Mini Adventures- Arenal
Finally saying goodbye to our magical waterfalls and vacation spot for the week, and saying ‘see ya later’ to the Tranquilos after traveling with them for over a month, we pointed Truck towards Lake Arenal. We had mixed feelings about traveling by ourselves again. We had feelings of excitement and feelings of void. It always fun to share your experiences with others but sometimes you need to move at your own pace and do your own thing. We kind of forgot how it felt to be on the road just the three of us. It’s wonderful!
Knowing that the Arenal area was known for its hot springs, I was convinced to get my soak on. However, it is a big price to pay to gain access to the commercialized hot springs- about $85 for a one day pass!!! Don’t get me wrong, Tabacon and the other popular resorts look beautiful. But built-up, touristy resorts are not our thing, and neither was the price tag that came with them. So we did some snooping around and located some free, natural hot springs where the locals hang out.
We found a place to park the truck, grabbed our bathing suits, and headed towards the steamy flow of water. Since we parked on the side of the road, there was no place to change into our suits. We figured we could just tuck off to the side of the trail at the top of the stairs and quickly swap out of our clothes without being spotted. Nate was successful. I, on the other hand, was not. A poor, innocent Tico man casually walked around the corner at the bottom of the steps as I had my chonies dropped around my ankles. I quickly fumbled around for something I could to cover myself up with. Nate giggled and gave the man an apologetic “Lo siento” and made mention that that was probably the first white bottom he has ever seen. :/
We continued through the old tunnel towards a spot that looked perfect to relax in. It was more like a hot, free flowing river and it was wonderful! The last time we felt warm water was in Guatemala at our cabana and that was over two months ago! I immediately found a little makeshift pool and made myself comfortable. Because we had the whole place to ourselves, it seemed too good to be true. We hopped around from spot to spot, enjoying the flowing warm water as it cascaded down the volcano. It was such an adventure finding our own way to the hot springs, and we were happily rewarded!
That night, we found a free camping spot right on the lake. You could see the volcano from our spot until the clouds rolled in and it started raining. Brady frolicked around, splashing in the puddles while we pulled out the awning to make some dinner. As we ate our dinner, we sat in our chairs watching and listening to the rain. It’s amazing how soothing something as simple as rain can be, especially when you haven’t experienced it in over two months!
The next day we did not have too far of a drive. Our GPS said that there was a thirteen mile dirt road to get to the Monteverde cloud forest- no sweat! We packed up the truck and were lead out of our camp by our new howling friend, The Beagle.
We made it about halfway when the road turned into what looked like an oxcart trail with a fence blocking it off. Determined not to have to drive all the way back around the lake, we made a u-turn and headed towards another road we spotted on the GPS. However, this one lead to a river that was pretty deep and in full flowing force. Nate usually never turns down a river crossing. He hopped out of the truck, hiked his shorts up and started walking through it, convincing himself that Truck could make it. It was when the water became waist deep and there was a steep drop off ahead that he decided to abort mission. Finally giving into the fact that we would have to drive the extra two hours around the lake, we made another u-turn and started trekking back the way we came.
**For all of you who are making fun of us right now, this is not the waist deep river crossing ^ . 🙂
I’ve always believed everything happens for a reason and we now know that the reason those two roads did not work out for us was because there was a local brewery waiting for us to come have lunch and a few beers with them! And good beer too! They had homebrewed pale ales, red ales, browns- the real deal! Our moods instantly went from defeated to triumphant when we saw their sign.
The road that lead to Monteverde offered mind blowing views of Costa Rica’s countryside. Driving along, it felt like we were in Switzerland, with the rolling hills, the beautifully maintained farms and the expansive view of the mountains in the background. We couldn’t get ourselves to stop pulling over to take more photos of the picturesque view.
We were reminded of how beautiful the world is. Sometimes, especially when traveling to all new places all the time, it becomes too easy to look past your surroundings and focus on where you are trying to get to. You almost forget how truly beautiful the simple things around you are. We feel extremely lucky to be able to create our own mini adventures each day, and make the most that we can of them. We took our time driving through this stretch of road. We played no music over the radio and no words were exchanged. We were really soaking it all in. It was truly magnificent!