La Fortuna

Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Hike up to El Arenal’s gray volcanic cone for a magnificent view of La Fortuna, one of Costa Rica’s most celebrated destinations. Locals and expats alike are mad for the area’s hot springs, fun locavore restaurants, irresistible bakeries (don’t miss testing the local favorite, a very volcanic chocolate cake), chic spas (volcanic mud treatments are the obvious choice), boutiques, galleries, and other delights. Excursions to surrounding places like Lake Arenal or the lush Botanical Garden, or to the famed hanging bridges through the region’s rain forests, merit a multiday stopover in this ecotourism hub. El Arenal is Costa Rica’s most active volcano. Though there hasn’t been any serious volcanic activity since 2010, the volcano regularly musters some steamy fumarole action.

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La Fortuna

Hike up to El Arenal’s gray volcanic cone for a magnificent view of La Fortuna, one of Costa Rica’s most celebrated destinations. Locals and expats alike are mad for the area’s hot springs, fun locavore restaurants, irresistible bakeries (don’t miss testing the local favorite, a very volcanic chocolate cake), chic spas (volcanic mud treatments are the obvious choice), boutiques, galleries, and other delights. Excursions to surrounding places like Lake Arenal or the lush Botanical Garden, or to the famed hanging bridges through the region’s rain forests, merit a multiday stopover in this ecotourism hub. El Arenal is Costa Rica’s most active volcano. Though there hasn’t been any serious volcanic activity since 2010, the volcano regularly musters some steamy fumarole action.

Arenal Volcano

Early morning smoke from the active volcano

Lookin' for Adventure...

Sightseeing is fantastic -- especially when viewing the sights up close and personal while rigged up to rappelling equipment. Going to Costa Rica anytime soon? Forget the jungle zip lines and opt for waterfall rappelling if you’re looking for something out-of-the-ordinary.

Stay: A cure for tired muscles in La Fortuna

With Volcan Arenal nearby La Fortuna has several hot springs perfect for relaxing those tired muscles of yours after a day of hiking. There are a handful of options including ritzy all inclusive spa resorts but when my friend and I were traveling through the area we opted for the low key Eco Termales, pictured above. Eco Termales has a limited entry policy so make reservations if possible. I loved this spot because of it’s minimalist elegance. Even the entry from the main road is obscured as opposed to the flashy facade of another hot springs across the street. The naturally-fed pools are nestled within the woods and it gives you the feeling of bathing in a secret spot in the woods. Temperatures differ from each pool and there are unexpected nooks and seats where you can just sit, relax, and stay for hours.

Arenal Volcano

Since I was a child, I’ve had a fascination with volcanoes. The power, the destruction they can potentially cause and the sheer beauty of a volcano erupting enthralled me and I always wanted to see one for real. I got that chance a few months ago when I visited La Fortuna in Costa Rica and stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge at the foot of Arenal Volcano. Part of the volcano came into view a before I actually reached the resort but it was mostly covered in fog and only a small portion of it was visible. It wasn’t until I awoke the next morning and opened my curtains that I finally saw the mighty volcano and its entirety towering over me. Arenal, with it’s perfect cone-shaped peak looked like something right out of National Geographic Magazine, so beautiful yet so powerful in the destruction it could cause in the town below if it erupted and apparently it is still considered an active volcano with recent activity. I didn’t get to see any lava spew from the columns of Arenal but I still felt privileged to see an active volcano up close and personal and to be able to enjoy a nice dip in some hot springs that are warmed by the surrounding volcanic activity, a wonderful stay at the Arenal Observatory Lodge and a guided nature hike into the surrounding rainforest near the volcano!

