Pura Vida – Part 3 (One long Day)

Well on the previous day, we made it through a four hour ordeal at Paso Canoas and finally were on our way to San Jose. As I said the trip up was pretty uneventful. We had family waiting for us at the TRACOPA bus terminal to take us to Puriscal, The weather was cool and I was prepared for a great vacation. I would not be disappointed.

On the 20th we got up early to make our drive to the home of the Arenal Volcano. This is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Costa Rica. The drive from Puriscal was a winding highway through a very beautiful mountainous area that helps you understand why Costa Rica has been compared with Switzerland.

We had our small car filled with five adults and Sofia. The winding roads and Sofia’s energy kept us all wide awake. We had fun – can you tell?

There was a major bike race going on and through out the day we met individuals or groups of riders. On these roads, the riders could not have felt all that safe. There is a rider going around the curve in this photo.

We arrived at Villas Ecoarenal around lunch time.  We had reserved a Villa for 5 and squeezed our group of 5 ½ into it. For $96 I think it was reasonably priced. It came with a mini kitchen containing a refrigerator, cook-top, plates and cooking utensils. After unloading our bags, he drove into Arenal to eat (as you know – one of my favorite activities).

Arenal is a town that is well equipped for the tourists that come to visit the famous volcano. There were many restaurants that looked inviting and we chose on call Las Brasitas. It had a wide menu with Mexican food and steaks and about anything you could want.

The only thing Sofia was sure of was that she wanted fresh lemonade.

I think she munched off several other’s plates.

This is what I ordered. It had a chalupa, burrito, chimichanga and refried beans. The burrito and chimichanga were fill of chicken and the plate did not get cleaned. Can you imagine that – more than I could eat.

This was a mixed fajita plate. Both this and the one above were tasty.

Now that we had our tunnies full, we set off to see the volcano. When we started, it was drizzling rain. Not a hard rain, just enough to keep you in the car. We stopped at a couple of the park entrances, but decided to wait for the rain to stop before we paid to park.

In the mean time, we explored more by car. We stopped and I took this photo of a river flowing from the mountain.

Next we visited a lake that had tours. Too cold and rainy for us to take.

While we were driving, we came upon this interesting animal greeting all of the cars.

He obviously was unafraid of cars and people. We stopped and I got out of the car to take its photo. He crossed the road to get up close and personal.

I really think if I had opened the door, he would have entered the car. Obviously they must have a lot feed them and he was quite entertaining.

The rain had now quit and we drove back to one of the park entrances and paid to walk the trails. Nothing like a little exercise to get the blood pumping. Here is Christian telling Sofia, “We are going to climb up there”.

Here are a few photos from the first observation point.

In the last photo you can see the lake we were at before.

Believe it or not, the volcano is in this photo. You just can see it because of the low cloud layer.

Here is a couple photos of another group on their way up the volcano.

Here is a closer view. You can see that they are on a curving path and they appear to be coming down.

I was perfectly happy at this observation point, but others wanted to try to go to the next level, so we set out.

Sofia thought it might start to rain again, so she picked up her version of an umbrella.

OK. We have made it to the beginning of the 1968 lava flow. While the volcano is till quite active, the last major lava flow was in 1968.

There was multiple ways you could go. There was a four hour path and a one hour path. The one hour path starts here.

The one hour path ends here.

Here is Susan doing her best Rocky impression on completing the walk. Obviously I had to be in front of her because I was able to take the photo.

To be completely honest, we didn’t walk the trail. We talked to several hikers that had just come back and they said there were several challenging areas and you really needed a walking stick to make it. We decided not to have that adventure and just say we did. I have the photos to prove it. 🙂

Throughout this area are many huge lava boulders. I would not have wanted to be there during their creation.

On our way back to the car, I took this photo of a group from Texas A&M following their guide and preparing to make the climb. I wonder how they liked it.

Here is a little proof that all kids are the same. If you have path that has both a dry area and an area with water, where do you think they will walk? Here is Sofia to answer the question.

We made it back to the car. Total outing in the park was about four hours. The sky never cleared to take a real photo of the volcano.

We stopped here in Arenal to get a bite to eat. I don’t remember the last time I saw a Churches fried Chicken.

From there we headed back to our villa. We had had a great day in spite of the rain. The next day will be Pura Vida – Part 4.

10 thoughts on “Pura Vida – Part 3 (One long Day)

  1. Don Ray:
    Nice pictures. The funny animal is a coati or coatimundi, kind of a raccon (you most likely already know that). Looking forward to see the rest of your adventure.

  2. Hello Don Ray,

    Thanks for sharing this experience us us. Nice pictures. The one of Sofía and her “umbrella” is the most original.



  3. Hi Don! A potential ex-pat here, from California. Hubby John and myself will be checking out the area in late May for possible full time living. Would love to meet you and have a chat about the area. Are you open for that?


  4. I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have stumbled upon your blog. Your information is better than anything I’ve read online so far. My hubby just logged on and I believe is harassing you as well. Sorry about that! ;-))

    I told him to continue reading your blog and stop with the questions, as you probably will have answered them at some place on the blog. In the meantime, I will continue to read and dream about retiring and not having to get up and go to work every day! Speaking of that, I better stop reading your blog and better get back to work.

    P.S. As Marketing Director of an Orange County, California golf course, I am a bit dismayed at the dearth of golf courses. Oh well, time to take up white water river rafting anyway!



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