The drive from the airport to our bungalow at the Arenal Oasis B&B in LaFortuna was about 4 hours. We made a pit stop to have food at a local restaurant. They are called Sodas = Daabha/Tati Vilaas. We had a Casado each – Casado = Meals/Thaali. Their popular sweet dish is banana fried in honey. Tasted exactly like Kerala Pazham Pori.
The cabin was a tract of rain forest connecting the local water reserve to nearby wilderness and forms a corridor for birds and insects migrating from one to the other. That evening we did a jungle walk with a guide – a walk through the forest with just torch lights! The guide was a very knowledgeable young Tico (Costa Rican native) boy called Gerald. We saw some local frogs, insects, snakes, crabs, millipedes (mommy’s favorite) including some South/Central American arrow poison frogs. It was surprising to know that Prakash knew so many insects. Apparently he loved playing with insects in India when he was growing up – So cute! You should have seen the way those two bonded over Lion ants (whatever that is!).
For dinner we found this really cool local soda called Viquez. We ate at least one meal a day there for the next three days!
We had breakfast at the Arenal Oasis restaurant. Their traditional breakfast is called gallo pinto – rice and black beans with scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, delicious Costa Rican coffee and fruit juice. Prakash had my share of eggs doused in salt, pepper and hot sauce 🙂
We went to the Catarata de La Fortuna (the La Fortuna waterfall) which was a 15 minute drive from Arenal Oasis. We had to climb 480 steps to get back to the parking lot!
Following that we hiked Cerro Chato. This is an extinct volcano with a lake in the crater now. The hike up was about 2.5 hours. We spent some time at the lake and got back. The trail through the rain forest now growing on the slopes was steep and muddy. It was raining heavily and that made it more awesome. We expected it to be easier (since we’re from Colorado and all that) but we were wrong!
They have lots of tropical fruits out there. We had plenty of papaya and mangoes. We had dinner at Soda Viquez and called it a day!
We woke up early the next morning for a Bird Watch tour with Gerald again. He was so excited to see us again, calling us his amigos (meaning friends). This was done in the rain forest around the Arenal Oasis with some telescopes and binoculars. We spotted tons of birds – Toucan, Roadside Falcon, Humming birds, Parrots, etc. On the way back from the bird watch Gerald bought us some fresh coconut water because we were “good people”.
After a nice nap, that afternoon we went to Baldi Hot springs. It is a natural spring resort and we relaxed in the various pools. One of the pools had a giant waterfall which seemed to soothe our aching muscles from the Cerro Chato hike. Instead we found out afterwards that we’d been beaten black and blue. We then rode a couple water slides and screamed like babies.
We stopped for some street food (chicken / pork kababs) in town on the way to Soda Viquez. (Yes! We ate a lot)
We checked out from the cabin in the morning. On the way to our next hotel we checked out another tourist spot, the hanging bridges. This was a 2 mile walk on a trail through thick rain forest. It had 16 bridges, some over 80 meters long. We spotted howler monkeys, birds, Coatis and were comically chased by a giant wild bumble bee which was determined to drink nectar from Prakash’s ear! (I rescued him).
We drove to our next destination Playa Conchal (Beach Conchal) on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. We stayed at a fancy beach resort – The Westin. It was a wedding gift from Prakash’s friend Nirmal. We had a private beach, we could eat at any restaurant for free, we had a concierge. It was very hi fi!
We had 4-course dinner at a French restaurant and called it a night ! I waived my veganism for this and the following day :).
We decided to check out the beach. This is where I had almost melted due to humidity. Turns out I cannot handle heat anymore. We got an hour long massage by the beach (which was violently interrupted by hordes of mosquitoes). We then relaxed in our private swimming pool / Jacuzzi and ate a 3-course dinner at the South American Restaurant – “Las Candelas”.
Early the next morning we were up at 5AM for the drive to the airport. Our private Concierge had a boxed breakfast delivered to our room. All in all it was a beautiful surprise. We thoroughly enjoyed the trip and had uber fun together!