Thursday, April 21, 2016

On the Road to Arenal

It's going to take a while to write up and post pictures from our Costa Rica adventures. But on I plough.

After our San Jose stay it was time to really begin our trip. I'd arranged for a car to be dropped off at our hotel. We used a Costa Rican company named Vamos and they were really great. Slightly older vehicles but fantastic service (and price!) and genuinely kind people to help you. They were a bit late dropped off the car, which tested Raf's patience (always a work in progress), but after a sleepy beginning to the day we were off....!


I did 99% of the driving and I will admit that I was a little nervous. I'm known as the demented homing pigeon to Rich, and it's not without good cause. We did have a sat nag, but in the mountainous region it was a bit hit and miss... but off we set to Arenal, and once we were outside San Jose we settled in for a VERY windy, hilly ride.




Up and around, up and around... at one point we were all feeling dizzy. Driving is not for the meek or timid in Costa Rica (as two Facebook travelers noted on our pictures!), with lots of overtaking on hairpins with massive drop offs on either side.





A phenomenal bridge...




And after 3 hours of driving plus some stops along the way, we spied the volcano! So impressive and imposing.


We found our digs with little difficulty (thanks sat nav), and it was just beautiful. We stayed in a hotel at the foot of the volcano. Because of the thermal properties of the area, the hotel and innumerable hot springs alongside 3 pools with lots of slides into both the spring and human made pools. The kids, especially Raf, were in heaven. Charlie especially liked the hot spring pools that he could wade around in without getting chilly.

View form our room's patio.



As soon as we arrived we headed out to explore the hotel's grounds.



And Raf was in!


Amazing slides.




video

We were there a long while that first evening, so Hatts got in a bit of a nap poolside, and I was happy to watch the sun go down, watching the boys playing and swimming.


Finally joined by a worn out Charlie who was getting ready for a good night's sleep. But can you spy Raf in the background going back for more sliding fun?!



Completely exhausted by the time we finally made it to bed.


Up bright and early, of course... we were planning to take a predawn hike to a volcano lookout, as apparently it's the best time to get a good view of the volcano. Alas, it was a rainy, misty morning so we hung out in our little pad, the boys playing with their "new friends", some ants!


And then we headed out to explore the hotel grounds some more. This place was great. Not only fabulous pools and hot springs, but they take advantage of the rain forest and its inhabitants. They have crocodiles, a frog garden, a butterfly garden, and more...



Crocodiles this way... yikes!


But first some ants...!



And frogs.



And butterflies.





And some tummy breakfast.






And then off to find some more nature.






We'll definitely head back to this place as we didn't have time to explore the place as much as we wanted... there are too many fabulous things to do in Arenal to stay within the grounds of a hotel.

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