They Don’t Call It a Rain Forest for Nothing

Even though it is currently at the end of the rainy season in Costa Rica, it has been pouring almost relentlessly since we got to Fortuna. The clouds around the volcano have been so heavy that it has been difficult to figure out where the volcano actually is, much less check out the mouth and see any lava or steam. Regardless, we’ve been having a great time.

Katherine waiting for the tour to get going again

Yesterday was a big day, starting with a boat tour down the Rio Frio from Canas Negro and ending up at border with Nicaragua. We saw dozens of varieties of birds, including Amazonian kingfishers, wood storks, and several types of white herons. There were lotsof other creatures without wings about, too, including many turtles, a few Jesus lizards, and little crocs. Monkeys where in several of the trees, including an albino howler monkey, apparently pretty rare. We also saw some gigantic iguanas hanging out in some trees below a bridge, with the males bright orange as they get ready for the mating season. (They return to their standard green-brown afterward.) It rained most of the trip, but the sky let up on us when it mattered most, like when we disembarked for a picnic lunch.

Some big, male iguanas hanging out

In the afternoon, we hiked up the side of Volcan Arenal to the site of the 1992 eruption, which destroyed a side of the volcano and left a massive lava rock (well, boulder) field in its wake. This was the first place where I heard avalanche refering to something other than snow. The 1968 eruption destroyed a town nearby, and the government used the lava rocks from that eruption to build a dam to create Lake Arenal, which provides the entire region (including parts of Panama and Nicaragua) with electricity. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons!

truk and kath at Lake Arenal

We ended the day at a hot springs resort called Baldi, where the water is heated by the volcano, which apparently could blow again at any time. (The last eruption was in 2003.) While we didn’t get to see the volcano’s top, we definitely heard it rumble while we were at the bath. It sounded like very ominous thunder. Baldi was great, with definitely the hottest water that we’ve ever seen at a hot springs resort. Some of the baths were close to 160 degrees…

Baldi has hotter water than that around this cayman

Today, we are heading to Monteverde, which is across Lake Arenal and on the other side of the volcano. To get there, we have to take a jeep, then a boat across the lake, and then another jeep into town. We were going to take horses from the lake into Santa Elana (near Monteverde), but we are going to save our horseback riding for the cloud forests in the area. Also, with all of the rain lately, the route would have been treacherous.

More photos of this portion of the Costa Rica trip can be seen here

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