Upon my arrival in La Fortuna I was quickly overwhelmed with the multitude of tour options that my guesthouse owner was spewing at me. I was already tired from my morning of travel from Monteverde so all I really had planned for the afternoon was a nap and wander about town. I was happy he wasn’t pushy about the offers, but I’ll always feel a little bad listening to these long winded spiels knowing full well I have 0% interest in what’s on offer. For those with deep pockets though, and a lust for adventure, La Fortuna seems to be your place. I on the other hand enjoyed a few days of being lazy, reconnected with an old friend and made a few new ones.
The cool air of Monteverde actually caused me to pack my bags a day early, setting my sights for sun and new views in La Fortuna. I was lucky this first day, there was not a cloud in the sky, so I got amazingly great views of the volcano, first from the boat ride and throughout my walk around town. I couldn’t stop taking pictures, the view was just that good.
The following day I was planning to catch the sun that I came to Costa Rica chasing, hence the pool equipped hostel I had booked. The only problem was they had no record of my reservation change (despite the email confirmation I had) and were booked for the night. I didn’t even bother making an issue of it, maybe that’s the ‘pura vida’ rubbing off, but instead just made my way to a different place, Hotel Mayol Lodge, for about the same price, pool AND breakfast included. Aside from not staying at the same place as my friends, this was actually an upgrade, it seemed with the clientele too. I spent the day as planned, poolside, waiting to hear from Mark and Colin as to when they’d be arriving, only I didn’t expect it to be so late. After a walk, amazing dinner at Soda Visquez, blogging and reading I eventually fell asleep waiting for the boys, hoping they only underestimated their arrival time and hadn’t driven their car off the side of the road.
The next morning I awoke to a message from Mark that indeed the road was rougher and longer than expected, they got in late and I shouldn’t expect them up early. Hearing this I took my time with breakfast and blogging poolside. I met Mathieu from Quebec, who shared some cool travel stories, a similar outlook on life and was a plethora of good information for my trip, specifically the day's plan - free hot springs. I eventually heard from the boys, packed my bag and headed their way, not sure where our day would take us.
It’s always been interesting meeting Mark, but let me explain. He and I are both from Wisconsin, him Eau Claire and I Milwaukee, but the first time we met was on a 4 day biking adventure in Japan. This biking adventure was a holiday trip for both of us, a long weekend away from our teaching jobs in Korea. After that we met again in Hong Kong, where we had both unknowingly to the other, booked a trip for the Lunar New Year. We had a few failed attempts at meeting in Milwaukee while we were both home, but finally reunited one more time in Korea, nearly 3 years after our first meeting in Japan. So now, our fourth time meeting is once again in a new country, I guess it was only natural that his friend Colin asked “So are you a crazy traveler like this kid?” maybe one day we’ll meet on home soil in Wisconsin, or maybe not.
Anyway, I was happy we were able to coordinate plans and even more excited the boys had a car, the world, err La Fortuna was ours for the taking. We decided to start cheap, real cheap, at the free hot springs, and that was a great idea. The free hot springs are located just past Tabacon hot springs (resort) and easy to find once you see all the cars parked on the side of the road. Apparently the springs get crowded at night, but during the day the crowds are manageable and it’s easy to find a space of your own to hang out. We floated in the river until our skin was wrinkly, throats were dry and stomachs were grumbling. It was agreed that food and drinks were in order and based on suggestions of my morning friend we decided to get them to go.
We spent the few colones (4000) to visit Tamarindas springs, a step up from the river, but not the exuberant hotels surrounding the area. There were ten different pools to chose from, all with varying temperatures and designs, but better than that there were very few tourists in sight, all visitors seemed to be local. Looking at our spread of food one may have thought we were drunk BEFORE we went shopping, but that wasn’t the case, we just happened to come out with a completely random assortment: chips, mystery bread, cucumbers, peanuts, a snack mix and salami (that was all Colin), oh yeah and a few Four LOKO’s. Why any part of me thought that was a good idea is beyond me; a few sips and I was already feeling it, how I ever drank those things in college I’ll never know, but this time I took it slow.
The pool nearest to where we set up camp was where we started, hot but not unbearably so and equipped with some nifty massage chairs. While floating in this one though we spotted the nearby water slide and knew it was time to move. I waited below (getting started at by many) while waiting for Colin and Mark to give it a go, and when they did they came flying down at rapid speeds. I was surprised how fast this little slide was, it’s as if they greased it up for everyone ensuring that you’d have fun riding down. From here we kind of made the rounds, stopping back to finish off our snacks and then testing some of the other pools. There were a few with waterfalls, one with a huge mushroom, and a lazy river. Colin also found a cooler pool when he wandered from Mark and I, but I chose to pass on this one, cold and I don’t mix well, especially after the sun has set.
Considering we had spent hours in hot pools all day and ate an assortment of garbage, it was no wonder I was tired as I was by 9 pm, oh yeah and that Four LOKO probably didn’t help much. The boys dropped me back at my guesthouse where I was eager to shower and crawl in bed, not much of a crazy Friday night, but I guess I’m getting old. To be fair though, isn’t everyday Friday when you’re traveling?
Packed with Adventure and Adrenaline, a diverse landscape from mountains to cloudforests, oceans, beaches and waterfalls. It's known for being touristy, safe and expensive, but was for me, a great introduction to Central America.