Thursday, February 19, 2015
I Know...Classic Winter Stuff...But Really Costa Rica
I know that it's February, and here in the Northeast we're jumping out of third story windows in our bikinis to land in giant piles of snow, because we've gone round the bend, but I have to say that there really isn't a better place to shake off the coldsies than in Costa Rica. I also have to say that there is not better place to visit in Costa Rica for us beach hating non swimsuit wearing people than the Lake Arenal Area. Lake Arenal, the volcano that shares the name and a whole bunch of cool things lurk up in the Northern part of the country somewhere between the central highlands and the northern lowlands. Lake Arenal is home to many resorts and spas, and has all kinds of activities and tours to keep anyone busy. You can go fishing for the area's famous rainbow trout, play on all kinds of water toys, or just rent a boat and enjoy the water and warm weather.
Arenal Volcano will be your neighbor. It's one of the 20 most active volcanoes in the world. You can book a tour to go hiking on it, and be closer than you can to most volcanoes. You will most likely get a picture of it with some smoke coming out while you're there. It's pretty common. You can also book a flightseeing tour to fly over it and get some cool pictures of the caldera at the top. For those of us who don't go bungee jumping and skydiving, this might just be the most adventurous place we ever land.
La Fortuna is the local village here that the tourists visit. They have several resorts, hotels, restaurants, and shops for the traveler, and they have a great view of the volcano. The last time that the volcano had a major eruption was back in the 1980's, and it somehow missed the town. Good to know if you are a superstitious traveler.
The resorts in La Fortuna are wonderful. They have all the amenities that you might be looking for. There are plenty of tours companies that will take you out to do everything from taking photos to repelling down waterfalls. There are caves, canopy walks, white water rafting and all kinds of trips to take.
There are many ways to get close to nature in the area including zip lining. One of the things about the area are the cloud forests, and there's a lot of great ways to experience them. The Sky Tram will take you up. From there you can go back down or walk on the canopy walk or take the zip line. It's all a lot of fun, and they all provide a great view and great experience. Depending on your level of I want to do something crazy, you'll choose the way you want to see it. I like them all.
Cloud forests and mountains normally mean waterfalls, and this area is no exception. La Fortuna has their own waterfalls and the La Fortuan Waterfall is the favorite. It's about 200 feet high, give or take, and it's gorgeous. It does require a little travel through the forest, either on foot or on horseback; depending on you personal preference. If you wish to go to the bottom, there are stairs that you will have to climb back up. You can view it from the platform if you wish.
Now, you've heard how much there is to do, but what is the adventure for anyone? For my money, it's the hot springs. A volcano nearby creates them, and there are many resorts that have them. It's romantic, it's therapeutic, and this time of year it's warm. Whether it's Tabacon or one of the others, they are a relaxing place to spend your spare time. This is where you take a load off. This is where you soothe your aching joints and muscles. This is where you have a drink and remember the day's events fondly. This is where you rest and spend time with the ones you love. There is nothing like a natural hot spring to make you feel better, no matter why you want to feel better. They are great honeymoon spots as well.
So, volcanoes, zip lines, Sky Tram, waterfalls, huge caves, watersports, spas, and hot springs. It's a tough idea to top, especially in the dead of winter. So, I know we all missed out on Valentine's Day, but there's still plenty of time to get out of the snow before winter finally goes away.