Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Alajuela to Volcan Arenal

Before arriving in Costa Rica I had three preconceptions about the driving in this country: the roads are bad, there are no street signs and it is impossible to buy a decent map. After a day on the roads the jury is still out on the first; but the second two are definitely true.

We met a Dutch couple at breakfast that were at the end of their two week holiday driving around Cost Rica We picked up a few tips about what to do over the next two weeks.

After breakfast we had a quick look around Alajuela to get some money out of the cash machine (I’m a millionaire!) and a quick visit to the supermarcado. Apart from the essentials, the town didn’t seem to have a lot to offer the tourist.

We hit the Inter American Highway for the trip north to the Arenal Volcano. I don’t think there can be much pan-American freight if this is the main road! At least it is surfaced in tarmac, as were the roads we took for the rest of the journey to La Fortuna. The drive reminded me a lot of the Lake District back home. Lush green vegetation, rolling hills and of course rain.

We stopped for lunch along the way at a restaurant called Happy Lands. The owners were very genial and being the first guests from the UK and France they asked us to sign a wall of the restaurant along with a plethora of tourists from Spain, the US, Japan and assorted other places.

Scared off La Fortuna by the guide book (reputed to be full of hawkers and overly touristy) we decided to head up the gravel road to El Castillo and booked into the Cabinatas El Castillo Dorado. After checking into our cabin we went for a walk up the hill above the village, were we got some good views of the wildlife and the countryside. We went to bed to the sound of the village stream raging with rain water and seeing a lava from the Arenam volcano opposite glow red in the night sky. Perfecto!


  1. Looking forward to seeing the pics!

    Have you eaten lots of rice and beans?

  2. There has been rice and beans a-plenty so far!

    The food has been pretty good, but CR definitely isn't as cheap as Chile was when I went. The holiday is costing a bit more than I expected.