La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Horseback-riding to the falls

We had an early start today and the sun was thankfully shining. After breakfast, we headed out on horse-back to the La Fortuna Waterfalls, close to the base of an extinct volcano. The last time I´ve been astride a horse was several years ago when I went up Taal Volcano on one poor scrawny animal. Without much experience, thoughts about falling off a horse ran in my mind: it's not not only embarrassing but potentially paralyzing - remember Christopher Reeves?

Arenal Falls emerges from the forest

There we were with others - an American woman and a pair of Germans - given a crash course on steering a beast of burden and before I could say ¨hiyaaaa!¨, Chavela my horse was galloping to my butt's surprise. We followed a rough dirt road and our horses seem like they´re on a racetrack outpacing each other. It took us almost an hour to reach the point where we started the downhill trek.

The path is steep but has concrete steps and shaded by the forest. There's this swaying hanging bridge before the falls: I wasn´t planning to swim but the moment I saw everyone in the water, I could'nt resist the temptation. The water was brutally cold but everybody had so much fun until we realize we have to climb up the steep hillside to reach our horses. There was a quick look at a butterfly farm and the more interesting frog pond - with frogs so small they look like ants - before lunch at another Casado restaurant in town.

At the base of the falls

Our guide for the kayaking trip met us at the restaurant and brought us to Lake Arenal, Central America´s second biggest lake and a major source of hydroelectric power in Costa Rica. A quick lesson on the rudiments of handling the boat and the paddles and we got off to a really smooth sailing thanks to the calm waters. I was on a single kayak and so was Neil while Richard was with the guide on a double kayak. Our point of turn-around was this small island a kilometer away. The view was fantastic as Arenal Volcano loom in the distance.

All that paddling - I haven´t been on a kayak since a trip I made to Coron, Palawan three years ago - made me feel like I was actually doing this to flatten my belly. It´s exhausting but still a great way to explore and even Richard and Neil seem not to mind. Back at the lake shore, we were offered fresh fruits to regain back our energy - oh yes, I do need some!

The active side of Arenal volcano

Our day is not done yet. We were joined by two guys - an Israeli and one from the Dominican Republic - for the guided hike to see the active side of the Arenal Volcano. This time, rain did fall on us and we have to use our ponchos for about half an hour. It´s a two kilometer walk to this area that was covered with lava in 1992. Ever reliable, Arenal did put up a little show: we actually heard the rumblings and saw rocks tumbling down the summit. At dusk, glowing red rocks falling off its side were visible. That was quite unnerving really.

Tabacon Hot Springs

This having been a very long day and our bodies already weary, we were glad to get some good soaking at the Tabacon Hot Springs, a well-manicured resort with multi-level pools. It´s very relaxing, never mind if it gets crowded. This beats taking Benadryl at night to help me sleep. We´re leaving for Monteverde in the morning tomorrow so I do need a good rest.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:03:00 AM

    Hey Dens,
    Nice pictures. Next time uban na gyud ko.


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