La Fortuna, Costa Rica

It was a long drive from the border, then we had to go up over the Continental Divide, and around a large, but very scenic, lake, to reach our hotel

La Fortuna de San Carlos is at the centre of an array of geological wonders. The nearby Arenal is Costa Rica's most active volcano, routinely bursting with lava and ash, and the Catarata de La Fortuna is a waterfall pouring from a seventy-meter cliff. The Tabacon Hot Springs are a relaxing intermission in the midst of the various spectacles. The weather was constant rain for the three days that we were there, and as the hotel was isolated, we had to eat in the hotel restaurant every day.

Our one trip out, which happily coincided with a brief respite from the rain, was to the "Swinging Bridges". The Arenal Hanging Bridges (Mistico Park) are a series of suspension bridges in the Volcan Arenal National Park area, offering views of Lake Arenal and Volcan Arenal. The bridges form part of a 2-mile (3 kilometre) interpretive trail through a private rainforest reserve. I do not normally like a guide, but I thought that one in fact did need one here. And our man was very helpful at pointing things out in the rain forest, that we would never have seen otherwise.

Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is located on the Arenal fault in a tropical transition wet forest. It is located at 600 m. above sea level, and it concentrates 250 ha of mature forest, with an annual rainfall of 3.500-6.000 m.m. and a relative humidity of 88-92%. The trail is 3 km and allows tourists to walk on 15 bridges; 6 of which are hanging. This is a highly diverse forest since it lies between the boundary of highland and lowland forest, integrating species from both areas. Through years of evolution, flora of the lowland rainforest, typical from Sarapiquí and Tortuguero, had an altitudinal migration to 500-600 m high, and flora of the highlands did not descend to less than 300 m.

At Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, the junction between the two types of ecosystems forming a transitional vegetation strip with high biodiversity occurred. In this forest we can observe both highland bird species, like bellbirds. and species of trees like yema huevo, cirri and pilón. We can also see lowland species like toucans and Crested guans, and trees like caobilla, fruta dorada and maquenque. The treetop is a diverse and almost unknown environment to science; it is a space that offers a completely different perspective than the one seen from the ground, with various species of epiphytic plants, birds and butterflies.


Hotel Arenal Springs Resort

9.4 on and on TripAdvisor 87 rooms. Offering an outdoor pool and a restaurant, Hotel Arenal Springs Resort & Spa is located in Fortuna, 20 minutes’ drive from Arenal Volcano site. You can enjoy the views of Arenal Volcano (when it is not raining) and the garden from all the accommodations.

As a well traveled European I am used to a hotel wanting an impression of my credit card on arrival. However here they take it a step further: they want you to actually sign a blank slip. In other words, they can add whatever they like to your bill, as you have signed it before you have even bought anything. They can add anything, whether you have bought it or not . When I refused to sign this blank cheque, the supercilious check-in receptionist was a bit put out , then without warning produced a pair of scissors and removed the plastic bracket with my room number from my wrist that he had just put on. I had no idea what was going on. He thought it very funny. I would have left there and then, but our guide had already left, so that was not an option. I insisted on seeing the duty manager, who agreed that it was unreasonable, so I stayed without the need for the blank cheque. I have no idea why people agree to sign such a dodgy document

We booked a junior suite, but what we got was a standard hotel room. Apparently they call all their hotel rooms "Junior Suites" even though they are clearly not. Small with one easy chair. It then rained for the next three days!

What the hotel is selling

And from the Hotel at Arenal it was a few hours drive to San Jose Airport, and the delights of Business Class back to London, and on to Alicante. The boys say that this is what happens when she gets free champagne


Central America 2017