Trip to Costa Rica, Part One: Arenal

It had been a while and we were getting antsy, but we finally mamanged to leave the country on another vacation.  Out first foray
into Latin America - the lovely land of Costa Rica.


After getting into San Jose the evening before, we crashed at a hotel near the airport and then woke up early the next morning
to drive to Arenal volcano (or more specifically, the nearby town of La Fortuna).  En route we passed through some beautiful
countryside...






A common site along Costa Rican roads - open air convenience stores, often with a snack shop (called "sodas") attached. 




After about three plus hours of country road driving, we came around the corner and BAM!  there was the volcano, shaped just
like a cartoon volcano like you used to draw when you were a little kid.  The white closest to the peak is actually smoke, as this
volcano is continuously burbling and spewing lava. 


We got to our hotel, the San Bosco, and checked in.  Decent place, nothing amazing, but no complaints. 


I took a photo of this flower/berry/whatever because it looked like a rabbit. 


This was our rental car - a Daihatsu Bego.  I didn't look under the hood, but I'm pretty sure it was powered by a push lawnmower
engine.  It was nice on gas mileage though.


The town square with the volcano in the background.  We got lucky it was so clear this day, because the volcano can be tough
to spot sometimes, and it ended up being overcast and rainy the rest of our stay in La Fortuna. 


Chelsea enjoying one of many tasty beverages on this trip.  She was especially fond of pineapple blended with milk.


We spent our afternoon at the Baldi Hot Springs.  What with the volcano looming overhead, there are tons of natural hot springs
in the area.  The place was amazing, many photos to follow.






The springs were right under the volcano.






There were a few swim-up bars in the joint.  We sat around at this one for quite some time, watching Formula One racing...


Yes, this pool really was  that warm.  I stuck my feet in there and thought I was being boiled alive. 




As if all the hot spirngs weren't enough, they had waterslides!  That led into hot springs!!! 


Chelsea getting her hot spring on. 




Let's take a moment to discuss how awesome Costa Rican money is.  Their bills have jaguars and hammerhead sharks on them!
Way better than a bunch of stupid presidents and monuments.


I saw a horse.


On our way to go visit La Fortuna waterfall one rainy afternoon. 


There it is, on the distance...we'd be walking to the foot of it. 


The downside of walking down the side of a mountain to see some falls is, of course, the walk back. 


The falls, obviously.


A bunch of fish.  Trout probably.  At least they looked trout-y. 




Took a drive out to the edge of Lake Arenal one afternoon.  It's a damn big lake, and apparently one of the best locations for
wind surfing in the world.  Or at least that is what I was told, contrary to popular belief I am not a wind surfing expert.




We were only a few days into our trip, but it was already obvious that Costa Rica was going to be an amazing trip.