Costa Rica Day 2: Pura Vida

Today we woke up bright and early (6:15am!) for breakfast and departing San Jose for a more tropical environment. San Jose is your typical small Latin city: very populated, and with more American fast food chains than you probably expected. Within a mile radius there was Dennys, McDonalds, Burger King, Quiznos, KFC, Subway, Pizza Hut & Dunkin Donuts. It's amazing to me how American-ized this little country is, right down to the large Safeway-esque supermarkets and Wal-Mart chains everywhere.

After a breakfast of pineapple, frijoles, rice & huevos, sipping Costa Rican coffee and enjoying fresh papaya juice, we departed North for a natural wildlife park outside the city on the way to the Poas Volcano. During this nature walk we saw wild Whitetail deer (I grew up on Whitetail lane in the neighborhood Deer Park!), wild butterflies, sloths, turtles and an abundance of flora and fauna. Costa Rican wildlife is absolutely beautiful, and they have adapted to people living around them. (Currently there is a sloth living in the trees above our cabin!).

At the Poas Volcano, we trekked up a huge hill and finished our hike at the tip of the crater where the volcano is currently active. It's a fissure volcano, so instead of spewing ash or lava, steam rises from the center (a lovely sulfuric acid). It was really beautiful up there, even if it smelled like rotten eggs! After departing the Poas Volcano, we left for our final destination for the next two days: La Fortuna. We are staying at an amazing hotel/lodge park that is quintessentially Costa Rican... tile floors, large balconies, and a view of the Arenal volcano right from our bedroom. It's absolutely beautiful here. I'm not quite used to the way their time system works-- no daylight savings, just up when the sun rises (5am), and down when the sun sets (6pm).

Costa Rica has provided some absolutely amazing photography shots. I'm kind of out of my element here as this is a trip unlike any I've taken before; however, I'm loving the views, the people, the food, the coffee, and most importantly, la Pura Vida! Tomorrow we are going to swim at the La Fortuna waterfall, kayak in Lake Arenal, and relax in the Baldi hot springs after touring around La Fortuna. This is definitely la Pura Vida!

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