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Day Two - Arenal

The Giant Ox Cart

A van arrived at 8:45AM and I began the trip up to the Arenal area. I had traveling companions this day; a retired couple from Mexico and a family from upstate New York. The drive was nearly three hours with a couple stops along the way, one being for a look at the largest ox cart in the world. I could really have skipped that. There was also a stop at a souvenir shop along the way, where I sipped on some sample coffee and spoke a while with the man from Mexico, who was very nice.

The Arenal Volcano
(Click to Enlarge)

We drove along some very bumpy, dirt roads and eventually came upon a fantastic view of the Arenal Volcano. On July 29, 1968, after 400 year of dormancy, an earthquake lead to a major eruption, lasting several days and killing 87 people and destroyed 15 square kilometers of farmland, livestock and property. Since then, it has been in a near constant state of mild activity, with eruptions as often as every 5-10 minutes. We got out and watched and listened for a while, enjoying the spectacular sight.

The Tabacon Wet Bar
Hot Springs Waterfall

The volcano heats many hot springs in the area, which has become a large draw for tourists. I visited the Tabacon Thermal Resort for dinner and some relaxAtion in the springs and also a cocktail or two at the wet bar.

The Cataratas Resort is where I would be staying for the next couple nights. Cataratas offered bungalow-style rooms, which provided a bit more exposure to the outside world than I'm generally used to. There were some gaps in the walls, so you could see right outside and also hear all the wildlife throughout the night and morning. It was a unique experience, for sure. The volcano was nearby and in plain view from my room, a very nice benefit.

At the hotel bar, I was served by Sandra, who spoke very little English and I, very little Spanish. We managed to have a great conversation, however, often drawing pictures or writing out words, which can be easier to understand. She taught me quite a bit of Spanish that would help me for the rest of the trip. Imperial was fast becoming a Costa Rican staple for me.



Day Three

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