Today, we went for luxury!
La Fortuna is one of the touristy spots of Costa Rica, so even if our hostel is pretty cheap (at least for now, while it’s low season), most activities here are way over are usual budget. But as we’re just at the base of a volcano, we did want to try one of the local thermal pools. There is just one problem : they are mostly inside luxury hotels, so pretty expensive.
But we discovered a neat trick. Some of those hotels also organize zip-line tours in the canopy near the volcano, which at the end include a free day pass to all their installation. So you can get the canopy tour and thermal baths for just a little more than the thermal baths only entrance fee.
So we started the day (by having a big breakfast) by an hour and a half zip lining through the jungle next to the Arenal volcano. It was really cool, some of the zip lines reach 500m long and on some you can get as fast as 60km/h !
As we were a small group we even got to do the Tarzan swing. And no, you don’t have to have been raised by monkeys to do it! You won’t get an explanation, but as we’re super nice, we (Alice) edited a short video for you guys 😉 .
At the end of the tour, we did get our bracelet granting us access to the hotel amenities. And it was quite a shock for us, we’re not used to such luxury, but we definitely made the most of it! So first we tested all the 15 thermal pools and 2 swimming pools, ranging from 25 to 38°C, along with the water-slides (up to 65m long!) and hydro-massages. It was really nice and exactly what we needed to relax after the canopy tour.
It was easy to spot the poor tourists that did the canopy tours partly to get free access to the thermal pools and the rich tourists that actually sleep here. Try to guess which ones have the big cool fluffy towels and which ones have the stinking travel towel? 😉
Well anyway, we were totally made as cheap tourists at lunch. As the luxury hotels with thermal pools are next to the volcano, they’re a bit far from town, so we couldn’t get back there to eat a casado (literally married man’s lunch, the standard rice-beans-chicken-juice). And the restaurants at the hotels were slightly (but just slightly 😉 ) over our budget. So we ate our bread, ham and liquid yogurt on a bench, near a couple turtles.
Because yes, not only has the hotel several thermal pools (and a spa, stables for the horses, etc.), it also has a lush garden full a tropical plants, like a jungle, but a very well organized one and some local animals. So we saw turtles, crocodiles (well, sadly they didn’t seem very happy to be in a cage…), butterflies (doesn’t beat Mindo, but still nice), and leaf-cutter ants (no surprise there, we saw them all over since the beginning of our trip!).
Now it’s general knowledge time! There are a lot of leaf cutter ants in Costa Rica, so much that it is estimated they cut between 12 to 17% of the leaf growth in the country annually. But they actually don’t eat the leaf, they use it for their own form of gardening. They bring it underground and use it as fertilizer to grow a special fungus they love to eat!
After this after-lunch stroll in the hotel’s gardens, we tried the thermals again before getting back into town in the late afternoon. In town we managed to book one of our next adventure : a horse ride to our next destination (but I won’t tell you where now 😉 ). We also found gnocchi and thyme, so tonight’s student-style cooking night!
That’s all for today. We hope the sky will clear up tomorrow morning, so we can post a few nice pictures of the volcano. It is the main attraction over here after all!
P.S : another small game for today (an easy one this time) : Can you spot the crocodile?