Alrighty, this might be long for those of you who are not family...but this is what Eric sent his family (and then I forward to mine) about our trip. The pictures might be a little different and I will hopefully upload some videos... I decided to post our trip in three parts, according to our three places we went.
First stop: La Fortuna, Costa Rica (aka Arenal Volcano)
Our flight to San Jose was delayed a little bit for no apparent reason, but we still made it to the Green Turtle souvenir shop a half hour before our bus was scheduled to depart. Our bus turned out to be a little bit more than a mini van where we would spend the next three hours with one other passenger (a woman from California beginning her week long Yoga retreat) as we weaved our way from San Jose to La Fortuna, our home for the next three nights.
La Fortuna is the small town that sits in the shadow of Arenal Volcano. Its a small place which only extends a few blocks in each direction away from the lovely park in the center of town. There is really nothing to see there except for fair number of restaurants that obviously cater to tourist. Our hotel was about a mile down the road towards the Volcano.
On our first full day in La Fortuna, we hiked to the local waterfall and played in the water for a while. In the afternoon we enjoyed our first adventure (not counting the van ride) as we trekked through a canyon in the rain forest, repelling down the cliffs and waterfalls. (sorry the video is sideways, I couldn't figure out how to turn it the right way).
The next day, we checked out the active side of the volcano. You couldn't see the lava flowing during the day, but every minute or so a couple rocks would tumble down the side throwing up poofs of dust or smoke as they bounced down the volcano. We climbed around the old lava flow (1992) for a while and watched the rocks tumble down. At night you can see red/orange lava and the rocks that tumble down are red hot as well. We didn't learn this until the second day there and the next two nights were very cloudy so we chose not to take the rather expensive taxi ride to the active side of the volcano when it was unlikely that we would be able to see anything through the low clouds.
Here is a video of some crazy bugs we came across-they were moving across our path by crawling on top of each other (the one from the back just crawled on top to the front...)
Here is a picture of our "porch" at our hotel and then the view of the volcano from the hotel pool:
Alright, next stop: MonteVerde....