It took me the entire 20 minute taxi ride from the La Fortuna airstrip to our hotel to recover from the terror of our tiny puddle jumper of a plane. But the minute I stepped out of that taxi at our hotel and took one look around at where we were, I didn’t even remember the plane. It was one of the most beautiful places I’d ever been.
We arrived around lunch time, dropped our bags in our room, and headed down to the poolside restaurant for lunch. And this, my friends, was the view:
The Arenal Kioro Hotel is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. It is absolutely beautiful. Breathtakingly beautiful. And the hotel itself is equally as beautiful.
My favorite part of the hotel is that it had these hot springs that you could actually sit in and relax after a long day. Amazing! I’m trying to figure out how to rig something like this up in our backyard. So far, Chris isn’t optimistic.
I took a little video tour of the hotel for you all. But then I freaked out some of the guests, so it stops really abruptly. But at least you can see where we were…
Our room was really, really nice, too. Each room at the resort had its own hot tub in the room, a full view of the volcano, and top of the line eco-friendly features. My favorite was that the only way to turn power on in your room was to insert your room key into this little holder by the front door. So, when you are ready to leave, you take your key out of the holder and the power in your room goes out to make sure they are saving power when no one is in the room. It was such a cool, easy to use, practical feature. I have also tried talking Chris into installing one in our house, but, again, he’s not optimistic.
We spent the first day relaxing by the pool, and then had a very luxurious dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was spectacular. So spectacular that I didn’t even pause to take pictures. Sorry, kids.
It was the second day in La Fortuna that was my favorite, though. We got up really early and were picked up by a car and a tour guide. They drove us about 15 minutes down the road from our hotel to the Arenal Hanging Bridges. If I had to pick my favorite excursion on our trip, this would probably be it. It was awesome! We hiked through the rainforest and crossed over eight large, suspension hanging bridges that gave incredible views of the rainforest.
It was a beautiful four hour hike through the rainforest. We saw all kinds of animals and wildlife, thanks to our awesome guide. This is poisonous frog (I can’t remember the name!). He was super loud, but when we finally found him, he was tiny! Reminded me of Bean, actually.
We also saw lots of monkeys, a few sloths, lots of humming birds, and these little raccoon-like things that our guide told us the name of 15,000 times, but I could never understand what she was saying.
Oh, and did I mention the snakes? Yeah. We saw two viper snakes as we hiked.
Now, I have always been taught to leave snakes the heck alone. But, apparently, our guide had not been taught the same lesson. She grabbed our cameras and crawled up within a couple feet of each viper and started snapping away. She never touched them (duh!) or seemed to bother them, but she got close enough to take a great picture. It was crazy!
(Speaking of our guide, if you ever find yourself in La Fortuna on a hanging bridge tour, do yourself a favor and request Indira as your guide. Best guide I’ve ever had for any kind of anything. She was so darn smart!)
I am notoriously afraid of heights. Don’t like ‘em. Don’t do ‘em. No way, no how. I keep my feet on the ground. But this was too good to miss. So before each hanging bridge, I’d get myself all psyched up to walk out on these incredibly high, wobbly bridges. I found the Rocky theme song to be particularly inspiring…
I also found talking in a British accent to be oddly soothing…
But as scared as I was to walk out on those bridges, it was totally worth it for the views!
Can you see the bridge in the center of this picture? That’s the “lower bridge.”
Now, do you see that bridge at the tip top of this picture? That’s the “high bridge.” I thought I was going to pass out when our guide showed it to us.
But it was views like this spectacular waterfall that made me keep going…
By the time our rainforest hike ended, it was lunch time. Chris and I came back to the hotel and had lunch at that same pool restaurant and then spent the afternoon being completely lazy. It was cloudy out and so we sat in the room and read for a couple hours, then headed down to the spa for volcanic mud facials. I had to really convince Chris to do it, but he loved it! It was awesome! When we finished at the spa, the weather had cleared up a bit and so we spent sunset sitting in one of the hot springs pools, drinking pina coladas and talking about how lucky we were, how happy we were, how relaxed we were, and how much we missed the kids.
It was maybe the best day of the entire trip.
Well…until that one day in our next stop, Quepos, where we upgraded from facials to Swedish massages next to the Pacific and stayed in the nicest hotel yet. I’ll show you that one tomorrow!