(Mis)adventures in the land of active volcanos

I (Jessica) haven’t posted here in awhile, but we just spent three absolutely spectacular days in the Mount Arenal area of northwest Costa Rica and the experience was too awesome not to recount on the (virtual) page. Our trip included a stay at the absolutely congenial and adorable Essence Arenal hostel, where for $28 a night we slept in a building nestled on top of a mountain overlooking both the country’s most impressive free-standing volcano and the biggest lake in Costa Rica. The hostel is about an hour’s drive away (on mostly gravel roads) from the closest town of La Fortuna. It sits on a 180 acre plot of land that includes several trails, a waterfall, river, a swimming pool and a massive organic farm. The wonderful folks there cooked family-style vegetarian dinners for the guests every night using local ingredients from the farm and the area. It was both an amazing culinary experience and a great way to meet people. We made friends with folks from Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, England, Chile, Italy, and the US. On our second day, we attempted to summit Cerro Chaco, an inactive volcano with a crater filled with cristal blue water. On a good day, it’s a strenuous five hour hike, but on the day we tried it started pouring rain about two hours after we started walking. The vertical path became a series of small waterfalls and after another hour and two asthma attacks, the heavens started thundering and lightning. We huddled together and realized we were two out-of-shape hikers soaked to the bone, stuck on the near top of a mountain, all alone, with lightning and thunder going off all around us. To the question, “If you cry in the middle of a forrest and there’s no one to hear you, did it really happen?,” the answer is “yes.” So, after a bit of self pity we pulled ourselves together and realized we needed to stop being idiots and get our gringo asses off the mountain. So we did. One slick, painful step at a time. It took us what seemed like forever but we finally made it down in one piece and we thanked our lucky stars and drove our soggy pitiful selves back to the hostel for a warm shower.
There’s a lot more to our adventure, but I got carried away with this story and we are now about to leave for San Jose. I’m sure Johnny will catch up with the rest of the story, which gets exponentially more awesome and not quite as tragically pathetic. Cheers.

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