The pick up for my first guided tour in La Fortuna was at 7:20 and I was the first on the bus. Next up was Judith, the girl I had met on the bus the day before, and then a Brazilian couple from São Paulo called Isabella and Felipe. The four of us would spend the day together with Jason Torres, our guide from Desafio. We started our Arenal combo tour by going to Mistico, the Hanging Bridges Park. As always, the Arenal was not far. Rather it has been put in focus.
Once in the park though, you almost never saw the volcano. Only some glimpses while on the higher bridges. But there was so much else to do and see. Turns out, visiting a park with a guide is amazing. So many people on their own waited around our little group to pick up some knowledge from Jason. He really was a fountain of wisdom when it came to the flora and fauna of the Arenal area. We saw so many animals and Jason even brought a telescope so that we could see some of them from close up. So nice! I loved the hanging bridges, for which the park is names, as well. There were six of them in the park and the last bridge we had all to ourselves.
We left Mistico Hanging Bridges Park and drove to the place where you can get the closest to the volcano Arenal, which is on the other side from the one you see from La Fortuna. Here the top is already behind clouds, as is mostly the case.
But we were lucky in the morning and saw the Arenal in all its glory, and you can really see the smoke coming out on top.
Since the Arenal is still active, no climbing whatsoever is allowed. You can see smoke coming out of the crater on top. When we stood below in the parking lot we got a lecture about the volcano. There was a big eruption in the 15th century and it formed the lower hills on which we would walk up to get closer to the volcano. There was another big eruption in 1968 and lava was coming from three other chambers on the side of the Arenal and buried two villages. More than a hundred people died.
The three chambers on the side were called A, B, C, and D was on top. Eventually the chamber C covered A and B and formed a different top. What you see today on the Arenal are two craters next to each other. D, the lower one and now inactive, and C, the higher one, which formed this second peak. Quite interesting, especially since where we were standing at the time you couldn’t see that. But from La Fortuna it’s clearly visible.
The hike up was not long and not far. Actually you can’t really get close to the volcano. So on its own it was not such a great activity. But I really enjoyed that lesson about the Arenal. Honestly, I wouldn’t have noticed that there were two craters on top.
Lunch was included with day tour and it was actually quite a delicious meal at the Desafio owned restaurant. They must really make a lot of tours that a company owned restaurant makes sense. The last part of the combo tour took us to the waterfall of La Fortuna. It’s not so far from town, you can probably do that on your own with a bike. The most problematic part of the waterfall are the 500 steps leading down to it. It’s easy to go down, but the way up is terrible. The water itself is cool and for sure refreshing. But you need it more after you arrive again back on top. Unfortunately that’s not how it works. It’s beautiful to look at though. Such raw power! Yours, Pollybert