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Wow what a beautiful country! We are currently in a marina on the northern part of the country which tends to be more drier. So we headed out looking for those lush rain forests we’ve seen and heard about and the area around Arenal Volcano did not disappoint. We stayed at Lomas del Volcán, a hotel with individual cabins right at the base of the volcano.

This was our cabin with a view of Arenal Volcano from our back porch.

This was our cabin with a view of Arenal Volcano from our back porch.

At 5,480 feet, Arenal is a traditional cone shaped volcano and was quite impressive especially from our hotel. It was last active from 1968 until December 2010.

Arenal is a classic cone shaped volcano.  I've read it usually is covered in clouds but it was clear for most of our stay.  This was taken from our hotel.

I’ve read Arenal usually is covered in clouds but it was clear for most of our stay. This was taken from our hotel.

On the advice from the front desk, we hit a trail right from our hotel that took us part way up an extinct volcano next to Arenal. In minutes we were in the thick of the rain forest. It was beautiful. I admit I would have enjoyed it more wearing army boots and carrying a big stick as I’m very afraid of snakes, but we had a good time. Definitely was a challenging hike.

The start of the trail.  I'm thinking I don't have enough foot gear on.

The start of the trail. I’m thinking I don’t have enough foot gear on.

The plants were everything we wanted to grow in our yard in Northern California.  We were just lacking the rain!

The plants were everything we wanted to grow in our yard in Northern California. We were just lacking the rain!

Rain forest near Arenal Volcano

Rain forest near Arenal Volcano

Looking for snakes and poison frogs before I step.  Next time I'm wearing army boots and carrying a big stick lol

Rain forest new Arenal Volcano

The view from our back porch.

The view from our back porch.

From our back porch.  It was interesting to watch how the clouds worked themselves around the top of the volcano.

From our back porch. It was interesting to watch how the clouds worked themselves around the top of the volcano.

Hungry when we arrived in town our first stop was a Caribbean roadside stand.

Hungry when we arrived in town our first stop was a Caribbean roadside stand.

We have been in Costa Rica for almost two weeks and our first impressions:

1- CLEAN! The roads are not littered with garbage from the children and adults alike who throw garbage out of the buses in El Salvador and Guatemala. They also have recycle bins rarely found in the parts of Central America we have traveled.

2- No armed guards lurking in every store and corner leaving the impression that a gun battle will break out any second.

3- Public transportation is more civilized. Public buses are newer, adult sized buses. No school buses handed down from the USA filled to overflowing and I really mean overflowing.

Of course some of this comes at a price. There is an import tax on all goods coming into the country so food is more expensive here as are the marinas. But Tico’s are proud of their country and it is really nice to see that they treat it respectfully.

Fair winds,
Cindy