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Old 03-30-2013, 07:49 PM   #91
tufbuf
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Great shots!!
Fico looks so much more grown up with his beard!!
One guide told us before that facial hair on male guides were not allowed. I wonder if rules changed...
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:40 PM   #92
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Next stop was the Corsicana Pineapple Plantation which was great. Our guide was entertaining as well as informative and the tour was educational and fun. So far Costa Rica has really impressed me with their level of tourist activities.



We drove through the fields to learn how pineapples are grown and then to the packing plant to see the operations. It was very interesting. Did you know that ripe pineapples float? I didn't either.





At the end we were treated to delicious pineapple drinks.



From here we drove to Hotel Arenal Manoa which was very pretty and efficiently run. We each got beautiful rooms facing the volcano but it was soon too dark to see it.



Yes, that's a plant in the bathroom! lol





Everyone was really tired from the long day's activities and most went to their rooms after dinner to relax. La Chica and I decided to check out the resorts hot springs which were a short walk from our rooms. The roads were sort of windy and not well lit but we knew from the map if we kept to the left, that we'd get there just fine and we did. And what a delight! We had all 3 pools to ourselves. There was an older couple there but they weren't swimming. It was heaven especially after a long day. One pool was very shallow - about 6 inches deep - for soaking your feet I guess? One was a very warm hot tub/whirlpool. But the third one was just right It was like a heated pool and had a swim up bar. I highly recommend visiting the hot springs when you get to Hotel Arenal Manoa.

The night was still warm and humid and we planned on drying as we walked back to our room. Of course we got lost... missed a turn somewhere. We stopped to ask an employee for directions and he told us to wait one second, radioed for a van to come get us which it did in record time and delivered us safely to our door This was my 2nd fav hotel of the trip. I only wish we had more "On Our Own Time" to enjoy it.
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Old 04-02-2013, 08:54 PM   #93
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One guide told us before that facial hair on male guides were not allowed. I wonder if rules changed...
If referring to an ABD guide, it is allowed. It states on the ABD site that they must be well groomed to have them, however. I read all that stuff extensively, as I am considering a transfer to ABD next year. (Although, I don't have to worry about facial hair lol).
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:02 PM   #94
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Just back from our trip. Wanted to just post a short comment today..I'm tired

My DD and I went zip lining, and it was AWESOME. I was pretty freaked out when I saw the first "real" run, but my DD had already gone ahead, so I couldn't chicken out. I am so glad I didn't! Quite a thrill for this over 50 lady )
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Old 04-06-2013, 12:07 PM   #95
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Just back from our trip. Wanted to just post a short comment today..I'm tired

My DD and I went zip lining, and it was AWESOME. I was pretty freaked out when I saw the first "real" run, but my DD had already gone ahead, so I couldn't chicken out. I am so glad I didn't! Quite a thrill for this over 50 lady )
Welcome back! So glad you had a great trip! Can't wait to hear more. And I felt the same way when I went ziplining in Hawaii! Once you get past the first run, it's much easier. Glad you did it! (From another over 50 lady!)

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Old 04-06-2013, 04:08 PM   #96
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Welcome back! Glad you had fun. I was freaked out by the first zip run too but I have a slight height thing and thought it was just me And tired - yes! It's amazing how much was packed into those few days. Not as much resting as I was counting on.

errggh I feel bad I've been so slow on this. Busy, busy, busy .. booking a cruise

Speaking of zip lining...

Day 4

Up early and on the bus to go ziplining in the Arenal rainforest.

This map gives you an idea of what the course looks like. Let me know if it should be bigger.



Like I said earlier: 7 total lines, first two are baby lines and you can still opt out if you want on these but the 3rd is the point of no return.
You ride in open air gondola things to the top - about a 20 min ride, nice and relaxing.




and pretty high up!



This is the third line - the one that really means it. It was easy. I'm 50 something too and had no problems. A few of the grandparents in our group did it too although one grandparents/grandsons unit stayed back at the hotel to enjoy the pools and get some rest. But I just say that to point out that you do have options. None of this is mandatory.



But it did run late. Very late. We rushed back to the hotel to drop off the people who weren't coming to La Fortuna. La Chica, myself and 3 others went to the town with Fico to look around and hopefully take in some local culture.

It was very small but active. Easy to navigate. The center had a lovely park with some signage.



We ate lunch here based on Fico's recommendations. We enjoyed an excellent casado - a traditional Costa Rican meal of rice, beans, plantains, salad, chicken though I had vegetarian.



Some quick shopping and we had to get back on the bus, back to the hotel. We stopped in on the Local craft demonstration being given by members of a native tribe whose name escapes me right now. Only the grandparents/grandsons unit that stayed behind during ziplining were there which was too bad because it was a nice demonstration and well presented. But I understand ... it's hard to do everything, especially with kids and the pace had been very hectic.