Tabacon Hot Springs, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

During a visit to the northern region of Costa Rica, I made a last minute visit to Tabacon Hot Springs Resort in La Fortuna. I had been traveling for quite some time and I was exhausted and in need of some rest and relaxation. The Hot Springs are a product of the nearby Arenal Volcano and it is said that the minerals in the springs reduce stress, relax tired muscles and even cure a wide variety of health ailments. Whether any of this is true is anyone’s guess but I can say that I felt like a million bucks when I walked out of there that evening. I arrived tired and just wanting to relax and immediately felt positive about the experience I was about to have when I noticed the layout of the grounds; lush gardens and trees with walking paths, cute little bridges and various pools of different sizes and depths. I relaxed in various pools all afternoon. There are signs stating that one should not soak for too long because of the mineral content in the water which can cause light-headedness and the like. I heeded those warnings and probably stayed in a little longer than I should have! A long soak in the bigger, cooler pool brought me back to normal and sufficiently cooked me off enough to continue on with my journey through northern Costa Rica. Although I didn’t have time to avail of the other services available at the facility, I did notice there was a full-service restaurant with a buffet and a state-of-the-art spa offering numerous treatments.

How to Eat in Costa Rica

If you’ve ever been to Costa Rica, you’re probably wondering if this is a trick question. As my friends and I enjoyed the beautiful countryside on our drive from the airport, I got a laugh out of the signs we kept passing. They all seemed to say the same thing. “Free and Clean Toilets” followed by “Typical Food.” I am not a picky eater and I am fortunate to have a stomach that will seemingly handle anything, so the one thing that I never research before I travel is the food. The mindset I have is, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Because my trips are always so active, energy and sustenance is key. I try to always be prepared with non-perishable snacks, protein powder and fruit and nut bars to make sure I have something at all times. When it comes to meals however, I eat whatever the locals eat and make sure to never eat the same thing twice. In Costa Rica, my rules were broken. The options were usually rice and beans or beans and rice. I learned very quickly, that “Typical Food” consisted of a small green salad, rice, beans, plantains and a form of protein. Most menus won’t tell you what typical food consists of. If you are having a typical plate it with a piece of chicken, you would just order “Casada de Pollo.” (Married with Chicken) - and you just know that the marriage to chicken is that of beans, rice, salad and plantains. My variety in Costa Rica came in the form of pork chops, fried chicken, marinated chicken and 1,000 different fruits. If a balanced meal is what you require when traveling, resorts like “The Springs Hotel and Spa” had a vast variety of healthy options as well as local choices. It was definitely difficult for me to keep a balanced diet but for me it was worth every calorie.

An enchanted forest

Cloud forest is one of the constant Costa Rica google search results that insists its way onto your itinerary, and although it’s not what you pictured--because the forest of fluffy clouds you knew wasn’t realistic really isn’t--it’s definitely a necessary, unique experience. Should you show up in flip flops and white shorts for what is actually a very wet and humid three-hour hike, you can rent roots for a couple dollars at St. Helena (and accept that your shorts aren’t coming out white). We crossed our fingers, threw foreign coins of still undetermined worth in fountains, and wished on stars presumably behind the clouds for a monkey or sloth sighting, but only came upon spiders and other varieties of insects on our path. The mystical and secluded nature of the park created an oddly comfortable eery though, and time exploring for the sake of exploring was rewarding in the midst of organizing endless modes of transportation between attractions and tours. There’s something empowering about stomping your way through a foreign forest with no idea where you’re going or whose boots you’re wearing only that you’re in control and have kilometers of unexplored territory to see and feel and experience for yourself. And know that you’re hidden amongst clouds and walking through them with no regard for what they’re hiding on the outside. That makes for a hike unlike any other.

Flying in the Mist

In the cloud forest of Costa Rica, my girlfriend and I ventured to one of the world’s longest zip line tours. Heights and I have an uneasy relationship so I was a bit nervous about the experience at first but working up from short, relatively low lines to longer, higher lines helped build my confidence. For me, travel is all about trying new things and going beyond your normal limits. This photo was snapped after our final zip line, a monster 1/2-mile long line some 400 feet in the area through a thick, swirling mist. Due to gusty conditions, my girlfriend and I went together to ensure we had enough momentum to reach the other side. Locking my legs around her waist, her pulleys were flinging oil and mud from the steel line all over my head and face. My expression proves that my fear of heights didn’t win on that day!

