La Fortuna is one of the towns that seems almost unfaded by time. The people milling about their daily business have the faces that seem to say “I’ve seen it all.”
The days pass slowly, a strange thing to me, and I find myself waking up at ungodly hours and watching the sunrise, an even stranger thing to me.
We stayed at a lodge right outside town, which proved to be perfect. It was a short and cheap taxi ride into town and a short drive to our excursions and tours. We had two rooms and a back porch that was the pinnacle of our trip. It seemed like all of our down time was spent in rocking chairs staring at the volcano on the porch. With drinks, of course.
The town itself is rather small, a lot of small shops for tourists and sodas. Sodas were a new thing to me; they are what Costa Ricans call their small restaurants that usually offered 10-15 meals on their menu and were all usually open air and had phenomenal service. Meals were made on the spot, ready to order and it was all very fresh. Our favorite soda had to be Los Nene’s. The largest meal for the cheapest price, can’t beat it.
Our group stayed at the Volcano Lodge and Gardens which we found on LivingSocial and were extremely happy with all of our amenities. The tours were fantastic, the restaurant was expensive but had great food, the rooms were clean and spacious and the staff went out of their way to make sure you had everything you needed. We ended up spending $60 each for four nights ($360 total) plus airfare and optional excursions.
I have to say, above and beyond, my personal favorite part was the tours we went on. They were all really well organized but had very small groups so it didn’t seem like we were being cattle herded to our next destination.
We chose to go on the ATV’s around the volcano our first day. Best decision ever. It was a 2 hour trip that had a guide who would help if anyone got stuck (only two girls did) or if we got lost (3 of us did) and would point out craters and interesting wildlife. But he was very laid back and kind of let us go as fast as we wanted, didn’t restrict us and took as many pictures of our group as we asked. Although we were covered in dirt from head to toe, we were all smiles.
The second full day we were there offered us a glimpse into the jungle and gave us all a little thrill. We went ziplining through the canopy and got to go on the Tarzan Swing. This day was my birthday and I have to say, it was one of the better birthdays I’ve had. The canopy tour was fantastic, we went through Athica Canopy and our guides liked to play jokes but it was all in good fun. They took pictures of each person on almost all of the cables and took videos while we were on the Tarzan Swing. I highly recommend this company.
We also went to the Baldi Hot Springs after ziplining and it was an interesting experience. The thermal springs that are heated by the magma from the volcano can reach up to 115 degrees farenheit but after a long day, it feels like the world’s largest hot tub. There are a couple swim up bars and over 20 pools that vary in temperature. There’s also a water slide that is a little sketchy but definitely adds an extra element of thrill -I don’t think I’ve ever gone that fast down a slide.
The last full day was white water rafting for part of the group and spa day for the other part. I went white water rafting and had a fantastic time. Word to the wise, don’t fall out. It was a 3 hour trip and included a beautiful lunch complete with shots.
The girls that stayed behind said the massages at the Lodge were wonderful. Side note; the second spa service is half off so if two people in your group want to get massages, have one person book them on separate days and get half off. An easy way to save some money.
All in all, my first endeavor to Costa Rica was a memorable one. I surprised myself at the amount of things we were able to pack in every day and how little we wanted to just sit around by the pool. We all had different ways to describe the trip as a whole like; breathtaking, amazing, tranquil and fun. But we could all agree that Costa Rica lived up to it’s name.
This was definitely one of my “adventure vacations” but I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. Well, maybe the hurt knee…but as they say, bygones.