Day 3/23


Tonight it started to rain against my expectation. When it is starting to get light it becomes clear to me that me little plan of yesterday is not going to fly. The sky is thick with clouds and rain is pooring down. Around seven I go to the lobby, to find out what the weather forecast is, but internet is currently not working. There is a large book with lots of photographs of Costa Rica. I go through it completely and that delivers some good ideas I will use later on. After breakfast, the internet is working and the forecasts are pretty grim. For San Jose, rain is predicted for the whole week.

Yesterday I spoke with the owner and someone from New Foundland. Nice chaps.The owner has been living here since 1966 and is English. He tells that the Arenal eruptions have stopped suddenly a few months ago. That kind of sucks, because an active volcano has been on my wishlist for ages. The Arenal Observatory Lodge where I will stay the following two nights has a platform with a view on the volcano. At night you could see the lava flowing down. That really appealed to me. William (the owner) worries about it because that volcano is of the type Mt St. Helens. That one will explode suddenly with pyroclastic flows like in Pompei. Poas has been active since 1995, but I am nog going to see that one, this time.

That other guy from new Foundland, was going to show me some photographs. It has to be a nice country with lots of wildlife. He shows me a lot of photographs, but most of them are of his house, his boat, his kids, his friends, his marketing company and then some of the coast. He went on and on… Was happy that we finally finished.

This morning he is back. He asks me what he should do. He has no transport and counts on arranging that with others. He has been a geologist for 15 years and has worked in the roughest areas. Making a talk with someone almost always results in a place to sleep or transportation. I feel something coming here. And yes he tells me he is willing to pay the gasoline if he can come with me. I stay kind of low, as I do not want this at all. Later on he tries again to have breakfast together, but I stay reading in my Costa Rica book. Another such story like yesterday I do not want really. Shortly after breakfast I pack everything and start going to Arenal Volcano National Park.

The road is rough and goes almost completely through the mountains. Here and there are some small villages. But the weird thing is that their are now road signs, so you never know where you are really. There are directions to the national parks though, but sometimes it takes an aweful lot of time for the next one to pop up.


Out of the mountains the weather clears up a bit and it stops raining. Behind me everything is still in clouds. Good decision to go. On average you are not driving faster than 40. A relatively small distance of 100 kilometers takes 2.5 hours easily.

In Arenal Volcano National Park I have to look around a bit, but I find the lodge quite easily. It is located close to the volcano wall, which is almost covered in clouds. The lodge is located in a closed area and has some trails.

Immediately after arrival I start walking some of these. One of the trails leads to the waterfall here. Not a very special one, but nice to shoot.

Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Lodge, Costa Rica.

These waterfalls have so many faces.

Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Lodge, Costa Rica.

As I push the waterfall more and more to the background…

Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Lodge, Costa Rica.

…the stream becomes more and more important.

Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Lodge, Costa Rica.

Details in the stream can be handsome subjects as well.

Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Lodge, Costa Rica.

Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Lodge, Costa Rica.

I also spots some colonies of leaf-cutter-ants. Ants that all walk with a piece of leaf on their back. Funny.

Almost back at the lodge I spot some people peering into the bushes. There are some special birds that only eat army-ants. The birds themselves are very hard to spot between the dark shrubs, but the ants are clearly visible. These ants march out in the morning and cut everything the stumble upon to pieces that they bring back to the nest in the evening. The whole road is covered with them.

Here I also meet two biologists with whom I will have dinner tonight and tomorrow. Nice people. They have been working in Kameroen for three years. Nice stories! After that, he has been living off an on in the jungle of Sierra Leone for one and a half years. He slept in a tent and after a few weeks he was covered completely in fungy because of the moist atmosphere.

Maps, Charts & Downloads

GPS Map with color coded altitude information

Color coded distance/altitude chart

Color coded distance/altitude chart, Costa Rica Dry Season 2011, Day 3

Download the original gpx file here.