictures pls :)

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