La Fortuna, San José, Pérez Zeledón, Costa Rica
When I Ended Up In a River Off A Dark HighwayThe first thing that everyone told me when I mentioned that I was leaving on a trip for Costa Rica was that the locals are very welcoming to Americans and everyone is very friendly. We rented our bikes from a local shop, Bike Arenal, from a sweet man named Alejandro. Not to long after asking what trails and roads were best to ride on, he was offering to ride along with us to show us some of La Fortuna's beauty. I told him the most important thing for me was to see the town the way the locals see it. He suggested after our bike ride, that we ditch the bikes and he would drive us to one of the best spots he knew. After a typical dinner, we loaded up into his van and he shut the door as my friend Tim said “now this is where we are driven off and become the next headline on CNN news.” We drove about 15 km outside of town where it was so dark that the stars looked like someone threw a jar of coins on the ground and shined high beam light on them.
Alejandro pulled over and said we are here as he parked his car on the side of the road with nothing else around. We left all of our belongings in the van and turned on 2 flashlights. He led us down a path and a set of stairs 5 minutes from where we parked the car. As we got closer, you could hear the sound of a rushing river. Alejandro suggested that we all hold hands due to the strength of the current.
We stepped very carefully as we made our way across. Candles were lit along the wall of rocks that had been placed there by all of the locals drinking Imperial (a Costa Rican beer) and floating in the pools that made up the Tabacon Hot River; a river that is naturally heated by magma from the Arenal Volcano.
Until the river cools off, all of the locals know that the Volcano is still brewing.