Back to our rooms to change for the Hidalgo Hot Springs where we soaked in progressively hotter pools while sipping tropical cocktails under the stars This was a great way to end a very busy day. The kids had so much fun and the adults were able to relax, chat, rest Despite being together all day long, we really hadn't had time to talk to one another so it was nice to compare notes and enjoy each other's company. Dinner was very good. Definitely a highlight of the trip.

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Old 04-07-2013, 01:02 AM   #97
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Welcome back! Glad you had fun. I was freaked out by the first zip run too but I have a slight height thing and thought it was just me And tired - yes! It's amazing how much was packed into those few days. Not as much resting as I was counting on.

errggh I feel bad I've been so slow on this. Busy, busy, busy .. booking a cruise

Speaking of zip lining...

Day 4

Up early and on the bus to go ziplining in the Arenal rainforest.

This map gives you an idea of what the course looks like. Let me know if it should be bigger.

Like I said earlier: 7 total lines, first two are baby lines and you can still opt out if you want on these but the 3rd is the point of no return.
You ride in open air gondola things to the top - about a 20 min ride, nice and relaxing.

and pretty high up!

This is the third line - the one that really means it. It was easy. I'm 50 something too and had no problems. A few of the grandparents in our group did it too although one grandparents/grandsons unit stayed back at the hotel to enjoy the pools and get some rest. But I just say that to point out that you do have options. None of this is mandatory.

But it did run late. Very late. We rushed back to the hotel to drop off the people who weren't coming to La Fortuna. La Chica, myself and 3 others went to the town with Fico to look around and hopefully take in some local culture.

It was very small but active. Easy to navigate. The center had a lovely park with some signage.

We ate lunch here based on Fico's recommendations. We enjoyed an excellent casado - a traditional Costa Rican meal of rice, beans, plantains, salad, chicken though I had vegetarian.

Some quick shopping and we had to get back on the bus, back to the hotel. We stopped in on the Local craft demonstration being given by members of a native tribe whose name escapes me right now. Only the grandparents/grandsons unit that stayed behind during ziplining were there which was too bad because it was a nice demonstration and well presented. But I understand ... it's hard to do everything, especially with kids and the pace had been very hectic.

Back to our rooms to change for the Hidalgo Hot Springs where we soaked in progressively hotter pools while sipping tropical cocktails under the stars This was a great way to end a very busy day. The kids had so much fun and the adults were able to relax, chat, rest Despite being together all day long, we really hadn't had time to talk to one another so it was nice to compare notes and enjoy each other's company. Dinner was very good. Definitely a highlight of the trip.
What was the name of the place you ate lunch? Sorry, the picture is small on my phone & I can't make out the name.

I loved the little central square area. The church with the volcano behind it, is still one of my favorite pictures we took.
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Old 04-07-2013, 09:08 AM   #98
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Restaurante Bamboo La Casada - it was right off that center park.
Fico had pointed it out as one of the places to grab a bite and it looked promising so we took a chance. We weren't disappointed. It was the perfect lunch spot and Fico and Jorge ended up eating there too so that just confirmed it.

Can you post that picture?
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:43 AM   #99
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Restaurante Bamboo La Casada - it was right off that center park.
Fico had pointed it out as one of the places to grab a bite and it looked promising so we took a chance. We weren't disappointed. It was the perfect lunch spot and Fico and Jorge ended up eating there too so that just confirmed it.

Can you post that picture?
The place looks familiar, I'm wondering if we ate pizza there one night. Lol Our favorite restaurant was Soda Viquez.

I'm terrible at posting photos. I've only done it once and it took a few tries. I don't remember how to do it. If you want to PM me your email, I can send it to you.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:46 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by emesmom View Post
Just back from our trip. Wanted to just post a short comment today..I'm tired

My DD and I went zip lining, and it was AWESOME. I was pretty freaked out when I saw the first "real" run, but my DD had already gone ahead, so I couldn't chicken out. I am so glad I didn't! Quite a thrill for this over 50 lady )
You did it! Woohoo! So glad you enjoyed your trip, hope you can share a review or some photos!
Welcome home!
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:19 PM   #101
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We never made it to a traditional Soda Never had the time. They get rave reviews though.


Day Five

The day dawned bright once again but the volcano was still under a cloak of clouds. It seemed like we were just not destined to get a good view of it.



I set about taking some pictures of the lovely grounds - this really was a pretty tranquil hotel.



La Chica and I were watching a large flock of white birds descend on the pond area behind our room when we spied this



The clouds around the volcano had dropped and formed what looked like a snow cap but those are clouds. It happened so fast - one minute cloud covered, then next this. We were grateful to get a near perfect, if unusual, view of the volcano and kept an eye on it as we headed off to breakfast.
Breakfast today was heuvo rancheros spicy goodness. And of course, some rice & beans and plantains. A slice of some sort of local cheese on top. The bowl holds some watery oatmeal - they tend to put brown sugar in it which I found odd and too sweet. The pretty colored glasses held a thin type of yogurt that you drink rather than eat. It was flavored though I forget which flavors, it was good. A side of pineapple and papaya and some good strong local coffee The breakfast of champions! The food so far has been very good.