Boutique Hostel

I’ve stayed in a lot of hostels, but Room2Board beats the rest. It may be even better than most hotels. With floor to ceiling wrap around windows and a view of the ocean, the private rooms are backpacking luxury. The hostel has two bars, a kitchen, plenty of commons space and even a large outdoor pool with a giant movie screen above it. Room2Board is definitely THE best place to stay in Jaco, hands down.

Fresh Roasted Coffee Beans at Volio

Your nose will lead you to the little storefront of Volio Coffee-- a treasure chest for coffee lovers in Central San Jose. The beans offered here are the real deal and the best I have tasted in Costa Rica. I loaded up on bags filled with warm, freshly roasted beans to bring back to my friends and family at home. If you find yourself in downtown San Jose, don’t miss this place.

Authentic local spot for traditional Costa Rican fare

When you are an American, slightly cynical of friendly strangers, it can do you good to trust a local smile and let them lead you to their favorite place to lunch. This is what we learned! Downtown La Fortuna in Costa Rica (the small town that sits just a few miles below Arenal Volcano National Park) has many restaurants, but due to tourism being the main business here, it is hard to find a restaurant that services the locals and dishes out classic Costa Rican food. But, we found it - thanks to a local man who found us wandering the streets then offered us a taxi, a tour and then a place to eat...and who then was our waiter!? This is as local as it gets. Soda Sabor TICO restaurant, just across the street from La Fortuna’s “Central Park” serves up cheap, yet surprisingly good Talapia with beans and rice, beef and chicken dishes and other traditional Costa Rican options. This is a no frills spot to grab a cold beer or lunch and revel at the diversity of patrons who have sought this place out - everyone from backpackers to local teenagers to the grandmother who seems to run the place.

Dancing across the suspension bridge, almost 2 miles of walkways high above the Monteverde canopy

The realization of how far up you are can be daunting, when you stop to think about how tall the trees of the rainforest are and that you are way above them. The bridges sway as you cross, it is mostly silent except for our footsteps then you can suddenly be assaulted by a cacophony of parrots overhead or below, making their presence felt. The paths and bridges are well maintained as the forest is constantly working on reclaiming its territory. If you stop long enough you can imagine being alone in the world because this walk is easily self guided, but someone is always not far in front of or behind you. How do you think I got this picture of myself dancing across the bridge?

Easy Hike & Icy Plunge

The La Fortuna Waterfall is an easy hike (down, much harder soaking wet on the way up!) to the base of a breathtaking water fall. Jump in the icy water for an invigorating swim at the base of the thunderous falls!

Arenal Hanging Bridges

Costa Rica has quite the diverse ecosystem, and a great way to see it first hand is a walk through the rainforest using the Hanging Bridges. Along the way you’ll see countless species of vegetation, birds, and if lucky enough, monkeys. However slow or fast you go along the paths, you will certainly gain a better appreciation for the rainforest.

Majestic Costa Rica

Just outside of La Fortuna, this incredible waterfall lies deep within a valley that requires going down a few hundred steps to reach. It is worth the trek though. You can swim here, but do so cautiously, as this waterfall is extremely powerful. The water is cool and refreshing, and a perfect way to relax for a couple hours in the heat of the day.

Hotel Kioro in Costa Rica

This shot was my view from hotel room at Hotel Kioro at base of Arenal Volcano.... Beautiful lush grounds on 20 acres of indigenous flora and fauna. I was here for some work shooting a piece on Arenal, and we were fortunate enough to stay at the Kioro. It is luxury, no doubt. Not your standard hostel or budget hotel, but sometimes, it is great to spend a bit more and enjoy the surroundings in luxury! A room will set you back about $300, but you will be immersed in beautiful food, amenities, proximity to outdoor pursuits, ziplines, hot springs; Not to mention a surreal view of a classic cone volcano right in front of your room! Day or night, weather permitting.. and the evening sometimes reveals lava streams down the volcano, along with the rumblings of car size rocks being shot out of the cinder cone.....

