Hey Everyone! I have to split this second part of our trip out into separate posts because we did so many fun things.
So, the tour guide picked us up in Tamarindo around 10AM to take us to La Fortuna. La Fortuna is just under 4 hours East from Tamarindo. Our tour guide had shared so much of Guanacaste’s history, the province we drove through, and he also shared that the name of Guanacaste was an indigenous word for monkey ear, of the regional trees that grow all around. I love learning things like that. It was just such a real good idea hiring the tour guide this whole trip to get us from point A (airport) to point B (Tamarindo) then point C (La Fortuna) and point D (back to the airport!). His van was air-conditioned, large and clean, he spoke perfect English for my family, and had so many fun things to teach us.
We drove about an hour outside of Tamarindo before we stopped at this hidden gem, the Waterfalls of Llanos de Cortes. This place was AMAZING to say the least! We pulled into a very dust parking lot at the end of a long dirt road. The entry way to the area was flanked by two makeshift souvenir tables that lead to a tented entrance to the stairway. We had to trek down a ton of steep, but beautiful, stairs built right into the hill. Very windy. As you descend, you can hear the rumbling of water. So you hurry to try to get to it quicker. As the stairs end the ground opens up to this massive span of private beach with a ginormous waterfall. GINORMOUS!! I have never seen anything so beautiful in nature like this in my entire life…never. I was blown away, my kids were kicking off clothes faster than ever, charging towards the water, and my husband just was dumbfounded too. My mind is still reeling over the beauty. There were a few travelers too, not many for what we were seeing. We were there on a weekday, and learned that the locals like to go over the weekends to picnic, BBQ and stay the day there relaxing and enjoy the view. I WOULD TOO!
Our tour guide let us have as long as we liked there, so we swam and played for about an hour. The water was cool to the touch, but not frigid. I had never seen so many varieties of butterflies in one area like I had this afternoon there. I saw every size, shape and color imaginable. Birds too! After we hung out here, we headed 45 minutes to grab lunch at our tour guide’s favorite local spot. Food in Costa Rica is typical South American, beans and rice with every meal, chicken, beef or shrimp, lots of stewed foods..all so good. Like really good. So we enjoyed where he had taken us for lunch, it was clean and the food was pretty great…plus, I love arroz con pollo, that is something I could eat on the daily. Then we continued on our trek to La Fortuna.
This ride was beautiful. I know I keep saying that everything was beautiful, but it really was!! The drive through all the towns along Lake Arenal were spectacular. Lake Arenal is a man-made lake that has a dam. Lots of people boat and wind surf along the lake. Pretty rad if you ask me! So the ride…The colors of green and all the wildlife we saw were the best part. The one road leading to La Fortuna along the lake was the coolest. It went on for an hour, and was a slim road with a lot of curves. The craziest turns, hills, steepness, views of the Lake, lots of farmland, driving right through tiny villages..the views were something out of a travelers guide. Just perfection all around… it was all so much fun!
La Fortuna, in the province of Alajuela, is the town at the base of the Arenal Volcano; so cool, guys, I can’t even do the explanation justice. So we rented a car when we got there, this is where we asked the tour guide to drop us off. It sounds scary, especially if you have travelled to Europe, because the driving over there is crazy scary, but we found Costa Ricans to be cautious and respectful drivers. So we hopped into our 2016 silver Suzuki SUV, and drove onto The Springs Resort and Spa. Just 17 minutes outside of the main area.
We will catch up with our tour guide on our last day in La Fortuna to go back to Liberia’s airport.
Driving all over Costa Rica is fun.. lots of farms and houses to check out.
Our first stop was to the Waterfalls of Llanos de Cortes
The trek down to the area was just as spectacular as the place itself.. the stairs going down was a ride!
Boom..then you come up upon this!! OMG!
The place was spectacular. Just like a hidden paradise in the middle of nowhere.
Look at that person up there!!
My waterfall family 🙂
We all enjoyed this place so much!
Then after we left the waterfall, we went onto La Fortuna. Here was a Lake Arenal Lookout.
Then we arrived in La Fortuna
This was our tour guide’s bus
Where it was super neat.
