Hangin' with the Family
01/21/2010 - 01/23/2010 90 °F
The Journey - Around Arenal
Up at 7:00. Not sure what it is about traveling that gets me out of bed early. I wake up in a bit of a panic afraid of missing something. At home I feel I deserve an award if I’m up before 10:00. Eat some breakfast, hang out by the pool, walk around town a little bit, basically killing time until heading over to the Springs Resort to meet up with the family. It’s the good kind of killing time though, walking around town with nowhere in particular to go.
I took a taxi to Springs Resort. The hotel is out in the boonies up a hill on a winding and dipping dirt road. Ho-lee-crap! This place is five star amazing. Pools, natural hot springs, killer views of Arenal all over the place. Our room has a deck with a couple of hammocks, a loft, two huge bathrooms. A wall of windows is directed at the volcano. That night we explored the hotel, got some dinner and then hung out in the mineral pools. There are three mineral pools. The lower pool is the biggest and coolest (least warm). As you go up, the pools get smaller and warmer. The top pool is just shy of hot tub temperature. Luxury. Paradise.
The first morning at the hotel I woke up around 6:30 to a huge bird racket. It was incredible. A ton of noise. I joined Dad and Ann on the deck. All kinds of exotic colorful birds were all over the place. There was one pair that flew together across our view. Ten minutes later they flew by again like they were doing laps (they must have been the same two birds ... what other possible explanation could there be?). I don’t know what kind of birds these were but I had never seen any of them before. Maybe I can talk my Dad into contributing to this blog. He and Ann did a pretty good job of identifying all of the different birds we saw.
We headed out for a rafting trip on the Sarapiqui early that morning. It was about an hour and a half drive to the river. We got to take in a lot of the country side along the way. Nice drive. The stretch of the Sarapiqui that we did was class 2/3. We hit the toughest rapid right out of the gate. Three gringos were airborn for a couple of seconds and then in a pile in the middle of the raft. There were no others along on the trip with us aside from the guide and a kayaker running rescue (playing in the rapids) next to us. Our guide, Gustavo, was a piece of work. He was full of un-guide-like comments such as “Oops” and “Uh-oh”. He made up some complicated story about how we were nearing the Nicaraguan border where we would hunt monkeys with spears and then eat them. It was OK if we didn’t want to eat the monkeys right away. Sooner or later we’d be hungry enough. Fun trip. It was only a couple of hours long but that was enough.
The next morning we got up early (again) to do the hanging bridges forest canopy tour, a short drive from the hotel. It was a nature walk with bridges over deep ravines that allowed us to see life in the tree tops. It was nice to see the forest canopy and fun to walk over the wobbly suspension bridges but we saw most of the cool stuff when we were on the trails. I saw my first three toed sloth on this hike as well as leaf cutter ants, a viper and lots of lizards. The guide was good. It was a relaxing hike of about two miles and a great way to spend a morning after a few days of travel and white water rafting.
We spent the rest of the day back at the hotel. Dad and Ann got massages and I went over to the hot springs for some lounging. There was a little water slide at the hot springs. It looked pretty harmless so I thought I’d give it a try. Nobody else was at the hot springs so I couldn’t tell for sure how fast or slow the slide was. Ten feet into it I let out a “Holy Shit!” and rocketed to a crash landing in the pool below. Nothing graceful about that pool entry. The slide was short but FAST. I don’t think the lawyers in the US will allow that kind of fun on a public water slide.
The next morning we took a shuttle to San Jose. We were going to board a small plane run by Nature Air bound for the Osa Peninsula. Did I mention that the room at the Springs Resort had air conditioning?