Our adventure started before 6AM this morning, not the best time considering we didn't even get to sleep until 1:30AM. After I said a few choice words to the alarm clock, it was show time. We stayed the night in Newark, New Jersey last night because our flight left from there today. It saved us a lot of time, and waking up even earlier than we already had to. The hotel provided a free shuttle to the airport, so thankful for that! Getting our bags checked was pretty simple, between the 3 of us, we only had one checked back, the rest were carry-on. We boarded our plane, watched the new quirky United Airlines safety video, and after that was right around when I fell asleep for most of the plane ride. I woke up a time or two to snack and look out the window, but sleeping on planes is basically a skill that could go on my resume so I stuck with that.
I'm not one for led tours but I'm so happy we went on this tour. Our guide, Anna, was great! She was so friendly and fun to be around, I could totally have seen myself grabbing a beer with her after the hike if I hadn't been so tired from traveling. Anna armed us each with a flashlight and let us know that if we needed to run from anything.. like a jaguar, she would be sure to tell us. Yikes! The hike started at dusk and we went to view some crocodiles that were being nursed back to health. Night quickly fell over us and it was pitch black besides the dancing of our flashlights. Our group was made up of 4 folks from the UK, Anna, and us 3 Americans. We helped Anna search for weird things and, I have to admit, we did an awesome job of helping her! She showed us a termite camp on a tree and gave us some interesting info about eating them if ever lost in the jungle. The said to avoid the fruits/vegetation because it could be poisonous but to stick with water and termites.. apparently they're loaded with protein. Anna ate one and then asked if any of us wanted to try one. She said they tasted like carrots, so BHW went ahead and said I would eat one. Uhh, thanks for volunteering me babe?! I'm not one to back down from a challenge so, yes, I did eat one. I didn't mind it actually.
Besides eating termites we spotted tons of wildlife! Mainly frogs and insects. Anna could not believe how many different kinds of frogs we saw in one night! It was so much fun wandering around some jungle at night with just a flashlight. My mom said she felt like she was 7 years old again, I had to agree.
After the hike, which was 2 hours packed full of crazy animals(!!), we were starving. We found a little place down the road from us and got some traditional Costa Rican cuisine; rice, beans, fried egg, fried plantain, and chicken. It hit the spot after a long day of not eating much of anything! Tomorrow we have a lot of hiking planned, hoping to get a good view of the Arenal Volcano and then head over to the La Fortuna Waterfall for a swim! For now, I can hardly keep my eyes open, goodnight my friends! xo
Once we landed we were blasted by hot muggy air. I wasn't complaining. I am so ready for winter to be over with. We hopped on a shuttle to take us to our rental car and were on our way. Armed with a road map, we immediately got lost. I am always quick to ask for help so I stopped and talked to an older man, he seemed to know exactly where I was trying to go, and told me in 100% Spanish how to get there. I nodded a lot and tried to read his mind in English and also interpret his elaborate hand gestures. It apparently worked and we got on the correct path towards our hotel. Whew. The roads weren't as terrible as we expected, but, like the guidebooks warned, there aren't a lot of road signs. Thankfully there's pretty much one way to get to La Fortuna/Arenal so it would have been hard to get lost once we got headed in the right direction. The drive was pretty brown for a good hour or so, I was just starting to get a little disappointed when we entered the outer edge of the lush forests. As we neared Lake Arenal everything turned a vibrant green! We stopped to take a few photos, but didn't hang around long because we were trying to make it to the hotel in order to join a night hike through the jungle! After we passed some guy walking his dogs while holding a huge machete(?!), we reached our hotel and it's beautiful. There's a hot springs right by our room, a pool, tons of common areas to hang out with other people, and free coffee. Unfortunately we didn't get to wander the grounds for too long because we had a hike to be on! We will explore more later though.