Costa Rica: On the Land of Volcanoes

This journey is the continuation of the “Two Weekends Dream Trip from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea” – the numbering of the days follows on logically from the end of that trip.

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8th day: Panama City, Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

In the morning at the airport you say farewell to your travelling companions as they return to their grey weekdays. However you don’t have much time for expressing regrets, because you are already getting aboard your plane to see the land of volcanos, Cost Rica, the most beautiful part of the biological corridor between North and South America. Your aeroplane lands at noon, and you are already at the foot of the Poas volcano, among the hills in the wonderful ”cloud-forest”, almost permanently shrouded in mist. After lunch your destination is the local organic coffee plantation. For several generations special knowledge about cultivation and preparation have been handed down from father to son. Coffee is a drink which this country is famous for. During your tour of the property, naturally you can taste the choicest quality coffee. Before returning to your hotel for dinner you can walk through the forest pathways and enjoy the view.

Accommodation: lodge at Poas volcano
Food provided: breakfast

 

 

9th day: Poas Volcano National Park, La Paz Waterfall Park, Sarchi, Grecia, Tenorio volcano

The Poas Volcano National Park is best visited in the early morning, because you should get there before it is wrapped in its usual cloud cover. Because of the short distance this should not be a problem.

If the weather is nice, then you’ll get a stunning sight, with the main volcano crater laid out before you in the surrounding wooded caldera formed by the collapse of part of the crater. Thanks to constant clouds and fog around the volcano, you can find flora unique to the area on a short trip to the woods at the Botos Crater Lake. Along the way, if you move quietly, you can observe birds and even some small mammals. Exquisitely coloured hummingbirds are frequent guests here. After the excursion you enter the garden of the nearby La Paz waterfalls. Here, the snake and frog terrarium and butterfly garden are dedicated to some of the most colourful residents of this remarkable ecosystem. The multi-step waterfall deep in the forest soothes your spirit, then in the local restaurant specialties from this area make up your lunch.

After all this you reach the town of Sarchi where most of the country’s handicraft products are made and then you take a short break in the town of Grecia visiting the famous sheet-metal church. You return to the mountains with a night’s hotel stay at the foot of the Tenorio Volcano.

Accommodation: lodge at Tenorio volcano
Food provided: breakfast

 

 

10th day: Poas Volcano National Park, Blue river, Blue waterfall, Lake Arenal, Arenal volcano

After an early breakfast you start on the road in the direction of the Tenorio National Park Blue river, whose water is coloured by volcanic material. Here you can be dazzled by the Blue lagoon and at the phenomenon where the water quickly changes hue from green to white, and then again to blue. You close your outing with hot springs and waters, where according to taste you can immerse yourself in the humid rain forest’s steaming thermal waters. During the walk, your expert guide shows you the most fantastic species of the living world, coloured birds, small mammals, and tropical flowers that are open all year round. With a little luck, you might also chance on the tracks of a predatory forest cat. Our afternoon target is the observatory with its forest hotel found at the foot of the fire-spewing Arenal mountain. On the route there will be wonderful glimpses of the hilltops of the region and the swollen Arenal lake, while you pass several mountain villages. Arriving close to the volcano, you can from your hotel hear the ”rumbling stomach” of the volcano, and in fortunate cases when it is cloudless it is possible after dark to see from a distance the glowing lava right at the top of Arenal.

Accommodation: lodge at Arenal volcano
Food provided: breakfast

 

 

11th day: Arenal volcano

On this day yet another adventure awaits you. At the foot of the fire-spewing mountain you start on a combined chair-lift and capstan travelling along a suspended wire-cable route. It lifts you above the canopy of the trees, until we arrive at a stopping place, a platform built into the crown of a mighty tree. The chair-lift carries you through the rainforest, where you see bass and cappuccino monkeys. From the suspended cable car you reach the look-out platform, from which you can again later glide down by wire hoist the several hundred yards to your starting place. Instead of this adrenalin bomb you can choose the warm waters of the basins of the Tabacon river, or perhaps relax in our hotel. In the second half of the day, you visit a private reservation found on the other side of the volcano, where you go to view the rain forest and the wonders of the living world on a raised walkway and a special hanging bridge system. In the special environment at these high altitudes there are remarkable plant and animal life. Your local guide shows you hidden mammals, birds, with any luck you might even see the rare Central American quetzal. This is a real paradise for bird spotters, because this place gives exceptional chances to see remarkable rarities and specialities of the bird world. If the weather is favourable, then naturally there are also the occasional volcanic eruptions which are best viewed in the last few hours of the evening.

Accommodation: lodge at Arenal volcano
Food provided: breakfast

 

 

12th day: Arenal volcano, La Fortuna waterfall, Selva Verde reservation, Cartago, San José

After breakfast you start out to visit the mighty Fortuna waterfall, which you reach with our bus and then through the steaming kettle of the rain forest by climbing a couple of hundred steps. If you are lucky you might see a toucan on the way. After this you stand for a short rest at a well-known point on the road, where Leguan lizards cover the trees. You can observe their bodies from close up and photograph them. While you enjoy a tasty lunch at the Selva Verde private reservation, wild river turtles and gorgeously coloured poison-arrow frogs splash around in the river. After a short siesta you visit the city of Cartago where, besides the famous cathedral, you can get to know the legend of the Black Madonna. You round off your day with getting to know the capital city and perhaps buying presents, then arrive at your hotel. An evening dinner and a Latin party complete your farewell to Central America.

Accommodation: lodge at Poas volcano
Food provided: breakfast

 

 

13th, 14th day: San José, Europe

Depending on aeroplane times you might need to take into account one or two changes of flight, but due to prevailing air streams you should find travel times on your way here shorter than on the way back.

Arenal volcano: Map of the combined chair-lift and canopy tour.
Arenal volcano: Map of the hanging bridges tour.

Entrance fees:

Poas National Park: 10 USD
La Paz Waterfall Garden: 35 USD
La Paz Waterfall Garden lunch: 12 USD
Tenorio volcano National Park: 10 USD
Arenal SkyTour, chair-lift and treetop tour: 66 USD
Arenal rope bridges: 22 USD
Baldi thermal waters with food: 25 USD
La Fortuna waterfall: 10 USD
Selva Verde with lunch: 15 USD

Photographs: ©Jan Csernoch