Eco-Expedition Costa Rica 2000
Jun 8-19, 2000
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Arenal Volcano and Tabacón

Today the rental car agency picked us up at 7:30am at the Gran Hotel de Costa Rica. The idea was to get out of San José as early as possible without having to pay an extra day for the car. It took about an hour to get to the agency and fill in all the paper work before we got the car. Based on what we have read about Costa Rica's roads we rented the smallest 4x4 car. (I don't know if a 4x4 was really necessary, but it did help a lot when driving to Santa Elena and Monteverde). Then, after a good breakfast at the nearest Soda, we got on our way to the Arenal Volcano.

Very close to La Fortuna there is a desviation to La Cascada del Rio Fortuna (Fortuna River Waterfall). You can park and ride a horse, or just drive to the entrance. Then there is a short hike to the waterfall. It was a bit crowded, although if I had been 18 years old, I wouldn't had complained. We got to swim for a while but not much since the the water is quite cold! Although from this side you can't see the lava, the view of Arenal Volcano si quite impresive. We got to enjoy it while we stop for lunch at another soda in La Fortuna. From here it was a short drive to Tabacón, Hot springs Resort and Spa, where we spent the rest of the afternoon.

The road from San José to Arenal is OK. The drive was smooth enough and the view was very nice. Here we started to get acquinted to some of the Costa Rica's road signs. As an example, we were quite amused by the sign: "Multa por conducir a velocidad temeraria" which can be roughly translated to: "Fine for driving at daring speed". I guess in Costa Rica's roads "daring speed" is not very fast. anyway, wedidn't try to find out the definition for it.  

Tabacón, Hot springs Resort and Spa is hot spring complex. There are several cascades and pools with different temperatures, surrounded by beautiful gardens, and a great view of the volcano. A very nice place in deed. Entrance is $16 dollars, but if you stay at Tabacón Hotel or the Volcano Lodge Hotel the cover is already included. So we stayed at the Volcano Lodge, which for Costa Rica is on the expensive side. But considering that we paid $65 for a double room, plus breakfast and the entrance fee for two days, it was actually a good deal.

During the day, the ambiance is relaxed, and we devote ourselves to relax, watch the Arenal Volcano erupt, and enjoy the volcanic heated natural Jacuzzi. At dusk, when the clouds covered the volcano depriving us from the view of the glowing lava, the atmosphere evolved to full party mode. In these surroundings, it was completely impossible not to meet very interesting and beautiful women. So we after the Spa closed, we went dancing to the Volcano Look Discotheque. Here I was remembering all my friends back at College Station, who still miss the Latin-night Wednesday nights. They really missed out!