We soaked away the morning in the Arenal hot springs- a hot volcanic river flowing through the jungle.
Supper was patacones and burritos, and dessert eaten on our cabin porch in the moonlight.
Next stop was Ecocentro Danous, a tiny green oasis outside La Fortuna. With the help our our guide, we got a close up look at frogs, lizards, sloths, agoutis, birds, caimans... We got lucky and stumbled upon a sleepy sloth, napping on the forest floor.
We dipped our toes in the river at the base of La Fortuna waterfall, had a very authentic restaurant experience in town (complete with cats and dogs under the table- felt like home!) and had an ice-cream night cap in the park. We fell asleep to a raindrop lullaby.
We set out to drive the infamously treacherous roads around Lake Arenal, to our next destination, Santa Elena. The rain and mud foiled our plan to hike to Rio Celeste. We bumped and swerved and held our breath, as we slowly made our way through the mountains. Juni stomped in puddles at a local playground, as the neighboring church choir sang. My dad literally got out of the car, and kissed the road, when the dirt road turned back to pavement. Lunch at the quaint Cafe y Macadamia, overlooked lake Arenal. The iced tea and chocolate macadamia cookies were almost better than the view. Santa Elena was windy and mist from the cloud forest floated past our cabin. The sun set over the pacific ocean, just out of sight, from our new home on the hill.
Hotel Arenal Montechiari
Cabanas la Pradera
*rustic, affordable, family-run cabins on a beautiful property (with fantastic hosts)
Where we played:
Arenal free hot springs
Arenal National Park
La Fortuna Waterfall
Cafe y Macadamia
Skip the over-priced hot spring resorts and go to the local free springs! The entrance is just past Tabacon Resort (you can't miss it)- look for a yellow gate. We went during the day, parked along the road and it felt very safe.
To the cloud forest days 6-7.