17 April 2013

La Fortuna: She's a Waterfall

In La Fortuna and the Arenal national park, there are a whole load of activities on offer. As we will be doing a canopy tour in our next location, we decided to do a four-in-one combination tour, which offered a floating safari, a tour of the Catarata de La Fortuna, a hike around the Volcán Arenal and a visit to one of the many hot springs in the area.

First up, was the floating safari: a two-hour journey on an inflatable boat down the Rio Peñas Blancas. The hot, dry weather and the noise generated by two boats of tourists meant we weren't going to see any of the shyer animals, but we did get to see (and hear) numerous howler monkeys, as well as various birds and lizards. I'll probably do a separate post with some of my wildlife snaps when I'm back at home on my Mac.

We were then taken to the Catarata de La Fortuna, a beautiful 70-metre waterfall that cascades into a clear turquoise pool. It's a steep downhill climb to the pool, but with great views along the way. I'm a wuss when it comes to cold water, but I slid into the refreshing pool happily, given the heat and the humidity. I splashed around for a while, before it was time to hike back to the top. Included in our tour was lunch at Don Rufino, my guidebook's top dining choice for La Fortuna. We were eating from a set menu, but the food was tasty and well presented.

In the afternoon, we were whisked over to the Arenal national park for a 90-minute hike along the lava trail left by the volcano's 1968 eruption. It was a relatively gentle walk, and brought us very close to the volcano, although the skies had clouded over somewhat by this point. Our guides also managed to spot a mama sloth in a tree by the roadside, so I managed to take a few photos, although she had turned her face away from the camera.

The final activity of the day was a visit to the Tabacón Hot Springs. There are several different resorts on the road between La Fortuna and the national park. Tabacón had numerous freeform pools, accessorised with waterfalls and tropical plants, as well as a swim-up bar and water slide. We chilled out in the hot water for a while, before showering off and tucking into the Italian buffet dinner.

There are a couple of different companies offering the combination tour in La Fortuna, Sunset Tours and Aventuras Arenal. We went with the latter because they were slightly cheaper but $227 is a lot to drop on a day's activities. If you're interested in doing two or three or the activities, it definitely works out cheaper to do the combo tour, especially once you've factored in the taxi fares going it alone would require.

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