16 April 2013

La Fortuna: Hot Stuff

Today we travelled from San José to the town of La Fortuna, some 100 miles northwest of the capital. We took the bus and because the main road winds it way through the mountains, the journey takes 4 1/2 hours. At one point, the fog or cloud was so thick that we couldn't see the treacherous drop beyond the edge of the narrow road.

La Fortuna itself is much closer to sea level, so when we arrived at our hotel, it was hot, humid and intermittently sunny. As the town itself is little more than a strip of touristy shops, bars and restaurants, most of its visitors use it as a base for exploring the Volcàn Arenal, which looms dark and ominous from many miles away, and its accompanying hot springs. Our hotel is out of town and a lot more peaceful and the little wooden chalet that forms our room is the closest to the volcano and has an unobscured view of Arenal from our window seat.

As the view of the summit was unusually clear, we took the opportunity to take some leaping photos. As we were using a self-timer, it took a few attempts to get us both off the ground.

After shelling out for a comprehensive but expensive tour for tomorrow, we opted for a cheap dinner at Soda Viquez, for some casado con pollo (an assortment of chicken, rice, beans, salad and other carbs), washed down with a coconut batido (puréed coconut with water). The town itself was pretty dead, with a few groups of American students keeping the bars from being completely deserted. It felt a lot like some of the American towns Bill Bryson described in The Lost Continent, and I'm glad we are staying out of town.

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