To whomever wrote, 'In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight!', please visit a jungle and correct your lyrics. Nothing sleeps out here, they're all too busy being loud. All jokes aside, the jungle is loud. There were about 3 solid hours last night when all was calm, or I was just knocked out and couldn't tell the difference. The noises of the jungle are absolutely beautiful though, just maybe not at 4AM.
After a semi restful nights sleep; we woke up and had breakfast at our hotel. I'm not even really sure I can call it a hotel. It's a bunch of little cabins, some with just 1 room, and others that are 4 hotel rooms connected. Anyways, the breakfast provided was tasty, more beans and rice.. I'm not complaining about that yet, but it may get old after a few more days. ha! We started the morning off by visiting the Arenal Volcano, which you can see from our hotel. It was cloudy this morning and I was a little weary of going to try to see the volcano, but we did anyways. I've read that many people visit this area just to see the volcano and leave never having seen the whole thing. Apparently the clouds sit over it almost 100% of the time. The cost was $10/person to enter the park and hike. There were 3 different trails to choose from; we chose the 'Lava path from 1968'. Arenal Volcano erupted in '68, wiping out an entire town beneath it. My mom was 6 then, she says she doesn't remember that happening... ;) Before we began our hike the guy taking our money said to make sure we backed into our spot. That way if 'something were to happen' we would be able to get away quickly. Not what I wanted to hear when entering the park, but I thanked him anyways. The weather was pleasant, it was hot but there was a nice breeze to keep us cool. About 3/4's of our hike was shaded so that was also quite helpful. We hiked for a couple hours and began to head onto our next activity. I was a little sad that we didn't witness the entire volcano in all it's splendor, but it was so beautiful that my disappointment didn't last long. And, as we were driving out of the park, the clouds parted and we did get to see the entire volcano! I yelled at BHW to stop the car so I could get a good shot. The volcano remained uncovered for about 10 minutes, hopefully all the people just arriving to the park as we were leaving got some great photos!
We stopped at a little 'soda' for lunch before hiking down to La Fortuna Waterfall. A soda is basically a little family run restaurant on the side of the road. The food was delicious and pretty cheap! I got shrimp and rice, trying to mix things up a little. The waterfall entrance was only a short, but bumpy ride away. Once we paid our $11/person to get into the area, we hiked up and down about 500 steps. The first half or so wasn't so bad, the steps were nice and there were handrails. About halfway down that all stopped and the steps turned into rock and little paver stones and the handrails turned into loose chains. Once the whole stairway gets completed, it will be much more user friendly. It was fine for us to get down, but maybe not for everyone. There were quite a few people on the trail down, not true for the volcano! By the time we were leaving everyone else was arriving, I'm guessing the earlier the better for most 'attractions'. We passed a couple tour groups taking their 2349502 pictures and reached the bottom. The falls were so tall, so loud, and so beautiful! There were rose petals scattered on the rocks leading up to the waterfall, I think someone must have gotten married down there the weekend before. I hope they were hooked up to microphones, no way would anyone be able to hear anything if not! BHW and I stripped down to our bathing suits and made our way into the chilly water. The current was extremely strong near the falls, there was a point where we just couldn't get any closer because the water kept pushing us away. After playing around near the falls we walked a little further down stream and found some calmer water to splash around in before we made the trek back up. The walk up was, well, exactly what we did coming down except worse. The stairs were pretty steep but there were a few resting spots on the way if need be. I opted not to rest at all but I was pretty out of breath by the time I reached the top!
After the waterfall we tried to hook up with a chocolate tour but they were booked up. It was a spur of the moment thing so we weren't let down about it. On our way back to the main road we came across a guy making smoothies in his front yard. We stopped and got some, they were delicious! I thought it was so funny he was having to run into his kitchen when he needed more ice. Once we got back to the main road we stopped into a little grocery to grab some snacks for the next couple days. BHW got some local beers and I got a snickers bar, sounds about right if you ask me. We got back to our room pretty early in the day, around 4PM. We took showers, did some planning for tomorrow, and relaxed until dinner.
I had looked into some places to eat for dinner, just out of curiosity. We ended up eating at this place called 'Lava Lounge' and I swear to you that everyone there was a tourist except the servers. I admit, not my favorite place to be, but the food was amazing.