We arrived to Costa Rica in the afternoon at around 4:30pm, after our flight was delayed. We were supposed to drive to La Fortuna the same day since according to my research it was about a two hours drive. After making the drive I don’t know how anybody can make it in two hours. We left San Jose’s airport at around 6pm after we got our rental car. People told us that there were two routes to get to La Fortuna: one through San Ramon, best way but lonely road. The other one wasn’t as good but there was a lot of traffic. We decided to take the latter one in case anything happened. Bad choice!!! The road is in pristine condition, but it is dark and a lot of super sharp turns. We were going up the mountains and if we were not careful we could ended up at the bottom of the mountain. It was raining, and there was fog…lots of it. At the end we decided to stay in Ciudad Quezada, here we found the cutest hotel named: Noche de Paz, which literally means Night of Peace. It’s a nice hotel, and its owner is an older friendly gentleman. The rooms are next to San Carlos river; we heard the birds, crickets and the river from our bedroom.
This was our room at Noche de Paz:
Staircase to our room:
In the morning, the owner of Noche de Paz told us that in Costa Rica the salvadorans are known as hard workers and honest people….interesting! I don’t think he’s up to date with the latest news. He recommended a restaurant where we could get breakfast nearby. It’s called my casita, and the food was delicious the coffee was amazing! I started to observe that the Costa Ricans eat a lot of rice….it’s available for breakfast, lunch and dinner and lots of it!! Check out my dad’s and my husband’s breakfast; notice the excessive amount of rice and beans. In this area they call them “pinto”
We started to drive to La Fortuna, after crossing several small towns and after about an hour we made it to the little town. It was Sunday morning and the town was thriving! We even found a POPS (ice creamery from back in El Salvador) Below you can see the church in the main plaza of La Fortuna, in a clear day you can see the Arenal volcano behind the church.
After having an ice cream at POPS, we decided to head to La Fortuna waterfall. It was perfect timing because it had stopped raining. In order to get to the waterfall you have to descend 400+ steps but it’s totally worth it!
Entrance to the waterfall:
From the first lookout area, we noticed there’s two waterfalls. At the feet of the waterfall, one of the tour guides told us that the second waterfall had formed because of all the rain that had fallen during these days, but usually there’s only one waterfall.
The amount of water and the noise was impressive on both, but the main waterfall was just stunning. I don’t recall seeing a waterfall this massive before. In the picture below you can see how small people look next to the waterfall.
Don’t ask me how I made it back up, because I have no idea and my legs are still hurting. You can partially see some of the stairs in the picture below. All the steps and the staircase are in perfect condition.
When we got out of the waterfall, it was lunch time. There are several restaurants along the main street. We decided to try the one restaurant that said “typical Costa Rican food”. It was the best decision, I ordered a grilled fish with veggies and an avocado sauce that was to die for!!! I am still beating myself for not asking for the recipe, the wife of the owner was really friendly, maybe she would shared the secret to such a delicacy with me, specially because we kind of became friends. She told me that La Fortuna’s living cost is really high, and that is known as Las Vegas of Costa Rica. The restaurant’s name is “Tu casa” or “your home”. It seems like restaurants with “home” in their names have the best food.
After lunch, we moved on to our hotel. 40 minutes later we arrived to Castillo del Arenal, it sits next to the volcano with amazing views of the lake and the volcano but unfortunately it was cloudy and raining here and there. In the afternoon, while my dad and hubby watched the soccer final in El Salvador, I took a little nap and this was the view from our suite:
On the left top corner you can see the skirts of the volcano and the Arenal lake. We could also see and hear a river that runs down below into the lake. The receptionist told us that it’s usually sunny during the morning and the rain starts in the afternoon at around 5pm, I guess we had bad luck as the iconic volcano didn’t want us to appreciate it.
- Lemons look weird here, they also taste different…kind of sweet if you ask me. They are color orange inside and kind of taste like mandarins.
- My husband and my dad have found a tv show in TELETICA that they’re enjoying. It’s a totally random show. People sing and dance, they talk about food, they play games. Randomness at its best. The show is called: el chinamo, even the name is weird. I don’t know what it means…I don’t know how to translate it.