Costa Rica Part 1

Let’s go back in time to November 2015 when we went on our first international trip together. We were with a few friends and planned to do as much as we could during our Wednesday to Sunday trip.

Below are the activities we did, along with specific information on how to do the same things.

1) La Fortuna, Arenal Volcano

As soon as we landed at the San Jose airport we picked up our rental SUV for the six of us and drove about 3.5 hours to La Fortuna. By the time we arrived to our destination it was night-time but we were too excited to go to sleep without doing some type of activity. We stayed at Hotel Campo Verde which I actually found when scouting through Airbnb looking for a budget friendly place to stay. Starting my research I knew that I did not want to stay at a luxurious hotel that looked and felt like I was still in the states, I wanted to feel like I was in Costa Rica and experience something different. Hotel Campo Verde was just that! They have many small cottage-like buildings around the property so it feels more like a little town and not a hotel and the Arenal Volcano is in their backyard!

Hotel Campo Verde
Arenal Volcano hiding behind some clouds at Hotel Campo Verde

Back to our nighttime adventure. When we checked in at the front desk, we asked the receptionist what we could do in the area right then and there. She explained that the hotel has their own private trail in the back of the property and that we were more than welcome to walk the trail, and so we did. After finding our cottages and setting our things down, we set off for what would be a great story to tell afterwards (at least I think so). The trail was one full circle with the entrance and exit being the same place in the trail. We, luckily, each had a flashlight or headlamp since it was not lit at all, other than the moonlight which couldn’t get through the thick jungle of trees once we entered the trail. Part of the trail was through an open field where we paused for quite some time to look up at the sparkling night sky. Since there wasn’t much light pollution, it was a lot easier to see all the stars, including quite a bit of shooting stars. We didn’t continue the trail until every single one of us had seen at least one shooting star.

We continued walking through the path in the field and saw (and smelled) mounds of what appeared to be excrement. Large piles of poop. We didn’t think much of it….until we saw two eyes reflecting back the light from our headlamps looking back at us from the trail ahead. I was terrified, and since Tim and I were in front of the group he got in front of me and stuck out his arm to “protect me”. We then realized it was a cow…a huge cow! Our friends behind us laughed but I was still in shock from my imagination going wild about it possibly being a hungry bear ready for some fresh Pam meat. We continued walking the trail while dodging all the other cows that seemed to be humored by our confusion and shock. We reached the last portion of the trail to close the loop which was through the jungle again. We walked, and walked, and walked and I started to think I recognized certain tree branches or roots and even parts of the river paralleled to the trail. It wasn’t until we reached the cow field again that I was certain we were in the twilight zone and we would be stuck walking the trail forever.

Cows at night

After some discussion, we all decided to continue walking forward. That is, until we reached the jungle portion again and some of us had a change of heart and decided we wanted to turn back and backtrack our steps. After some convincing, we were on our way backwards through the trail, pointing out the parts of the jungle we undeniably recognized from before. This time around we each kept our eyes peeled making sure we didn’t miss the exit of the trail AGAIN. To end the story, we found the exit and made our way back to our rooms as we talked about how we just escaped certain death.

More details regarding the hotel and activities in the following post.