We flew non-stop from Newark (EWR) to San Jose international airport. We stayed overnight at Hampton Inn and Suites near the airport. The hotel is in great location, is safe and reasonably priced.
We started bright and early and headed to Arenal volcano region. Made a stop near Poas Volcano, on the way. We didn't have a chance to see the volcano due to cloudy skies. I have heard really good things about this active volcano. It was a quick stop and a good way to start the day. Make sure to have an online reservation beforehand as there is no wifi in the area and we didn't have cellular network.
We drove onwards and before heading to the resort we stopped at the town of La Fortuna. Our first visit was to the La Fortuna waterfalls. It's a beautiful waterfall, and you are allowed to swim. Recommend checking the closing hours and bring a pair of swimming clothes.
We had dinner at La Fortuna town, with a view of the magnificent Arenal volcano. We then headed to our final destination for the night - Hotel Arenal Springs Resort & Spa. This was a dream, imagine waking up to an active volcano. Perfectly placed at the foothills, centrally located, highly recommend this resort.
I wanted to get closer to the volcano! We started the day with a hike at the foothill of Arenal Volcano. It's an easy hike and you will see the lava fields from the last time it exploded.
We then headed off to the must thing everyone had told us to do in Costa Rica. Ziplining on the mountains! We booked ours with Sky Adventures and this literally took our breath away. This turned to be the biggest highlight of our trip. We spent 2.5 hours coming down from mountain top on miles long zip lines with stunning views of the volcano and the forest all around. I have a fear of heights but that couldn't stop me from doing one of the most adventurous things in my entire life. Make sure to make a reservation ahead of time and be on time for the exhilarating ride.
We then headed back to the rest to relax and spent the rest of the night at the hot springs in the resort. Because of the active volcanoes there are multiple hot springs in Costa Rica that you can bathe in. Some popular resorts are built around it and if you are not staying in one of them you can pay for specific packages. I also heard about a public, free hot spring but it seemed pretty packed and we couldn't find parking on the streets.
The best part about Costa Rica is the wildlife. We saw coatis (the Costa Rican raccoon) all over Arenal. Mistico hanging bridges not only had gorgeous views, hanging bridges and a great hike, we also saw bats, monkeys and birds of paradise such as Toucans! We didn't book a guided tour, I think having a guide might help spotting widlife. We got lucky without a guide.
We then wrapped our Arenal visit with a chocolate tour at Rainforest Chocolate Tour. It was fascinating to see how cholocate is made and eat some delicious, fresh Costa Rican chocolate. There was no resident sloth at this location, something I was hoping for but didn't pan out.
#chocolatetours #volcano #ziplining #hotsprings #adventurous