Costa Rica Hot Spot – Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna

Costa Rica is well known for its volcanoes and the most famous one is the most active one: Arenal Volcano.

Getting to La Fortuna

You can get to Arenal Volcano by bus they leave hourly from San Jose at the Atlantico Norte station on Calle 12 (12th Street). You want the bus headed to San Carlos. If you’ve rented a car it’s a beautiful drive from San José. And you will pass two excellent side hot spots: Zarcero and San Carlos.

If you’re driving, from San José take the Interamerican Highway towards Puntarenas. Take the Naranjo-Ciudad Quesada exit. Zarcero is about a 90 minute drive from San José. Zarcero is a quaint and beautiful little town nestled up in the mountains, 1,700 meters above sea level. You will find the best cheese in Zarcero so make sure to stop and pick up some queso blanco (white cheese) it’s my favorite cheese. Zarcero is very green with a lot vegetation and farms. A popular stop is a sculpted garden in town. This guy makes beautiful sculptures of gigantic bushes. So you’ll see rabbits, ox carts and more all sculpted from these huge bushes.

I recommend you eat at Doña Chila’s, they serve typical Costa Rican food and it delicious! It’s located right before you reach Zarcero. Here you will also see a lot of vendors selling fruits and cheeses from their little stands-don’t forget to buy some queso blanco.

Now head out of Zarcero towards San Carlos. Ciudiad Quesada is the commercial center in the San Carlos plain in the central Alajuela province. This is the hub of the Northern Zone. Depending on how much time you have they there is a nice Forrest reserve called Termales del Bosque. Admission is $8. Nice hiking and they have thermal pools which are fantastic hot spring pools. From Ciudiad Quesada you will see signs to La Fortuna and Volcano Aerenal. Just follow the signs. Total drive time from San Jose is about 3-1/2 hours.



Arenal Volvano, La Fortuna Travel Tips

Volcan Arenal has been active since 1968. It has a perfectly shaped cone that pops out of the hills of Alajuela. You can hear loud explosions and gray mushroom clouds billowing out of the volcano top. You can also see boulders being ejected by the volcano and being slammed down the slopes. At night you can see a good lava show. Now this doesn’t happened every time and a lot of times there is heavy fogs and clouds blocking your visibility. So, sometimes you can’t even see the volcano so I would call one of the hotels in the area and ask about the visibility.

Be aware there is a chance you won’t see anything because of the clouds. The chances are even worse during the rainy season. So even though even during the dry season the clouds can still block your view-it’s your best chance to see the lava flows and the red hot boulders being ejected. I’ve been there many times and only twice did I get the big show. But going to La Fortuna is still worth it even if your chances of seeing a lava show is 50/50.

In order to maximize your chances stay at one of the “observatory” lodges which were built to give you a the best views of the volcano. Late at night or in the early dawn hours is your best bet to catch a lava show.

By the observatory lodge there are many hiking trails in this area. From the ranger station at the park entrance you can choose two trails one leads to a You can hike the Chato volcano which is extinct. It has collapsed onto itself and now has a lake in the crater surrounded by a forrest. You can access it by a hiking trail near the Arenalmirador (obeservatory) where you can watch flowing lava. There is a beautiful waterfall where you can go swimming, called Catarata La Fortuna which is Spanish for La Fortuna Waterfall.

Other activities include horseback riding and canopy tours. The thermal pools are the best. These are hot springs. The Tabacon lodge is a great spot to go relax in the hot spring thermal waters. You can get a day pass to hit their pools which are built around the thermal waters. So you’re swimming in these naturally warm waters from the volcano. You can also get a view of the volcano cone from here. They have five natural mineral pools at different temperatures one with a swim up bar, a water slide, and a waterfall. They also have a Tico food restaurant and a couple bars. Cost is around $30 for a day pass.