Ziplining in Arenal

I had NEVER seen so much greenery in my life... If you’re planning to go ziplining in Costa Rica, I highly recommend having the experience in Arenal. The air is so fresh and pure, the plants and trees are so full and healthy and the view is mesmerizing. Tip: Rumor has it you can see both Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal in entirety on a clear, sunny day.


Have you been here? Tell us about it below!

I Paid For A Hostel, But Stayed At A Resort

$353 for 4 nights included 3 beds, a bathroom, a walk in closet, a hanging closet, a shower big enough for a giraffe, a refrigerator and 3 private outdoor chair hammocks right next to a heated pool with a swim up bar and a shared outdoor kitchen…. I have to admit, when I first started looking for a place to stay in La Fortuna, I was immediately drooling over the thought of sitting at a swim up bar in a hot spring with a piña colada staring at the Arenal Volcano. After a lot of research, I came to learn that this only exists about 15 km outside of town and would be totally isolated. In a search on Kayak, I stumbled upon the Arenal Hostel Resort. Initially, I passed on the idea of a hostel because I was going to have all of my film equipment and preferred a private room at the time. BUT…they had a sick picture of a swim up bar, hammocks for days and a youthful vibe. I was enticed to look into it further and glad I did, because they offered private rooms. Christian, the hostel manager, treated us like family while Fabio, the bartender took care of us like an old friend. The best and most beautiful thing about the Arenal Hostel Resort is that it is right in the heart of La Fortuna tucked behind a delicious fried chicken window and the best typical food restaurant I’ve ever eaten at. We became friends with our guides from the day that we would run into in town in the evening out having drinks or dinner with friends. The grocery store was one block away which was awesome not only for the food, but because the hostel allowed for us to bring our own drinks to the pool. Bike Arenal was 4 blocks away and with affordable bike rentals, we were never left without transportation (our walk in closet also housed our 3 bikes for the trip).

Pura Vida!

Within the grounds of the Arenal Observatory Lodge in Costa Rica, there are several paths of varying length that can be walked. At the entrance, you will be handed a map showing you all of these paths. One of these takes you down to this magnificent waterfall. Go for a swim to cool off after the walk, or sit back and take in the view.

Plumes and Rumble

Imagine half the mountain side being stripped by hot lava and condensation still billowing from the crater mouth with a soft rumbling every now and then - and you have found the Lafortuna Volcano in Costa Rica. Claimed to be dormant, I could have been fooled. Visit the hot springs at Baldi Hotel Resort & Spa with seven different pools and seven different temperatures as hot water makes it way down the mountain. Enjoy a massage amongst the sulfur smell of natural springs. Amazing!

You can always pull the car over

Like many adventurers, when we landed in San Jose our first plan was to get out of the city and into the country, which required a four or five hour taxi ride no matter which direction we chose. And when you leave the airport, you’ll see the taxi drivers anticipate this. When you’re going to be in the car this long, you obviously want to go with a friendly, helpful driver...not someone pushy or forceful, because you’re going to know each other by the end. And many a Costa Rica frequenter calls that same cabbie up every time they land after forging a friendship. While our driver Rudy was informative and enthusiastic about his homeland, what we loved more than the recommendations was his willingness to pull over. Although the drive to Arenal is beautifully scenic, it’s also curvy and bumpy, and we needed air every hour or two. This became the perfect opportunity to see our first landmarks, to stop at waterfalls and bridges over creeks rather than gas stations or restaurants, and why not? This route’s a part of your trip, too and these are pieces of the whole gorgeous, exotic country. Don’t hesitate to pull the car over, whether a taxi or a rental, to take in the air and the view and the sound of rushing water and to know you’ve arrived and that even more is on the way. You’ll be ready to take this country on when you don’t wait five hours to see and smell and feel it around you.

