Day 3: Water, water, water

We had a beautiful start to our morning today as the clouds cleared and we ate with a breathtaking view of the Arenal Volcano. I've never been so close to something so powerful before. It just feels incredibly refreshing here in CR.

We were told today that we'd be living in our bathing suits all day, and we did just that. We had a breakfast of rice & beans & eggs again (very much a traditional meal here-- I think I've had rice and beans every meal except tonight!), and were on our way to our first destination by 7:30am. They have very, very early mornings here which is natural for the Ticos, as I mentioned before that they don't operate on a daylight savings time. In Costa Rica all schedules are based on the 12-hour time system, and it seems like their days are much, much longer. It is very normal to be up and ready to go by 6:30am because the sun is shining so bright, and to be winding down by 6:30pm, because the sun has completely set. I think our sunset tonight was around 5:45pm-- kind of feels like winter in Oregon!

Our first start to the day was a brisk hike down to the La Fortuna waterfall, where we got some great pictures and were able to swim at the base for awhile-- nothing like an early morning workout and swim to get the blood pumping! After our steep hike & swim, we drove to Lake Arenal to kayak and swim, which is a man-made lake at the bottom of the Arenal Volcano. It was absolutely beautiful (and humbling) to be kayaking in the sun on the water, literally at the foot of an active, conical volcano. I've never done something like that in my life before!

In the afternoon, after another beans & rice lunch, we drove to the town of La Fortuna and went shopping, had homemade ice cream, and artisan made dark chocolate, which was amazing. To top off an already wonderful, water-filled day, we spent two hours soaking in the Baldi hot springs at the base of the Arenal volcano. I've never been to hot springs before, and it is definitely something not to miss if you ever travel to Costa Rica. They have swim-up restaurants inside, water slides, and at least ten different full pools heated naturally to different temperatures by the volcanic gases. Some hot springs went all the way to 152 degrees! We absolutely loved relaxing there after a morning of working out our arms and legs hiking and kayaking.

Our hotel is called the Hotel Grand Arenal, and I highly, highly recommend it if you're ever traveling to the La Fortuna region. Each hotel room is a private bungalow, separated from all other rooms for privacy. The insides are somewhat bare, but there is air conditioning, beds, a beautiful walk-in shower, tile floors, porches with wooden chairs and views of the tropical grounds. There are no phones and no TVs however, which is a good thing when you're on vacation. :) Each morning in the dining area, you eat with beautiful views of the volcano, see wildlife in their natural habitat everywhere (we've seen sloths, poison dart frogs, fireflies, toucans, iguanas and geckos so far), and have views that are totally unreal.

Tomorrow we are heading to the region of Monteverde on a very long bus ride, where we'll go on a mountain hike and then plant a tree in the rainforest as a part of EF Tour's reforestation project. Day after that... ziplining!







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