Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Volcan Arenal Parque Nacionale

We spent today in the Parque Nacionale which surrounds the volcano. The volcano was dormant until 1968 when an explosion and lava flow killed 80 people and 45,000 cattle. The volcano has been gurgling away ever since and you can see a plume of steam constantly rising from the volcano and hear rocks cracking and falling away from the side of the volcano.

We hiked through the rain forest to the 1968 lava flow. We saw colonies of ants carrying food back to their nests, birds of prey circling above, other Central American birds in the trees and a strange plant that curls up its leaves when it thinks it is being eaten by an animal or being tapped by a human. It was pretty amazing to be standing at the foot of an active volcano and on a relatively recent lava flow.

The weather seems to be very changeable, one minute the volcano is shrouded in cloud and you can’t see it. Five minutes later it has stopped raining and you, and the volcano, are bathed in sunshine.

I woke during the night to see my most dramatic view of the volcano. Red lava was spewing from the top of the crater silhouetting a plume of steam rising into the night’s sky. There were also two trickles of lava running down the side of the volcano. An amazing sight. I was grateful to be the on the opposite side of the valley!

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