The Cataratas Rio Fortuna are a must see. It’s a beautiful waterfall set in the rain-forest near the edge of the Arenal Volcano National Park. It’s $1.50 to enter. You have to hike down a canyon which can be challenging but the reward is views of the beautiful waterfall and taking a dip in the natural pool. Average temperature in this area is 75 degree Fahrenheit.

Another nice spot in this area is Lake Arenal which is a large reservoir man-made lake at the foot of the volcano along the hills of Guancaste. Many people enjoy boating and fishing on the lake. Windsurfing is very popular here-you can rent windsurfing equipment if you wish.

Underneath the lake is old Arenal a town that was submerged in the 1970’s after it was destroyed by a volcano eruption in the 1960’s. The worse recent eruption was in 1968. Two villages were destroyed and over 80 people died. There has been some recent activity the past few years but nothing like 1968. Prior to 1968 the volcano had been dormant for 400 years.

The area of La Fortuna is one of my favorite attractions in Costa Rica.

Solo Travel Packages – Costa Rica, One of the Best Vacations for Singles

For solo vacation destinations, it is hard to beat Costa Rica. It has something for everyone and at an affordable price. If you choose as I did to go off-season, it is an even better buy considering the surcharges routinely added to solo travel packages making it hard to find well-priced luxury travel options for single travelers. These price drops come about quickly after the summer crowds head home so I took the opportunity to visit in September. Although it was still the rainy season, I don’t recall having to dust off my umbrella even once. Fall deals may also reflect smaller crowds where some tourists may avoid the entire Caribbean because of publicity about hurricanes. In actuality, Costa Rica is seldom impacted by direct hurricane hits and despite its size has several different climate zones. All in all, it was one of my very best solo travel destinations.

Hotels are abundant at a wide range of prices from global high-end chains to smaller locally-owned properties. TripAdvisor lists 120 hotels in 20 different locations within Costa Rica. A local site listed 61 hotels categorized as 5-star with nightly rates from a modest $113 soaring to $1240, providing virtually unlimited luxury travel options for single travelers. Seven of those 5-star hotels were in the $200-$299 range and although not inexpensive, they compare favorably with resort prices around the world.

Costa Rica is one of the best resorts for singles since it offers 4 different types of top vacations for those traveling alone: 1. historic and cultural travel packages that reflect both the Caribbean and Latin American heritage, 2. ecotourism or green travel packages, 3. adventure tour deals and 4. beach getaways not just for honeymooners.

I began my trip in the capital, San Jose, piecing together my own cultural travel package as I went along. The country’s Spanish colonial history began in the early 16th century when Christopher Columbus in his travels was credited with naming it Costa Rica. After its first Spanish settlers arrived in 1522, approximately 300 years followed before independence was achieved.

The city has a number of museums to explore, such as the Museo Nacional de Costa Rica. However, it was the Museo de Oro (Museum of Gold) that really intrigued me. Not only was it filled with gleaming gold artifacts, they represented the much earlier, pre-Columbian figures from before the arrival of the Spanish. (In addition, the adjacent gift shop sold copies of these unique items, perfect to take home as presents for friends and family.)

History scholars and architectural enthusiasts may be disappointed to find that most of the intact buildings in the capital only date back to the 1800’s rather than the colonial period. The impressive Metropolitan Cathedral of San José was built in the late 19th century replacing the original structure destroyed by an earthquake. Newer, but regarded as San Jose’s finest historic building, is the National Theatre of Costa Rica, also dating only from the end of the 19th century. Now celebrating its 117th anniversary this year, it is known for its ornate interior of pink marble and gilt but also houses an elegant Viennese-style coffee shop. Out front two imposing statues, Ludwig van Beethoven and the 17th century Spanish playwright, Calderón de La Barca, keep a watchful eye on 21st century visitors as they enter.

