Finally feeling rested, we got a leisurely start on the road to La Fortuna. With slightly better directions in hand, we actually found ourselves on an established, albeit rough road. The going was quick by Costa Rican standards, and before long we found ourselves at the overlook, peering over Lago Arenal at the stately volcano.
Shortly thereafter, traffic was at a dead stop, when we realized that the grouping of cars was staring at a heard of coati, begging drivers for treats. We joined right in, taking pictures and blocking traffic, watching the little creatures snack on bugs and eat some handouts from the tourists.
Another hour drive on smooth pavement led us through ever more tropical forests and soon we’d arrived at the National Park, just too late to justify the entrance fee to the park, so instead, we headed into town, in search of accommodation. The information office suggested a nearby hostel might allow us to camp, but when we arrived, the host declined. However, the rooms were inexpensive, bright, and clean, so we decided to stay anyway.
By this point, we’d used up most of the afternoon, so we decided to head to the local water hole tucked under the bridge. We got impressively lost considering we had to drive right over the river in order to get lost in the first place, but soon, we’d parked on the side of the road and hiked down to the water. The small waterfall pooled up clear water with a rope swing overhead and so we swung in again and again, soaking up the warm clean water.
At some point, a local with a snorkel mask gestured us over, and we stuck our faces in the water to see dozens of fish swimming around in the lovely pools. Later, an expat couple showed up and we got to chattig where we learned that for their local two bedroom, two bathroom home, they pay $170 a month in rent, their living expenses usually well under $500. They come to the swing almost daily and then head to the hot springs to wrap up the evening. Jealous doesn’t quite cover it.
Just as we were leaving, Ben took a tumble on the river rocks, slicing his foot and leaving him with some serious bruising. We headed back to the hostel to clean it up and get ready for dinner. Then, we consumed our first plate of comida tipica (rice, beans, potatoes, and chicken/beef), bought Emily’s birthday gift, and crashed into bed.