As part of my recent trip in October to Costa Rica, I spent 2 days visiting La Fortuna de San Carlos and the Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal. As the name of the park suggests the area is renowned for the volcano that dominates the landscape. This combined with the geothermal activity, which boasts hot springs for visitors to enjoy, the beautiful scenery and large variety of outdoor activities have helped make this a popular place to visit during any trip to Costa Rica.
I stayed at the Lost Iguana Hotel which is about a 15 minute drive from the centre of La Fortuna. All of the rooms have a balcony or terrace and on a clear day you are rewarded with stunning views of the volcano. The hotel also has a restaurant, swimming pool and spa and is surrounded by mature gardens and secondary rainforest.
After an early breakfast, I visited the Arenal Hanging Bridges which are very close to the hotel. The owners of this private 250 hectare rainforest have created a walking trail and a series of suspension bridges that allow visitors to walk through and look down on the primary and secondary rainforest below. Within the forest there is an abundance of wildlife and endemic plants. The circular tour is 1.9 miles long and is a great way to pass a few hours.
Next on my list of activities for the day was a canopy zip-line tour. This exhilarating experience is not for the faint hearted as it involves travelling at high speeds whilst connected to a cable suspended over deep ravines. The highest cable is 1550 ft up and the longest cable is 1440 ft long. After arriving at the Sky Trek base station I was taken by cable car to the highest point in the park. A safety briefing followed and it was then time for action. The first 2 sections of the circuit were short and are designed to help gain a bit of confidence. After the 3rd section you have reached the point of no return and you then have to complete the 8 line circuit. However, by then I was completely hooked and wanted to keep going all afternoon! Unfortunately, before long I was back at the base station wondering if I should go around again.
The final activity of the day was to spend the evening at the Eco Termales Hot Springs. These family owned springs are the smallest in the Arenal area with the number of guests limited to 100 people. The focus is very much on quality and relaxation in contrast to the more commercial sites nearby. There is a choice of four pools in which to sit in, all of which vary in temperature, with the coolest being 91º F and the hottest being 105º F. The effect on your body is like having an all over massage and this was complemented by subsequently eating a hearty traditional home cooked costa rican meal.
Needless to say, I slept very well that night after a really enjoyable day in this beautiful region of Costa Rica.