29 November 2010

la fortuna

A few weeks ago, some friends and I went to La Fortuna to celebrate my birthday. The trip started off on a high note, as our cab driver made our ride down to the bus station pretty awesome by blasting good jams such as "Gangsta's Paradise" and "Give Peace a Chance" the entire way (is it just me, or do those songs seem to have inconsistent messages?) He even had Lennon-esque sunglasses to wear while listening to GPaC!

After a three-hour bus ride, we arrived at La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano (one of the most active volcanoes in the world). One of the main attractions is the hot springs where water is heated by geothermal energy in connection with the volcano. There are dozens of resorts that you can visit to enjoy the hot springs; we chose to check out Baldi Hot Springs, as it's one of the less expensive options (only $25 for a whole day pass with dinner included). There are 28 or so hot springs ranging in temperature from 92 degrees to 105 degrees, waterfalls, and four swim-up bars. Totally amazing and relaxing...I highly recommend it.

During the night, a really funny thing happened at the hostel. EA and I were in a dorm room with a bunch of other travelers while the guys camped outside. Around 3 o'clock in the morning, the dude on the bunk above mine rolled off the bed in his sleep and crashed onto the floor! The funny part was, he didn't quite remember it the next day and asked us if he had fallen off. (It was funny only because he didn't seem hurt at all...unfortunately, he landed on my alarm clock and that definitely was hurt!)

The next day, we went in search of a rope swing that RB's brother had enjoyed while visiting Costa Rica earlier this year. While we were walking, it started pouring, and we found shelter under a bridge for a while.

As it turned out, the rope swing was really close by (the bridge you see in the background is the one we hid under.) Look at that gushing water! Would you jump into it? EA and I wouldn't, but RB and GH were all about it.

GH and RB channeling their inner-Michael Phelps.

By the time we left the rope swing, the trail had turned into a mini-waterfall.

After the rope swing, we went to a public hot springs river and chillaxed there for a few hours. That night, we had some delicious dinner and cocktails at Cafe Rufino. Look at EA's coconut chicken, which was served in a hollowed-out pineapple! This was probably one of the top 10 best meals of my life. During dinner, EA gave me my birthday present: a 1.9-pound bag of Swedish Fish! Awesome!!! I love Swedish Fish, but have not been able to find them here. She had some friends who were visiting from Colorado bring the Fish. So thoughtful! Obviously, I'm rationing them to make them last until I visit the United States in a few weeks.

On our last day there, we went to La Fortuna Waterfall Reserve. It had a nice Lost-esque vibe going on.

We took about 1,000 steps down to the base of the waterfall.

I have never seen such blue water at the bottom of a waterfall.

La Fortuna is probably my favorite place in Costa Rica so far. I'm definitely planning to return!

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