Day 71: San José - Fortuna

La Fortuna Travel Blog

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Sunset near volcán Arenal
 

We took the bus to the town of Fortuna, about 150 kilometres north of San José. Fortuna itself isn't very interesting, but it is the gateway to some great natural attractions in the surroundings.


The biggest attraction is the active volcano Arenal, which is only 6 kilometres from the town (the town is completely safe from lava flows though... or so they claim).

We booked ourselves a half-day ecological tour, which comprised of a walk through the jungle, and a visit to the volcano. No climbing any volcanoes this time though, that is too dangerous, but we did get close enough to hear, feel and smell the thing. Not so much seeing though, as the volcano itself was shrouded in clouds.


So we could hear the volcano erupting every 30 seconds, but there wasn't much to see.

The ever active volcán Arenal
Occasionally we would see some glowing boulders rolling down to the base of the volcano, but its top remained out of sight. We imagined a great spewing fountain of lava, and thick syrupy streams of lava flowing down, but the most impressive we got to see was a great sun setting behind us. Our guide promised us it would get better though. The clouds have to lift eventually.

And he was right. At one moment the clouds lifted a little bit. We still couldn't see the mouth of the volcano, but we did see an eruption. It wasn't at all how I had pictured it, as instead of spewing lava the Arenal spews out big fiery rocks, but the effect is the same: it is mindblowing.

And the timing couldn't have been better. The clouds lifted and bang there was an eruption. I had set up my camera on a tripod and was able to take several shots of the eruption.

lazing at the Tabacón hot springs
Just great!

The whole experience lasted maybe only 20 seconds, but it is etched in my mind forever. What an incredible sight! Any other country with active volcanoes instantly moved up several notches on my "countries to visit next" list.

We stayed for a while longer, and as it got darker the eruptions provided a very cool light show.


On the way back we made a two hour stop at the Tabacón thermal pools. Like in many other places in the world, volcanic activity means thermal springs, so obviously any tour stops at these springs as well, for some mandatory body cleansing/commission collection (*circle appropriate answer).

Uhm, yeah... turned out both Arnaud and myself had completely forgotten to take our swimming trunks, and as these pools were part of a rather busy and luxury spa resort, we didn't feel skinny dipping would be entirely appropriate either.


So instead we retired to some hammocks, lurking on a piña colada and reminiscing of our trip so far. Yup, it's a hard life...

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Sunset near volcán Arenal
Sunset near volcán Arenal
The ever active volcán Arenal
The ever active volcán Arenal
lazing at the Tabacón hot springs
lazing at the Tabacón hot springs
Tabacón hot springs
Tabacón hot springs
monkey!
monkey!
believe it or not, there is a volc…
believe it or not, there is a vol…
jungle hike near Arenal
jungle hike near Arenal
Volcán Arenal
Volcán Arenal
coolest! bed sheets! ever!
coolest! bed sheets! ever!
La Fortuna
photo by: jeannajumps