Now onto the highlights of Costa Rica. The hot springs under the Arenal Volcano are a must. Located in the town of La Fortuna, two of the most famous and (in my opinion) worthwhile resorts to frequent are Baldi, and Tabacon Grand Spa. The latter was the springs I went to, and, well, I'll let you decide later in the post whether its worth a trip. (Definitely. Yes. Absolutely).
Our day started with a drive from San Jose to the town of La Fortuna. On the way, we passed the idyllic Costa Rican countryside:
Stopping at a local artisan's collective for souvenirs:
And a nearby convenience store for local snacks: right, Chicharrónes, or fried pork skin - a very popular snack in Central/South America. I had some (better) ones in Peru, as well. Left, some locally sourced pirouettes. The ones back home were better tasting, but these were fun.
Finally, time for lunch! Rice and beans as usual - and don't forget the omnipresent chicken that also seems to be a staple for lunches in the country...
Left, fried rice with chicken, right, rice, beans, fried plaintains, salad, grilled veggies, and a grilled chicken breast.
With food in our stomachs, onwards to some sightseeing. First up, the famed Arenal Volcano, one of the more active volcanoes around the world - or so I hear.
Tropical vegetation is abundant in Costa Rica. ie. LOOK AT THIS BABY PINEAPPLE GROWING NEXT TO THE VIEWING PLATFORM.
Now, on to the main attraction....
Get ready for it....
TA-DA! The good thing about this place is its size. It took me a good 20 or so minutes scurrying around the stone pathways to get a lay of the land here. There are quite a few pools, waterfalls, rivers of warm, volcanic water. So take your pick, lean back, and relaaaaax.
Left, a cold pool that really wasn't all that cold. Good for a brief wake-up plunge if the heat from the springs get overwhelming. Remember to stay hydrated!
There are places to take a dip everywhere - hidden amongst the lush vegetation, behind an unsuspecting curve in the road. So soak away.
Each bathing area is labeled with temperature and various other information, and has towel stands nearby.
I tried to wait until the lady in the middle (NOT me) was no longer in my shot. It did not work. She did not move.
This is me. Don't ask why I brought my sunglasses to shaded hot springs. I ended up losing them later - so long, shades! Thanks for shielding my eyes from the sun across 5 different continents...you'll be missed (and replaced).
Just indulge me in a few of these photos - if you were here, you'd also be taking them as well, I promise! Unless you're not vain, and consequently not a millennial, in which case you won't.
Like I said, tropical paradise.
You really won't want to leave once you get here, so make sure to budget at least half a day (I suggest an entire afternoon) to devote to meandering around the waters of Tabacon.
I'm in this photo - see me underneath gallons of rushing water? Actually kind of a therapeutic experience, its very quiet under the waterfall, errily so.
Near the changing rooms/restaurant/reception, there is a large pool with a swim-up bar. Seriously - what more can you ask for? Actually: faster service...if you're here on a busy day, prepare to wait for that drink.
Towards the end of the day, it starts to rain, then pour. Large drops of rain making a million tiny splashes on the surface of each hot springs, causing them to lose their previous mirror-like quality. Actually a very pretty sight.
So long, Tabacon. I will be thinking of you often, I'm sure.