Lake Arenal Costa Rica

Stayed at Arenal Observatory Lodge located in the national park. View of the volcano was ever changing because of the cloud formations, add the sunlight and it was pretty stunning.Many trails to hike with levels for all people. This one was over a huge gorge and the solitude just made me bust out a yoga pose. Namaste

Kayaking at Club Rio, The Springs Resort & Spa, Costa Rica

Club Rio Outdoor Center and Wildlife Preserve is located in The Springs Resort & Spa near the base of the Arenal Volcano in northwest Costa Rica. For $99 USD, you can opt for the mult-adventure package, which includes the Springs’ hot springs (with three varying temperatures - all incredible!), a Costa Rican lunch, access to hiking trails and a wildlife sanctuary, and a choice of two other activities, one of which is kayaking. If you’re a first-time river kayaker, there’s no need to worry: the rapids are all Level 1. Though I defintely wobbled down some of the more slippery spots in the river, no one in our group fell out, so you’ll probably be pretty safe, too. But, if kayaking isn’t your thing, you can also go tubing alongside the kayaking group - no paddle needed. Loved it here - gorgeous river, comfortable boats, very skilled guides. The atmosphere is somewhat targeted to North American travelers, but their mission is unmistakably Costa Rican: to preserve the animals, the land, the waters, and the beauty of this stunning little country. Also, if you’re interested, we went with TAM Travel, a local Costa Rican tour operator. They arranged everything for us!

Feed the Toucans at Club Rio, Costa Rica

If you’ve ever wanted a family of toucans to jump on your arms or eat mushed papaya out of your hands, Club Rio’s Wildlife Center is definitely the place to do it. For one, their Wildlife Preserve (which is part of the larger Club Rio Outdoor Center), works in conjunction with the Ministry of the Environment and Energy to rescue and offer a safe space for animals that have been stolen by poachers or kept as illegal pets. All of their habitats are spacious, full of natural plants and animals, and well-cared for. All of the toucans are used to human interaction by now, too (because of their difficult pasts, they can never be returned to the wild), so when you enter their habitat, they’ll be ready to jump all over you in the hopes that you’ll let them nibble fresh papaya out of your hand. On top of the toucan awesomeness, you can also see PLENTY of cats (which is a huge plus in my cat-loving book): two pumas, eight ocelots, five margays, and one jaguarundi. We went with TAM Travel, a local Costa Rican tour operator. They arranged everything for us!

Fire in the Sky

Make sure to watch the sun rise or set over the Arenal Volcano—it’s simply magical. As we sat on our deck enjoying the last of the sunset I noticed a faint glow coming from the top of the Arenal Volcano. Initially we were excited as we thought we were about to witness an eruption—which had not occurred in over a year. Instead, we sat transfixed as we watched the full moon rise from the apex of the volcano and it seemed like Arenal was spitting a fireball across the night sky.

Arenal Volcano

Have you been here? Tell us about it below!

Arenal Volcano

Have you been here? Tell us about it below!

Stay - Arenal Volacno

This is the view from our room in Arenal, which had its own natural hot spring. This was the splurge of our trip, but the views were well worth it.

Arenal Volcano

We checked in to our hotel near the Arenal volcano and were sitting on the deck of our hotel and I was able to take this shot. It’s rare that the clouds completely clear off from the mountain and it didn’t last long but the view was stunning while it lasted.

An unusual sight...the volcano without its cloud cover.

Great hike over the lava rocks with views of the volcano and Lake Arenal.

Enjoying the Hot Springs!

After a fantastic day of adventure, which including zipling, river tubing, horseback riding, waterfall swimming, it was time to relax in the hot springs in Costa Rica!!!

