Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Costa Rica 28

We arrived in downtown La Fortuna and disembarked. Once again, L beat us off the bus and had our backpacks safely waiting on the sidewalk. He is definitely worth all the money we don’t pay him! There was no bus station here, we just got let off at the town plaza. We took a quick glance off to our right at the volcano which overshadows the town. Alas, being rainy season, the peak was covered in clouds and we could not see the top of it. Maybe later.

Off we headed to our hotel. We had pre-reserved a room and, since this hotel directly faces the volcano, we were looking forward to our room with a view. We checked in and the desk girl showed us to our room. Except that it was on the ground floor and in the back of the hotel! We were pissed. L launched into some kind of speech in Spanish and in short order we were taken upstairs to the third floor with a room with a balcony that faced the volcano. Hotels are always trying to do that. Put you in their crappiest room, even though you have paid for a good one. I guess it doesn’t hurt to try to fill these junk rooms. Maybe the next people won’t complain. Had it been just B and I, I am sure we would have bitched and moaned to each other but never would have insisted on a good room . Squeaky wheel.

Although we had some adventure tours planned for this area, the highlight was the volcano. There is no jungle here so we had a respite from that. Volcano Arenal is Costa Rica’s most active volcano. Climbing it is not allowed as people have been killed by explosions on it. The inactive side faces the town. The side where all the lava is is on the other side. This volcano erupts in some form or the other every 47 seconds! It towers over the city and the neighboring lake at 5437 feet!

We stowed our stuff safely in the room and then headed out to have a look at the town. L has been here many, many times before, leading various groups of people on tour. Nothing really new for him to see but we were glad he brought us to see it. Town itself is not much to write about. Basically one main street full of restaurants and tourist shops. A few blocks of streets parallel and bisecting this with more shops, hotels and restaurants. A nice central park that was very well laid out (and where the bus stops) and an interesting church dominating the skyline, with the volcano silhouetted against it. A weird thing about the park was that there were wild horses grazing in it….right downtown!

L took us to the tour agency he always uses in this town and we perused the many pamphlets of the various tours they operated. There were so many to choose from, but most were quickly eliminated as too strenuous, too dangerous and too costly for us. We finally settled on a nice, leisurely river float. I think L would have preferred to go white water rafting again, but he dutifully bought his ticket with us. Oh, the concessions he makes for leading a couple of old farts around the globe!

Plans all made, we visited a local liquor store and restocked our supply of Flor de Cana rum. This is a rum distilled in Costa Rica and if you haven’t tried it, you should. It comes in various numbers, depending upon the number of years it has aged. For the money, I think the 5 is a good deal. Of course, 12 is the best but that is more like sipping brandy than drinking rum. So back to our balcony, bag of ice opened, drinks mixed and we watched another beautiful sunset. Dinner was at a local “bar” type thing that had an outdoor counter all around. Stomachs once again full of Costa Rican cuisine, it was time for bed.

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