Just as La Chica and I were settling in to feast, this appeared and had everyone buzzing.



A picture perfect view of the volcano! Something that hadn't been seen in weeks. That's smoke coming out of the top not clouds. We reveled in our good fortune even if the volcano had mostly been built up to be more than what we encountered. It still had the feel of one of those moments brought to you by magic - sort of like "The volcano hasn't made appearances for weeks now but because you are on a ABD, we have this special treat to eat your beans and rice by."



But we couldn't linger too long because today was white water rafting day! I was looking forward to being cool if even for a little while. We stopped at the headquarters before heading up to the river. This is also where we would return to eat lunch. Lunch was supposed to happen on the banks of the Tenorio River I'm not sure why this didn't happen but lunch here was fine too.




It was a nice restaurant and the food was fine. They showed some pictures of our rafting trip while we ate which was entertaining and fun. My camera is not waterproof so I don't have any pictures of the actual trip yet. It was basically a mild but warm river with an occasional smallish rapid. Nothing too scary. The boats held about 4 guests and a guide. They ran out of oars so not everyone had one for example on my boat only the guide and the front two people had oars. The back two people got a free ride This was the case for most of the boats. Not a big deal, the guide could pretty much manage the boat on his own anyway and we took turns sitting up front but ... I don't know ... shouldn't a white water rafting outfit have enough oars for everyone?

The rafting itself was fun though. Our guide was hilarious, capable and the best part of the excursion. I wished I had thought to bring some money (in my bathing suit? lol) to tip him but it hadn't occurred to me. We saw many animals along the way - even a cow! - and while the day was very hot once again, the water was nice and I had a great time.

At the end, we met in a small patio area for fruit and drinks. There was a bathroom for people to change into dry clothes but there was no running water to flush toilets or wash We then had a long l o n g hot drive back to the bus. If people weren't complaining about the change of plans for lunch, lack of oars, the lack of water by now well, they were certainly complaining about this ride. It was hot and dusty and bumpy and the kids were melting and I had never been so happy to see Jorge and our bus!

We went back for lunch which as I said was pleasant and then settled in for a ride to our next destination - Villas Sol Hotel & Resort. We were running late again. We arrived at the hotel after dark. We were met by the pool with delicious fruit drinks and a lovely view but most people were too tired to enjoy either.





This was Kids dinner and a movie night but I was told the kids all fell asleep as soon as the movie started. La Chica and I weren't even hungry. We had a cocktail by the deserted pool, a relaxing swim and then headed off to bed.



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Old 04-07-2013, 09:01 PM   #102
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We never made it to a traditional Soda Never had the time. They get rave reviews though.
Oh no!! They are great little places to eat!! Another one we ate at, which was recommended to us by a cab driver on our last night, was Soda Hormiga (like ants). The staff does not speak English, but the food was very good, fast, and super cheap. The two of us ate for $11, including our drinks (non alcoholic). Lots of locals go there. It is a very small place. Easy to miss.
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Old 04-08-2013, 12:07 AM   #103
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The zip lining looks pretty exciting!!

Sounds like the Arenal volcano is like the Matterhorn, hiding its peak with clouds.
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Old 04-08-2013, 07:45 AM   #104
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Wink Mountains hide

Yes, Tuff- mountains have a habit of catching clouds and hiding behind them! if you travel to or talk to people who live in places with large moutnains/volcanos; you will hear they often hide behind the clouds and its a rare moment when they come out.

We lucked out in Quito- one morning all the volcanoes were out . We got to see Arenal just as we hit the airfield to leave for our small plane trip. The ABD guides stopped the bus so we could all get photos! In Washington, we never got to see Ranier, but we did see Denali/Mckinley. So you just never know and I think that this should be advertised in travel brochures because many people just aren't educated about the eco system where they plan to visit and don't understand before they arrive what the reality of the mountains are.

Also, from your photo it seems like the lodge was on the "bank of the river", Gonecruisin- so maybe that's what was meant?
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Old 04-08-2013, 08:52 AM   #105
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A lot of gift shops etc had post cards and other souvenir type things showing the volcano in full eruption with lava flowing down the sides and rocks being tossed in the air. It was cute how they built it up for promotion. La Chica and I got a big kick out of that.

You might be right, familygoboston. We all assumed it meant a lunch on the river where we rafted. I just looked at the website and it's been changed to say "Top off your whitewater adventure with an unforgettable lunch in a restaurant overlooking the river." lol That certainly leaves no room for misinterpretation.

Almost to the end of this! Still loads more stuff to tell you about though.
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