Hiking Cerro Chato

We only stumbled across this hike because there was a photo of Cerro Chato, the lake carved into the crater of an old volcano, in our room. We hiked from Arenal Observatory Lodge for 2-3 hours, climbing straight up, over large jungle tree roots, over rocks and fallen trees, in slippery mud. It was beautiful, hiking through primary forest on the slope of a volcano, with the trail mostly by ourselves. We were rewarded with this view once we reached the top.

Leaves and Lizards Arenal Volcano Cabin Retreat

This amazing retreat, run by a fantastic married couple, is a must for those wanting the views of Arenal but not the tourism beat of La Fortuna. Located off the beaten path, this retreat houses its own farm, with the benefit being eating fresh milk and butter from the cows daily. Highly recommend taking the horse trek, which takes you through pastures and rain forest, to the retreats own private waterfall.

Hypnotic view of majestic volcano.

We could’ve sat there poolside all day staring at this volcano, watching it smolder into the early dusk hours. We just arrived at Nayara Hotel Spa and Gardens after a red eye flight so we planted ourselves on lounge chairs with a cocktail and just stared. Exotic birds fluttered about chirping sweet sounds of Pura Vida. Within minutes rainforest clouds rolled in. The air smelled clean, sweet and soon Arenal Volcano reappeared looking majestic as ever. So obviously we didn’t mind waiting for our room to be ready. The real treat is that we had this same view from our private balcony. I could wake up to this everyday. There’s something mesmerizing about any volcano but the nervous excitement of staying this close to an active one is quickly tamed by the peaceful beauty of the rainforest setting. We returned the following year to this same resort for another dose of volcanic magic.

ATV-ing Across The Countryside In Arenal

ATVing across the unspoiled countryside in Arenal Costa Rica on a beautiful day with good friends. It was adventurous and relaxing at the same time. We even went up to the base of the Arenal Volcano.

Sunrise in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

The volcano in Arenal spouts hourly, and provides visitors with enchanting views that change as night turns to day. The area has no shortage of accommodation services, with Tabacon Hot Springs being the flagship resort operator.

Hiking to La Fortuna Waterfall

Hiking down to swim at the base of La Fortuna waterfall was a highlight from our trip to Costa Rica a few years ago. The cold water feels wonderful on a hot afternoon and the view from the lookout point is breathtaking. Arenal is quite touristy - and even though there were other people around at La Fortuna, getting out into nature like this was a welcome escape from the center of town.

Zipline adrenaline in Costa Rica

A few hours north of San Jose, Costa Rica, are the small towns of La Fortuna and Arenal, which are known as the basecamp for many adventures such as rafting, mt biking, trekking, bird watching, hot springs and watching lava come off of Arenal Volcano at night. One of the coolest day trips is to zipline through old-growth rain forest 600 feet in the air. You’ll see and hear howler monkeys, see toucans and more... You’ll take a safety class with SKYTREK, get outfitted with helmets, gloves, and a harness before you take a tram up to the first of ten ziplines. You hook up, and the ride is breathtaking through the upper canopy of primal rain forest! Very safe and reputable company with a spotless track record. (506) 2479 9944 - After your zipline adventure, have dinner in the small town of Fortuna at one of the many small travel restaurants in the backpacker-esque town.... Then hit one of the famous natural hot springs just on the edge of town. A great one I have spent many a night soaking in is Tabacon. The springs will set you back about $40 USD, dinner included, but the quality is excellent compared to some of the other hot springs in the area. Remember to take a little camera/video to strap to your arm or chest while zipping down the lines!

Lovely, serene and inviting.

Arenal Springs Resort is lushly landscaped, quiet, fully sustainable and a convenient location from which to explore the northern area of Costa Rica.

Under The Volcano

There are no words for the sounds and life of a tropical evening beneath an active volcano. What began as a simple 10 day trip to what’s become a popular destination, has turned into a love affair that we find ourselves going back to...and missing when we leave. Off the beaten path lies the true Costa Rica and what the locals call “Pura Vida!” True, you might have to figure out how to lead a frog out of your room (or a snake while I stood on the bed and my husband called the front desk and then joined me) but that is what makes this place an adventure. Nothing can describe waking up before sunrise to the commotion of fellow travelers staring at the volcano giving a smoke show before it hides under the clouds. In this place I feel small but full of meaning. I feel like life is bigger than I it should be.