After leaving San Jose and going into the countryside, it is easy to see that Costa Rica is one of the top worldwide ecotourism destinations which provides affordable trips for single travelers. The rainforest, parks and wildlife sanctuaries constitute 25% of the country. Although small in square miles, Costa Rica has some of the richest biodiversity in the world. In keeping with its green focus, the government has undertaken a program over time to voluntarily achieve 2007 carbon neutrality. The highly photogenic Red-eyed Tree Frog is most typically depicted to represent Costa Rican wildlife. As I found, you don’t have to go very far to see colorful examples. From my hotel patio, I was joined for breakfast each morning by a low-flying hummingbird, one of 26 local species. The rainforest, with its 3-4 distinct levels, provides an opportunity to see sloths lounging in the trees and screeching monkeys atop the canopy; however, the dense growth can make it difficult to spot them.

A third option exists for single travelers looking to pick up the tempo. Beyond placid bird watching and snapping photos of wildlife, Costa Rica offers abundant opportunities for adventure vacations for singles from zip lining high above the treetops or rappelling down waterfalls at LaFortuna/Arenal. Six to seven rivers have whitewater rafting while both coasts offer snorkeling and scuba diving. Although the Arenal Volcano no longer draws evening crowds after its nightly eruptions ended in 2010, six major volcanoes remain for trekking. The resulting hot springs are still an ideal venue for “Happy Hour” watching the sun set. Not being prepared, I was glad to see that the gift shop sold attractive bathing suits in bright tropical colors although a little short on fabric!

Lastly, no trip to Costa Rica is complete without visiting the almost 300 beaches from the Pacific Coast on the west and the more tranquil Caribbean on the east. I recommend trying out both sides.

For me having my local home base in San Jose in the Central Valley was ideal since it was an easy day trip to the rainforest but with the beaches and boating still in easy reach. The quality and prices were definitely quite good even for solo travelers. If you can’t decide whether you want to go to the Caribbean or to Latin America, Costa Rica gives you “2-for-the-price-of-1” rather than as single travelers often find “1-for-the-price-of-2”! Whether you are looking for boomer travel or a millennial adventure, go ahead and add Costa Rica to your bucket list.

Costa Rica – Best Fishing Vacation Spot

Costa Rica is situated in Central America. The literal meaning of Costa Rica is “Rich coast”. In the east lies Caribbean Sea and in west lies famous Pacific Ocean. The Fishing in deep blue water of this island is a wonderful and divine experience.

Fishing vacation packages

There are a lot special fishing vacation packages available for fishing lovers with cheap tickets. Pacific coast not only offer scenic beauty, but it has a unique deep sea sports fishing experience. You can catch here fishes like Dorado, Roosterfish, marlin, tarpon, tuna, wahoo and others. The Caribbean coast is famous for catch like tarpon and snooks. You can also have fishing experience in lake arenal and famous rivers in Costa Rica. Barra Colorado in the Caribbean has best fishing lodges. Sports fishing in this island is open all season.

Anglers around the world come for Costa Rican fishing experience. The Caribbean Sea and Pacific Ocean in this area thrive in marine life and sports fishing avenues. Sports fishing in CR requires experience team leader to fully enjoy this deep water fishing experience.

Fishing all season

The fishing in Costa Rica is available in all season. The deep blue sea offer catches like marlins, tuna and tarpon, and catching them is out of the world experience.

Vacations in this island will be a unique experience for men and women alike. Men enjoying deep blue water fishing where as women seeking delight in sun bath on the crystalline beaches and getting tanned. Sport fishing in Costa Rica is a matchless fishing experience.

If you are considering spending your vacation here, do all relevant research beforehand. A lot of travel companies not only offer great lodging and boarding, but also different sports fishing packages with experienced team leaders and cheap tickets. Vacation packages are available for individual, families and groups. A group of two or three adventure seeker can buy an ideal deal from tours and travel agencies.

Other tourist attractions

Fishing vacation is not the only option in here; there are other options available like poas volcano crater, popular tourist attraction and you can also visit national parks. The climate of the place is tropical year round. The people are friendly and hospitable.

Fishing vacation in Costa Rica will be a memorable experience, one which we will always cherish!