January 10, 2008
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Then back on the road going north and west slowly through more winding, narrow roads. It was rare that I got up to 60 kph for any length of time. Everything was very lush, though there were few flowers of any size. Every few minutes there would be a fast river and a one lane bridge. At one of them, children were jumping 15-20' into the water.
I managed to get lost once or twice, but eventually found signs pointing to Arenal Volcano and probably only added 20 or less minutes to the drive.
As I approached the community of La Fortuna and Arenal beyond it, I was surprised by the mountain's size. It dominates the horizon for a long distance and looms over the town that sprang up since the volcano went active in 1968, destroyed the community of Arenal, and became a major tourist destination.
It didn't take long to go through the small crowded town of La Fortuna, then drive along the base of Arenal Volcano past hotels, hot springs, spas resorts and canopy tours. My hotel, Linda Vista del Norte, was on the far side - the active side of the volcano, off the highway along 11 kilometers of rough, barely improved road.
About 3 kilometers before the Hotel, there was a small fast river and I stopped to take some photos of the mountain. Some people never see the top during their whole stay, so I didn't want to waste the clear view. Pyroclastic flow (avalanches of hot ash, gases, and rocks) could be seen near the top. I watched for about 15 minutes, took photographs, and collected a few pieces of lava stone (there is no tradition of bad luck for taking lava from Costa Rica).
copyright 2008 by Keith Stokes.