April 8, 2008

Day three

We awoke in the morning to this incredible view of Arenal volcano:

The clouds didn't leave the peak of the volcano the entire time we in the vicinity, but we could frequently see red explosions and tumbling rocks raising dust and smoke.

We started our day with a trip into the small city of La Fortuna, to allow people to try to get money (which didn't work in most cases), and access to an internet cafe. Then we headed out to La Fortuna Falls for a swim. There is a hike down the side of a mountain to get to the water, which is helped a bit by the more than 370 steps - uneven, crumbling and treacherous steps that switchback across the very steep side of the mountain. Once at the bottom, the intrepid visitor is greeted by the incredible view of the waterfall:

and the opportunity to swim in the pristine cool water. We were warned to stay clear of swimming too close to the water, because the weight of the water coming down is deadly. There was a crowd there, and it was difficult to find a secluded area to swim, but we were so hot and tired after the climb down that it was worth the effort.

Then we had to face the climb back up.

In the afternoon we headed for Lake Arenal for a boat tour and a swim in the lake. The lake is man-made, and covers the remains of the town of Arenal, which was destroyed by the volcano in 1968. Apparently the church steeple can still be seen when the water level is low, but we didn't venture into that area of the lake to see if we could spot it. The lake is home to a wide variety of birds and mammals, including egrets and cormorants. I was very glad that I took my SLR camera, but I am still unhappy with the magnification of my zoom lense. I just can't get close enough to the wildlife to get a good shot without disturbing them.

1 comment:

Leah said...

wow, what a trip, susan! no wonder you're exhausted! the water fall pics are so lovely. what a treat to get to swim there.