1st August 2016
Our Latin America consultant James continues his recce in Costa Rica. View our Costa Rica itineraries here.
The journey from Tortuguero to Arenal is a long one - 6 hours door to door - so a dip in the picturesque hot springs at Tabacon was a most welcome way to end the day. Costa Rica's best known volcano is a majestic sight which you can hike around but cannot get too close to because of potential eruptions. The day hike I took was to Rio Celeste where volcanic minerals make the river run a beautiful turquoise colour and the bumpy ride from Arenal is well worth it once you reach the waterfall.
The following day I headed to Monteverde via a scenic boat ride across Lake Arenal. This cloud forest reserve is surrounded by rolling green hills rich in vegetation, reminiscent of the Coffee Zone in Colombia. I did the Sky Trek which consists of several zip lines and is a fun way to explore the canopy. For those not so keen on dangling from a wire, then the Sky Tram (cable car) and Sky Walk (hanging bridges) also offer great vantage points.
Then it was on to Manuel Antonio National Park where jungle encroaches on the beach with panoramic views of the Pacific Coast. The park itself is particularly touristy, but the guides are excellent and they bring a periscope so that you can get an eyeful of the snakes, lizards, sloths, monkeys and birds dwelling in the tropical forest.
A boat ride through mangroves brought me to my last stop - the Osa Peninsula - widely regarded as the most authentic destination in Costa Rica. A wet and muddy hike through Corcovado National Park made the wildlife more difficult to spot, but it was great to be in an area where far fewer people tread the trails. The snorkelling and whale watching excursion on a sunny morning at Caño Island was a great way to end the trip.
As they say in this wonderful country...¡pura vida!