Volcán Arenal is Costa Rica's youngest and most active volcano, erupting continuously since it "woke up" with a major explosion in 1968.
The second week of our Costa Rica holiday began by dropping our rented Daihatsu in Quepos and flying north by small plane. After a brief stopover in the capital, our short flight ended in La Fortuna, a farming town lying east of the volcano and a jumping off point for visitors wishing to explore the volcano region and the celebrated cloud forests near Monteverde on the other side of Lake Arenal.
We found a lovely spot to stay just outside of town; a group of cabins in a garden setting on the road leading to the La Fortuna waterfall.
At night, molten lava can be seen descending the volcano's lakeside slope.
After a couple of days, we hopped what is called the taxi-water-taxi to Monteverde, a small commercial center in the cloud forest zone. First a mini-van is taken to the lakeshore from La Fortuna, a boat then brings passengers down the lake to the far side where another minivan is waiting to finish the trip.
It's a rough, dusty trip on this side. A sign along the way announces, "Short Cut To Monteverde", but it is actually about three hours of winding gravel roads. The scenery compensates for the discomfort.
We stayed at the Arco Iris resort. Not the cheapest in Monteverde, but reasonable. There we witnessed this phenomenon of a foggy drizzle coming out of a clear blue sky. A mini-van picked us up here to take us to the Selvatura cloud forest, which will be the subject of the next and final installment of my Costa Rica reports.
Copyright Michael Farrell, 2009.