THEN WE RENTED OUR OWN CAR!
Driving was actually more relieving than I had anticipated.
And we loved being on our own together.
About 17 min from the center of town was our resort…and guys, this place blew us away.
The Springs Resort and Spa… holy wow! The drive to the resort off the highway is bumpy, they are having a dispute with the city to pave the road..but that bumpy dirt road ride is so worth it! You pull up in paradise. Romantic. Luxurious. The vegetation, the flowers, the landscaping and paths, waterfalls, ahhh it was so beautiful. Then you follow the driveway to the reception area where they take your car for you, not a worry to think about here from that second. You are brought to check in, then you are greeted by your own personal guide, who grabs your whole family drinks (ours with their traditional rum- tdf) and who takes you on a walking tour of the hotel. We were treated to our experience with Dixon, who was the cutest and sweetest kid. The kids liked him a lot.
HOLY WOW! The main part of the resort was breathtaking, at about 1000FT above the canopy, then the property cascades down to each level. There the main floor (reception), then the spa and gym floor, then the bar and restaurant floor with a kids sick game room, then there is the bottom floor that has locker rooms that spill out to the main part of the pools and swim up bar. From there the thermal river fed pools, YES THERMAL RIVER FED POOLS FROM THE VOLCANO, flow into each other. They created a system where the hottest pools flow into other pools, mixing with another system to cool them down to create a new pool cooler than the top one. If that makes sense… So the first area had three linked pools. The top pool was 99F. This pool flowed straight to the next pool that was a foot lower, but it was being mixed with a different stream to create a 94F pool. Then this pool flowed into the next pool a foot lower and triple the size that had a touch cooler water falling into it making it an 87F pool. It was like this throughout, even if the span from one pool to the next was further. SO COOL!
After the tour, Dixon walked us to our rooms where our luggage was waiting for us and he showed us all the fun things in our room…namely, that VIEW!
We were in room 103 of the Toucan House, which was the coolest room ever. We were ground level, so our outdoor patio was open to the grounds and the volcano..the VOLCANO WAS OUR VIEW! Lush right? Well, I felt so lucky to be there. The balcony had hammocks, a beautiful table set and rocking chairs. I loved it out there. The view was of large birds of paradise and the volcano..so close. The room itself was beautiful, and clean, and smelled so good. There were heated floors in the bathroom, and a jacuzzi tub as big as a pool! The bedroom was fixed with our kids bed, individually, in front of the massive window, so it felt like a tree house. So awesome.
The first night here we went to dinner on property at the sushi place, played in the kids’ game room for a bit, then hung out at the main thermal pools till they closed.
It was breathtaking, every turn, detail and the pools.
After driving six minutes on the weirdest, rough dirt road, you come upon the hotel…it’s paradise from the start
this was a set of rooms they just finished building.
The flowers everywhere were fresh and vibrant.. oh i miss them!
The lobby was decked out and didnt spare on details
The view from the lobby…under the clouds was the volcano!
You can almost make it out under them
The map of the grounds. We were in the toucan house room 103
This was the entrance to the room
after a swank closet was the bathroom
with heated floors, and
a jacuzzi.. gah this was beautiful
They set up the room for the family, the kids had an eye full of the outdoors
WHICH WAS OF THE VOLCANO!!
That is me with a VOLCANO!
The outdoor patio had hammocks, a table with cushiony chairs and rocking chairs.
The view was so spectacular
That volcano is under there I SWEAR!
Everyone resting up
View of the bridge that led to the main building.
🙂 We were real happy with this place from the second we walked in.
First night in, sushi and fun colored drinks. 🙂
Their sushi was pretty insane
The place was decked to the nines with checkers n chess
During our last day, it was foggy coolness.
a kids play room with every electronic game imaginable, plus board games, table tennis and foosball
And views everywhere….
I swear the volcano is there.. I promise
The first day we walked around before eating, and it was dreamy. These are thermal fed waters…97F here then it is cooler by a few degrees filtering into the other pools.
The swim up bar.. 83F
I promise. she is under there
A latte…this might have been the strongest coffee ever.
Next up, our first full day in La Fortuna at Sky Adventure…