Sunday, January 25, 2009

Costa Rica - Day 3

Finally, we have a chance to explore a town and not just a forest. La Fortuna- named for being narrowly missed in the violent (Mt. St. Helens style) eruption of 1968, is a small town. I would say smaller or equal to my hometown back in California. Like most tourist driven areas, there are many shops with handy craft souvenirs, however I know better. Most of these wares are crafted in China with a large logo across the front that reads: COSTA RICA~ PURA VIDA! I bring my tourism dollar to another country in an effort to view the locals, their crafts and support a sometimes failing economy. So today the souvenirs will wait.

It is raining, but that goes with territory of a rain forest… we are well prepared to be in the rain so hopefully it will keep the crowds down. Something else is calling to me besides the shopping. Something that is almost free. La Catarata, or waterfall, of Arenal. This photo-fabulous fall is over 150 meters of water pouring from a pinpoint off a cliff into a gorge. The hike down is tough, steep and muddy but so very worth every step. The aqua colored pools below are calling my name. Unprepared without a suit, I zipped off the bottom half of my pants and walked in to about my thighs. If this wasn’t such a tourist hole, I might have unzipped everything, put the camera on the shore and went for it anyway. We then ate a very satisfying picnic lunch out in the middle of water, resting on a boulder. Accidentally, I fed a fish when I dropped a cracker crumb into the water. Calling all of his fish-friends, I soon had a school of medium sized fish dashing and swirling about our feet.

Later, we were shuttled to Baldí Hot Springs, the main competition for Tobacón a few kilometers down the road. The man-made and spring fed pools ranged from 88° F to 116° F. We found privacy at every turn. We felt as if we the only ones there. Salsa music rattled from old speakers while bartenders at three swim-up bars mixed $10.00 concoctions. Baldí is not as natural, but possibly more fun than Tobacón.

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