Friday, May 18, 2012

Us vs. the Volcano

Having decided that the 3.5 hour drive each way to Arenal to see the volcano was a bit much, the plan for today was to visit the closer, if smaller, volcano in Rincon National Park, about an hour outside of Liberia.

My mom elected to skip the hiking portion of the day in favor of hanging poolside so the 4 of us set out for another adventure.  After only one wrong turn and subsequent turnaround- some sort of record for us- and a 14 (fourteen!) mile ride down the bumpiest dirt road in the universe, we arrived in one, overly jostled, piece.

At the ranger station we got the lowdown- the trail to the volcano crater was closed due to activity and they were out of maps, but invited us to take a photo of theirs.  So we didn't see a volcano, but we did see many other interesting things, despite the lack of a map.

Hanging bridges


Mud Pots

Water Pots

Mineral deposits

Giant trees

Interesting Foliage


Two hours later, the "easy hike" left us looking as though we had completed some sort of survivalist training and we piled our sweaty selves back into the car.  As we bumped on out of the park, we saw a sign for a $10 spa at a geothermal spring and decided to stop.

The woman running the show at Symbiosis escorted us to the changing room and after we emerged, scantily clad in our tiny blue towels, she led us to the sauna.  It was highly enjoyable for about 7 minutes, then the fact that I had eaten a coconut cookie for breakfast and then gone on the ironman nature walk took effect and I had to remove myself from the area and sit with my head between my legs, turning six shades of pale and trying not to pass out while our nice hostess fetched me a glass of ice water.

After I revived, sauna time was declared over and we moved on to the next area.  Here there was a giant pot of hot volcanic mud and 4 large paintbrushes.  You really haven't lived until you and three of your closest family members have spent a semi nude afternoon painting yourselves (and occasionally each other, for those hard to reach spots) with mud.

Next it was drying time & we were instructed to lie on the provided wooden lounge chairs and bake in the sun.  This was semi-relaxing, it probably would have been more so if we weren't so worried about keeping our legs crossed so we didn't have to charge the nice couple getting a tour of the facility for a free show.

Next it was time for the geothermal pool rinse.  There wasn't much getting around it- the towels were coming off.  After a little eye averting soak to remove our mud, followed by a cool shower, it was time to return to the towels.  Two more quick dips in the mini pools where we elected to just go knee deep, except for aunt dawn who opted to just wear her towel into the pool, and we were ready to go- only slightly scarred.

Well past the point of hunger we continued down the road and stopped at the Canopy Bar at Hacienda G.  We ordered some Tico Tacos and out came an interesting dish-

Chicken rolled in a flour tortilla and fried, covered with fresh cabbage and topped with mayonnaise and ketchup (though I would be hard pressed to identify it as ketchup in any taste test).  Our waiter also brought us a little ceramic jar with hot pickled vegetables to put on top.  He warned us it was hot but this stuff was no joke and my lips burned for about an hour after we finished.  This combination of items sounds pretty gross as I write it, but it actually tasted quite good.

We arrived back at the house in time to catch the sunset which was really spectacular and the resort next door had a live band playing so it made for a nice final trip to the beach.

After a much needed shower (funny how I didn't feel clean after a muddy splash about in the volcanic waters & putting back on my hiking clothes that didn't need to be washed, so much as burned) it was off to try and have dinner at Picante again.  Our persistence was rewarded and we had a very enjoyable meal of plantains with bean dip, fish and shrimp casados, fish tacos, coconut shrimp and pork with spicy blackberry sauce.  The hotel was really nice with connecting infinity pools overlooking the beach & if I ever get to come back I would definitely invest some time in day drinking here.

Back at the house it was a craaazy last night of packing and finishing our books.

No comments:

Post a Comment