Hostel: 1, Hotel: 0

Arenal Backpacker’s Hostel beats most five star hotels in Costa Rica. You can purchase a private room, dormitory, or tent for less than 30 dollars. (Don’t assume the tents are the worst option simply because they are the cheapest: they include cushy and clean single mattresses). There’s a bar, free wi-fi, and a curvy pool with a swim-up bar; the staff is friendly; and the place attracts people from all over the world. The best part: you will be smack in front of the stunning Volcán Arenal. Warning: although the hostel is inexpensive, the restaurants on the main road are pricey. Venture to one of the side streets for a tasty and cheap bite.

My first and last group hostel

I love that AFAR aims to capture the moments that make travel so amazing, because I preach that concept everyday, but this one made my top 5, and not because it was special. No, my best friend and my trip to Costa Rica was special for many reasons--our first trip with just the two of us, therapy for break ups, neither of us had ever been, etc--but our first stop at Arenal provided one of those travel stories that made this trip distinguishably ours. Aiming to see each major attraction in just a week, we only allotted one night in Arenal, and everything went wrong. It was too cloudy to get a good view of the volcano, there was of course no lava on either day we could’ve seen it, and we elected for a group room at our hostel to stay on budget. That’s where we went wrong--my first night in a room with eight girls and therefore six strangers was interrupted with Becca yelling my name over and over to get my attention only to realize I wasn’t the girl in front of her peeing on the floor in the middle of the night, I was still asleep in oblivion. You heard me, a girl came down from her bunk, squatted, peed right there on the floor, and went back to bed as her urine spread to everyone’s luggage. We flipped the lights on, alerted the girls of this disaster, and dropped our jaws when they turned over and kept sleeping completely disinterested. In the morning we watched all of our roomies walk around barefoot having forgotten the incident entirely. Just another day of backpacking.

Paradise found

On our Honeymoon we found this gorgeous gem- Arenas del Mar, the nature reserve is super eco-conscious (seriously), beautiful, friendly and fun staff. Plenty of great access for exploring the coast and rainforest, constant close encounters with monkeys, sloths and lizards. Great surf in the afternoons and coastal horseback riding. It’s a little bit of a splurge but if you want to be “in” the jungle with a little luxury and spoiling this is the place to be!

The Things You See When You Stop and Look

Driving out from Corozalito to La Fortuna our tour the guide said look over there…”those are Howler monkeys!” At first our reaction was “where?” and “I can’t see it.” So, we made the bus driver stop and open the doors of the bus, and we all filed out with our cameras in our hands. We looked around and saw them coming. Every couple of minutes a monkey would walk towards us on the power lines. They would start making noises and some even threw things down at us. The monkeys were spread out on the tree looking down at us. This was a wonderful experience. In Costa Rica, everywhere you go you see miracles around you. We were in the center of true diversity. We are so used to our busy lives that stopping and looking around becomes a challenge for us. Traveling through Costa Rica has taught me to appreciate nature and unite with it. Learning AFAR, in partnership with Global Explorers, promotes cross-cultural exchange by sending students on trips to experience other parts of the world. Sponsorship assistance from the Pearson Foundation, Schlumberger, and Wimmer Solutions makes the trips possible. Donate at

Speeding through the Trees

Off a small country road we found this great zip line company. The experience starts with a hike up the mountain where we saw white faced monkeys, birds, and lots of other creatures. At the top we began our descent via zip line. It was a long course, and the speed and height was simultaneously frightening and exhilarating! Most of the ‘zips’ were single, but in this picture we were allowed to go tandem (which makes you move SO MUCH FASTER!) It was a really fun adventure.

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