Cross Country to La Fortuna

La Fortuna Travel Blog

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Busing across Costa Rica

We started out very early from Cahuita and caught a series of buses all the way north to Costa Rica. If anyone's planning the same trip, you take the morning bus (7am I think, less than $1) north to Limon. From Limon, you transfer to another bus to San Jose (Around $4, gets you in by 11:30am). You'll have to walk or take a taxi from the Carribe bus station to the Coca Cola bus station to catch northward buses. From there, you can get to either Monteverde or La Fortuna.

Arenal Volcano
 We didn't make the 10:30 bus to Monteverde, so we caught the 11:30 bus to La Fortuna over the 2:30 bus to Monteverde.

Add two hours to however long the bus is supposed to take. I think they told us the La Fortuna bus should be in by 3 or 4pm, but it was 5 or 6 when we got there. Our bus seemed to pick up and drop off the entire town of San Carlos at varying locations.

La Fortuna is a little town dedicated to watching Volcan Arenal which looms above it. The volcano wiped out the town of La Fortuna in 1968, killing 87 people. Atousa looked around for real estate brochures.

There will be a group of touts waiting for the bus, attempting to steer you to hotels. I actually don't mind touts because I think they can be very useful if you know how to negotiate with them.

Americans enthralled by blank spot where volcano should be
 Just be aware that the ones in La Fortuna lie about how low the prices will be. However, after getting some suggestions and walking back and forth across town getting the lowest rates, we did find that the best deal was a hotel that one of the touts recommended. 

Cabinas El Buhio (which Atousa affectionately referred to as Cabinas El Boohoo), is toward the vocano and to the right from the center of town, in the "pastoral" area of town. A clean double with a TV, ceiling fan and private bathroom came out to $7 each. The owner was very nice, and she does laundry for a per pound charge.

Atousa didn't want to go to the hotsprings so we opted out of any of the set tours and hired a cab for about $15 each to go volcano viewing. This basically got us a driver for the whole night.

More explody red dots!
He drove us up to the volcano viewing area, where all the other Americans had gathered to oggle at the darkness. Whereas we met many Europeans in other touristy areas throughout Central America, the whole volcano watching thing seemed distinctly American. Like there's something in the water that makes us just love anything that explodes. Myself included, of course.

So there we were, a big group of tourists staring blankly into the darkness, waiting for clouds to part. Every once in a while, we'd see a small burst of red in the distance and the entire group would Oooh and Ahhh. It was both pathetic and awesome at the same time. Pathetic, as you can see by my silly photos. But actually really awesome as you stood in the darkness, beneath a live volcano, watching actual lava tumble down the volcano in the distance.

Creepy cabbie and free hotsprings

After an hour or so of watching the volcano, we went in search of our cab. We spent a good 20 minutes searching as neither of us remembered exactly what the car looked like and our cabbie had fallen asleep in the front seat and couldn't here us calling out his name.

On the way back to town, we had the cab stop by the free hotsprings. Atousa didn't want to pay the entrance fee to the nice ones (like Baldi or Tabacon with the swim up bars), but I really wanted to at last put a toe in real live volcano water. Right under the highway, you can go to the free hotsprings, a cascade of rushing thermal water and a cute little cove that's actually really cool. The only thing is that you have to cross under the freeway to get to it, over an area that strewn with some garbage. This grossed Atousa out, so I was the only one who thought it was fun. There's also no lighting, so you have to bring a flashlight. Also, there was a couple already sitting in the cove when we got there, and I felt like I was intruding. It's like murphy's law for me. Whenever I find some cool little private place with a waterfall or a cave or whatever, there's always a couple hogging it for themselves.

We went back to the cab to find that our cabbie had locked his pants in the trunk with his car keys in his pants. Don't ask. I have no idea what that was about. We waited for him to jimmy rig the lock and finally headed back into town.

heather80 says:
ah! I just posted my own CR blog today and reading yours made me just as nostalgic! I can't wait to go back!
Posted on: Sep 13, 2007
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Busing across Costa Rica
Busing across Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano
Americans enthralled by blank spot…
Americans enthralled by blank spo…
More explody red dots!
More explody red dots!
Creepy cabbie and free hotsprings
Creepy cabbie and free hotsprings
That red dot is exploding!
That red dot is exploding!
Lava flow! (seriously)
Lava flow! (seriously)
Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano
La Fortuna
photo by: jeannajumps