Day 5/23


This morning I wake up around 05:00, because it is getting light. Outside cute little Hummingbirds are chattering and fladdering in the bushes. Every once in a while I here Howler Monkeys somewhere in the trees far away. The volcano is around 3 kilometers away from here but it seems like it is only a few hundred meters. I shoot some nice photographs of the view from my room.

Butterfly, View from the room, Arenal Observation Lodge, Costa Rica.

These red flowers are Ginger. There are pink ones as well.

View from the room, Arenal Observation Lodge, Costa Rica.

If have a little hope that I will see it totally free from clouds today, but currently the summit is still completely covered. Around 06:45 I go to breakfast. The biologists are already busy studying birds. This time with a scope having 25 times magnification. Nice clear image of small birds with vivid blue and orange colours. This will be the fourth time we eat together and afterwards our ways will split again. They are going to Poas Volcano National Park, where I already have been and I will continue to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve where they just come from. I think we will keep contact, but we’ll see how that develops.

For a short while it seems like the clouds will move away. The air becomes more clear and large columns of water vapour rise from the trees. But later visibility drops again, so at 08:00 I decide to ride to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. Maybe the weather is better overthere.

First I return to La Fortuna to refuel. There they play a little game that I might see some other time again. This is how it goes. You go tank your car. It is cleaned completely and then we start payment. The guy hits is own head and shows that he has misplaced the decimal point. In stead of 26.000 Colones he has entered 260.00. Oh oh oh the shear dumbness and now what? He gets his boss and a calculator and shows me 26.000 – 260 = 25.740 and that still has to be payed, everybody happy. I return to my car and decided to have a look again at the pump. There it says 16.000 and not 26.000. Meanwhile a car full of policemen has arrived that has to refuel as well. I talk to that dude again and show him my creditcard notes and the amount on the pump. Again he plays the comedian “dumb dumb dumb” and goes back inside. The policeman smiles at me. He knows what is happening here. Dude returns with a note of 10.000 Colones and disappears again. The trick here (because I have a strong feeling that this was not an accident) is that you are distracted by the thing about the decimal point and don’t pay attention to the actual amount. Smart but not smart enough today.

En route along Arenal Lake (same road as yesterday to Tenorio Volcano National Park) I spot some big holes in the road a little to late. I can not brake in time and hit them with both wheels with 60 kilometers an hour. What a bang. You could easily dislodge the underside of the car.

The road to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve is barely maintained deliberately to withhold mass tourism. But I think it is alright. There are some pits and holes in it, but I have already experienced some roads that were in lesser shape. Yesterday for instance. The weather is reasonably fine. Lots of blue in de sky and a nice warm sun. In Santa Elena, the little village next to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve there is a chaos of cars and people. Soon I have found a motel to my liking. I change clothes immediately and go in the direction of the park. 17 Dollars entrance is quite a lot for such a small park. The man that is selling the tickets works super efficiently. While handling my payment, he is already helping the next customer and answers the phone in the mean time. This, you do not see that often!

There is a lot of wind up here with very fine rain. This rain is quite nice actually. Wet you get in the end, so the sooner it happens the sooner you cool down. People here also walk just in the rain without umbrellas. The droplets are so small that they evaporate quickly. I only have a few hours left before the park closes down and can walk to the viewpoint. In total only 4 kilometer but unexpectedly steep. The fine rain is replaced by heavy rain soon after departure.

On the top is the Continental Divide that runs all the way from Canada to Argentina. On one side you can see the Atlantic Ocean on a bright day and on the other side the Pacific. Up here the wind is blowing with gale force. Rain is smashed horizontally in my face at high speed. It would not surprise me if these are the remains of a real Hurricane. The last few days have been this windy. This is quite remarkable as it is very close to Arenal as the crow flies. The weather is completely different here. There is limited visibility so nothing to see here. I return as quickly as possible. Photographing is not an option here today. All vegetation is moving wildly and too much water is pooring down.

Back at the reception I have an hour left before the park closes down for today, but I have had enough.

Best thing to do is some shopping. I have already seen some other possibilities. A Hummingbird garden and various expositions with snakes, bats and insects. Next to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve there is also Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve. Enough to see and do here, also in bad weather. For the mean time I have booked two nights. Maybe a third will be added. We’ll see.

Last monday in the lodge, somebody came to me with a phone and someone on the other side for me. You can imagine the face I pulled. Who knows that I am here? It appeared to be someone of Swiss Travel. They are responsible for the motel bookings here. Whether I had received the envelop in the first motel and if already was to my liking. It was a quite unexpected experience, but ok, nice service.

Producing photographs is difficult with this weather. I do hope some more will happen in the days following. It is getting time for it.

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 5

Download the original gpx file here.