La Fortuna

La Fortuna Travel Blog

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We arrived at the town of La Fortuna by van early in the afternoon and went straight to the main local tour agency to see what we wanted to do with our time there. The whole group decided to do a volcano walk followed by some hot springs that evening. Gary, Tim, Jasper and myself decided to do a canyoning trip the next day.

That afternoon we had lunch and had some free time to walk around the place. Gary watched his beloved Everton play on the hotel room TV and seemed to be pleased with a 3-3 draw.

In the evening we got picked up to do the volcano walk. It was a short drive out to Volcan Arenal, which looms over La Fortuna. The walk was not up the volcano, but instead around it for a while to see if we could witness any lava coming out. Unfortunately the weather gods were not on our side and the clouds were far too thick for us to see high enough up the volcano to where any lava would be coming out. We still got a nice walk around the natural area.

At the end of the walk we drove to another point where we might have got a better view if the clouds cleared. We had a 'pizza party', which consisted of us standing next to the van eating brought along pizza and drinking a 'lava' mixed spirit. We went for another look at the volcano after that but still the clouds were out too thick.

When we were done with the volcano we went to the local hot springs to relax for a couple of hours. We had all pictured it like any other hot springs - nothing flash, just a couple of small pools that were fairly hot. Instead it was like a hot springs fun park. It was called Baldi, and the place was absolutely immense. There were maybe a dozen big hot springs in very well landscaped pools, some with strong jets, there were pools at a big bar where people could swim up and drink, and there was even a big pool at the top of the park that had three waterslides going down into it.

The variance of temperature in the hot springs was quite amazing. Some were barely more than cold, some were warm, some were hot, and some were unbelievably hot. They had signs up indicating temperature, and the hottest one I managed to get under was about 60 celsius. This is seriously scorching, it took major will power to put my body down under it and keep myself from leaping out in terror. It was fun to test my limits but it was also great to go from that pool straight into the cold one nearby. There was another one we saw that said 65 celsius but it was so hot I could barely put my toes in it, and we didn't see a single person go in it the whole time we were there.

After laying around in all the different hot springs we decided to check out the water slides. Dave and I went up there after a few of the others and they said the best one was at the top where you take the slide on the left. We figured it sounded good to us so we ran up the stairs and there was no line so we went straight for the one on the left. I remember Tim saying to do it sitting down and to keep my head forward as much as I could.

The slide was not very long but it was by far the most dangerous water slide I have been on in my life. It starts out with some very sharp and fast turns, and then you turn a corner to the left and you drop near-vertical about 5 metres into the slide below, which then throws you out into the pool outside at a very fast speed. I had no idea what I was in for so at the start I was thinking to myself how much I was being thrown around and then suddenly I had turned with my back facing forward and being airborne for much longer than I would have liked. Not being able to see what was going on I was then thrown into the pool outside and swam to the surface with I am sure a look of disbelief on my face. I refused to do it again after Dave came down and managed to hit his head on the big drop near the end. But I recommend all my readers go on it if they go there!

After a couple of hours at the hot springs we were pretty exhausted and ready to go. We got changed and went back to the hotel for a decent sleep. The next morning Gary and I wandered up to the edge of La Fortuna and found a classy European restaurant for breakfast.

That day we had the canyoning trip just out of town. I didn't know what canyoning was before I saw it at the tour agency, so to explain to others it is basically where you are harnassed around your waist and groin, and you scale down waterfalls to get to the bottom using rope that slides through the harnass.

When we got there and harnassed up and got our safety gear on we got a quick introduction on how to do the canyoning. There is a bit of technique to it but it's not hard and the way they feed the rope through means you can't just fall to your death if you screw it up.

We headed out into the stream and straight away we were getting soaking wet. The first of the four waterfalls was appropriately easy gradient and maybe about 5 metres down, and we all got down it easily enough. The second one was not a lot harder. The third one was where it got much more scary - the waterfall was about 30 metres vertical down to where the stream continued below. I was bad with heights when I was younger so I admit that pushing myself off a 30 metre drop was not easy. It was a huge adrenaline rush though after I scaled down the waterfall and got to the bottom in one piece.

The fourth and final waterfall was even higher - this time 50 metres. It was easier this time around because not only was I now somewhat used to going over a big drop but there was a guiding line above you as you go down that takes you down on a diagonal instead of straight down the waterfall face. At the bottom we were all stoked with the experience. We walked around to a heavy waterfall nearby and had a look. After that we walked back out of the forest and had a late lunch.
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La Fortuna
photo by: jeannajumps