Well, it cost me an arm and a leg to get here but I am here. The Arenal Observatory Lodge is amazing (although there is no lava!!). It is located at the base of the volcano, far from any other accommodation, and is filled with flora and fauna. I made a good move and went to a supermarket before taking the 30$ taxi to get here. The restaurant here is pretty pricey.
Smoke smoldering out of the volcano (no lava, but I am happy).
The restaurant is attached to the observation deck. This was my view from breakfast.
Arenal Lake is a man-made lake created by the Electrical Institute. When the lake was being created in the 70s the owners of Arenal Observatory Lodge (AOL) bought 870 acres to plant macadamia nuts. During that time the Smithsonian Institute was studying the volcano and asked if they could stay on the property. AOL built cabins for the Smithsonian volcano observers, which later was converted into a hotel.
If there were lava right now I would have a prime spot in Casona 3.
Part of the reason I wanted to stay here is because it is a huge piece of property with lots of free trails. In the morning I took the free guided tour to get my bearings straight.
I never would have seen this toucan otherwise...
or this howler monkey...
or this poisonous snake!
After the two and a half our walk I spent the rest of the day exploring on my own.
This was taken on Old Lava trail.
There are over 300 species of birds that live here. I am not a bird fanatic but they are still fun to observe.
Towards the end of the evening I walked to Los Cangrejos trail. This was my favorite trail of all.
I found white-faced monkeys, on my own. Super exciting.
They look like grumpy old men.
So far, so good in Costa Rica...