Sunday, July 29, 2007
View of Arenal Volcano from our hotel room
We weren't aware that the springs and the resort were two different places, a simple mistake considering that I asked the parking lot attendent if we were at the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort, and he said yes, without pointing out that the hotel was actually about a mile further along the road. Due to the confusion, it took us a while to connect with our friends, but we eventually got tired of waiting, and started the drive to La Fortuna, when we came upon the other part of the resort.
We went for a swim in the hot springs, which the kids loved. It's quite well done; there are a number of different sized pools, some with waterfalls, and the water was quite warm. The largest pool in the front had a water slide, and Kevin and Catie spent most of their time in this pool, which was convenient as it was located next to the swim up bar. I tried taking picutures in the springs, but it was so steamy that none of them came out very well.We then decided to take a drive to the Arenal Observatory to have a closer look at the volcano. We drove up a narrow dirt road, across a rather sketchy looking bridge, and into the woods, up the mountain. It was about 8 pm and quite dark, and as we didn't really know where we were going the ride was scarier than it would have been in the daylight. We forded one stream, and when we came to another, we decided to it was too risky and decided to turn around. Antoniella thought she saw a light in the distance, so we got out of the car to investigate. Good thing we did, because we were about 100 yards from the guard's shack that in front of the driveway to the observatory. Back in the car, up another 2 km to the top, and as we got out of the car, Arenal put on a show. I had never seen the volcano up close before, and I couldn't believe the amount of lava flowing down the sides. By the time I got my camera out, it had slowed down, so in my picture you can only see some of the lava. It's disconcerting to stand under a live volcano, so we didn't stay too long, and left to have dinner in town. Lenny and Antoniella had arranged for Stefano and Marie to have a privately catered dinner in a rainforest setting to celebrate their 31st wedding anniversary.