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.
Tabacon Wet Bar
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.
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.