On our second day in Costa Rica, we headed to the La Fortuna District to visit the famous Volcán Arenal. La Fortuna is 50km west of Liberia. Don’t be fooled with the seemingly short distance, the roads in Costa Rica are windy and not as well established therefore the speed limits were much slower than what we were used to. I have always wanted to see an active flowing volcano and could not wait until we got to Volcán Arenal!
We had lunch at Cafe & Macadamia near Lake Arenal. It’s a great restaurant to pull over and stretch out your legs from the drive. The restaurant served lots of typical western food such as pizza, sandwiches and salads. Although a little pricier than other local restaurants, the place was a neat find since the food was freshly made and fruits were perfectly ripe.
Yummy salad I had for lunch.
After lunch, the roads got more confusing as we split off from Hwy 1 on to 164, at one point, we had to stop and ask verify the direction we were headed to when we didn’t see a road sign for 30 minutes. We finally arrived at La Fortuna District late afternoon. Since we did not make any advanced reservations, we consulted our Lonely Planet book and decided to stay at the Hostel Backpackers La Fortuna on the edge of the town.
Once we settled down in our room, we started inquiring about visiting the volcano. The front desk attendant informed us in the most nonchalant voice that the volcano has stopped erupting three months ago on October 2010. WHAT? I was shocked… The volcano has been actively erupting for so long, it never occurred to us to keep tabs on the volcanic activity prior to arrival. Despite of the let down, we decided to make the most of our trip to La Fortuna with fun outdoor activities.
We started the next day with a ten course zip line!
At 980 meters, this was the longest zipline course we’ve been on. The tour guides make it very clear you need all the speed you can gain to make it all the way across this zip line. If you stop before the end of the line, you are on your own dragging yourself along the line. Thankfully, all of us made it across safely without exerting too much upper body strength 🙂
We spent the afternoon on a four wheeler touring the countryside around the volcano.
Overall, our thoughts on La Fortuna was positive. It’s a great town with tons of outdoor activities for tourists, however, I don’t think we would have stopped by this area if we knew the volcano had stopped erupting. Lesson learned, while last minute trip planning can be spontaneous, mother nature does not wait, therefore, a little forehand research would have been helpful in our case.