The Desi Nomads

Costa Rica: Day 1: San Jose to La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano

We started off with a fresh breakfast at our hotel in San Jose.  It wasn’t included in the price of the hotel though.

We had organized all the tours and pickups in Costa Rica through a company, Anywhere Costa Rica.  You can read my review of them here (P.S. They were amazing!).  A shared shuttle picked us up at a nearby hotel to take us to La Fortuna, a town 4 hours north of San Jose and the base for activities around the Volcano Arenal.  We took a short taxi ride to Hotel Quality and after waiting around 15 minutes, the Interbus arranged by Anywhere Costa Rica picked us up.

The shuttle ride was comfortable and in a van that seats around 10 people.  There was a short stop midway where you could buy some snacks, coffee, and use the restroom.  We reached La Fortuna around noon.

After a stop for lunch at Soda La Parada, which had pretty decent veggie options and was quite economical, we headed to the La Fortuna waterfall.  I had arranged for a private taxi and driver to take us around the different sights in La Fortuna and Arenal.

The entrance to the waterfall was around $10 a person.  They claim it is a 10 minute hike down, but it was more like 20 minutes and quite steep.  The beginning had paved steps but it kept getting progressively “rugged”.  A little ways in, we had the first glimpse of the waterfall…

The hike was also very green and through the forest.  After 20 minutes, we were near the base of the waterfall.  The photos don’t do it justice…it was huge and thundering!  The pool of the waterfall is green, and refreshing.  Many people were swimming in it, but it had strong currents and was chilly.  It was nice to relax on the rocks at the bottom though, with your feet in the water.  Definitely a sight to see.

Hiking back up…I was sore for the next 3 days!

Our next stop was the Arenal Volcano national park.  There was a 2 hour trail that goes by lava flows, with nice views of the mountain and into the forest.

 The first part of the trail is populated since most people go to the viewing area mid-way and turn back to retrace their steps.  But, we continued on into the forest.  The hike was relatively flat and easy.

After the hike, we were ready to head to Tabacon hot springs.  This is the most famous (and expensive) hot springs in La Fortuna.  I’ve not been to the other ones, so cannot compare.  This one was pretty nice and had several pools and private areas.  It was really huge, and it seemed easy to get lost (we kept going around in circles).  When it was dark, the pools were nice with lights and candles on.  The hot springs package also comes with a buffet dinner, but being vegetarian, I did not find it impressive.  We stayed the night at Hotel La Fortuna, which was neat and comfortable, so I would recommend it.

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