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.

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!

Vacation Scams – How to Spot Them

Again, your mother was right. Actually, she was right twice. One, nothing in life is free and two, if sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

One of the biggest and longest running scams to date is the Vacation Fraud, where you or a loved one is told that they have won a free vacation package or a glamorous cruise getaway. If not totally “free”, these “agents” say that they can get you that dream tour for a rock-bottom price. At this point, you, like many other law-abiding citizens start thinking “what could possibly go wrong?” A lot, apparently.

Let’s just start with the obvious: you will not get a free vacation. Granted, there are rare packages out there from reputable travel agencies that may be free, but err on the side of caution. The most common travel and vacation scams include the following:

The Dubious Travel Agency Scam – You are called and told you are getting a free vacation package but you must pay “fees” to reserve this opportunity. Then after you pay these fees, the “travel agency” can no longer be found. Their phone line has been disconnected and there is no way you can get your money back. Another variation of this scam is telling you that you’ve been booked on a luxurious vacation trip verycheaply, but this is only for a “limited time”. You are then asked to pay a “reservation fee” immediately (and this is usually a big amount) to assure your slot. It’s only after payment that the “travel agent” tells you that your vacation dates are not available or, after some time, will tell you that the offer has already “expired”. Then the “Agent” also disappears, along with your money.

Plane Tickets for Free- Here, they call you and say you have won two plane tickets to great spots like the Bahamas. What they’re not saying is that you must book your hotel and buy your meals from the company that’s giving away the tickets. If you stop and do the math before you accept this “free ticket” offer, you can easily calculate that the amount for food and accommodation easily covers the cost of a plane fare because prices have been so inflated.

The “Free Vacation” – You fly all the way to Hawaii or Mexico, ready to start your vacation, but you find out that you are booked in a small and dirty hostel with bad food. If you check out, they tell you that you void your return ticket. So, you can either stay in your bad hotel or pay a horribly inflated fee to get out of it so you can sleep in a decent hotel.

The Time Share Scam – You are given a free vacation, but before you enjoy it, you have to sit through a presentation from a timeshare salesman. Sometimes, you’re not even told about the obligatory timeshare lecture before you reach your destination. Oftentimes, to get food tickets and accommodation, people have been forced to sit in through long lectures and end up being forced to sign contracts that are also fraudulent. In some cases, when the vacationers try to get away, they have been subjected to bullying and other unscrupulous tactics from these sales agents.

“Become a Travel Agent” Scam – Someone tells you that you’re better off to be a travel agent because it saves you a lot of money in the long run. As a travel agent, they say, you get a lot of discounts and freebies while you’re on holiday. The catch is, you have to pay them a “fee” to become an instant travel agent and when you become one, you realize you can’t avail yourself of the discounts because your credentials are not recognized by any travel authority.

Fraudulent Vacation Discount Cards – You pay for a vacation card thinking it will make your vacation a little cheaper, but then you realize that the card has so many restrictions that you can’t get the discounts you’re entitled to. OR if you do get a discount, it’s just taken off a “special price” and still comes down to the same price as everyone else is paying.

Protect yourself from these travel scams by following your gut instinct and being sceptical. Don’t be afraid to say no and assert yourself when these “agents” become pushy. Never give your credit card number over the phone in the name of “reserving” your slot. If they give you a time limit, say you need to think about it; being hurried is usually a sign of a scam. Before accepting the package, go the distance – check the hotel, the airline, etc. – and make sure they are working with this promotion at the prices the agent says they are. Buy tickets and packages only from genuine agencies and in person, if possible and remember, offers from phone calls or spam email are more likely to be scams.