Featured Author: Kathryn Konopka (visit Kathryn’s Blog)
This weekend we took a few hour trip to the town of La Fortuna for our first weekend away. By the end of this semester we will all be used to the crazy drivers and pothole filled mountainy roads. It’s hard to believe how differently people drive here. Once we arrived in La Fortuna, we checked into our hotel. I originally thought we were going to be staying in a hostel, so this small hotel was a nice surprise. It was actually a very nice hotel and we got a great deal! It was only $15 per night per person. We had four rooms between the 13 of us and I ended up in the 6 person room. After we all got settled in we headed to eat. We decided on pizza since we were all craving it. Definitely a great choice. After that we headed back to the room I was in since it was the biggest and we had a great time partying it up. We felt like it was a lot later than it really was. It was only 7:30 pm when we first made it to our room, so by the time everyone left it was only about 11 pm. It was still a lot of fun though and it was a good bonding experience for us all I think.
The next morning we all woke up and got ready and then headed down to the little kitchen for breakfast, which was included at our hotel. After that we tried to figure out a way to get over to the Parque Nacional Arenal. That took a while, but eventually we were able to get a bus that would take us there and back for less than $10/person. Once we got there we hiked on the main trail that took us through the forest and to a lookout point where we were able to see the volcano on one side and then the lake on the other. We got to climb over the old lava flow which was pretty cool. It was such an amazing view up there.
After we checked that out for a little bit we headed back to the trail. While walking we saw this animal called a Coati but no one really got a good picture of it. We also saw this really huge and really old tree. It was super cool! After we got to the end of the trail we headed back to our hotel. We didn’t really have a plan of what we wanted to do so we just all kind of hung out in our rooms and ate and relaxed. My roommates and I sat out on our balcony in the rocking chairs and just hung out. We got bored and took random pictures, including ones of all of our eyes. We also were lucky enough to see the top of the volcano for a few seconds. It was pretty cool. Later we all went out to eat again but this time we chose a local “soda” which is a just a type of small restaurant here. After that we all came back and hung out in the room I was in again.
On Sunday morning we woke up and got ready again and decided that we would hike to La Fortuna Waterfall. It was only like 6k away so we figured that would be better than paying for a taxi. The beginning of our journey was just along the side of a road and it wasn’t too bad. However, we soon began to be constantly walking uphill. It was definitely a struggle and it ended up starting to rain on us as we got higher up. The rain felt good, but all of our stuff was getting soaked. Eventually, we made it and we were all proud of ourselves for surviving the trek. We then bought our tickets and then started the hike to the actual waterfall. Going down wasn’t that bad, but getting back up was extremely tiring because the uphill journey earlier had caught up with us and it was 480 steps (6oo m worth) all up a steep hill. We all survived though and seeing the waterfall and swimming by it were totally worth it. When we made it down to the waterfall we all climbed over the rocks and then jumped in. It was ice cold and took my breath away at first! But once we dove under the water and came back up we were all ok. We had a ton of fun swimming around and just admiring the beauty of the waterfall. That moment made me so happy that I chose Costa Rica. This was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to be doing. I love exploring the outdoors and seeing natural wonders like that. I can’t wait to have more adventures like this one. It may have taken a lot of effort and we were definitely exhausted afterwards but it was so rewarding.
Click here to read the above post on Kathryn’s Blog
About Kathryn: I am a Junior at the University of Illinois studying Spanish and Portuguese. I am currently studying abroad in Costa Rica for a semester!
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