We all woke up bright and early due to the sun (yay!) and the noisy birds in the trees outside. I have to say I enjoy the cute little chirps, but Chris compared some of these bird sounds to howling Chihuahuas-ack! Aly and I hung outside for a bit on the patio, checking out birds and comparing them to her wildlife guide, and then we had breakfast at the hotel, where we got to birdwatch some more as they had placed fruit in the trees around the restaurant.
We decided to take advantage of the weather and went to check out the Arenal 1968 Trail. This trail is name for the year that Arenal violently erupted, and the lava flow hardened into the hills that the trail traverses. The volcano continued to erupt off and on for 40 years, making it one of the most active volcanos in the world, but it is currently in a resting state. There are two trails to take here, and an entrance fee ($15pp) to use the trails which are maintained well. Both trails are relatively short–the Lava Flow trail is shorter, and the Sendero Bosque, or Forest Trail, is a little longer at approximately 3 miles. They are also not difficult to hike compared to many other hikes we have done, and could be done with even younger children, in my opinion. So, naturally, we made Aly do the longer trail with us, and, she loved it! She was checking out her wildlife guide the whole time, and we spotted Central American whiptail lizards, honeycreepers, parrots, large Montezuma Oropendola birds with bright yellow tail feathers, and a whole troop of monkeys! We made it to the lookout point for the volcano, and we could actually see most of Arenal, which isn’t always the case here due to the weather.
We went back to the town of La Fortuna for lunch, and ate at Red Frog Coffee Roasters, which supposedly has the best coffee around (though Chris and I can’t confirm this as we don’t touch the stuff). I will say the roasting beans smelled delicious as we were eating, and we grabbed a bag to take back home for a gift. After lunch, it was time for more relaxing in the hot springs, and getting in some good reading time.
For dinner, we decided to forego Costa Rican fare and found El Café Mediterraneo, an Italian restaurant in town. Aly was pumped for some homemade pasta, as well as the surprise of the indoor play structure on the other side of the restaurant and some new “friends” from Arizona to play with while Chris and I ate. We definitely recommend checking out this restaurant if you have kids in tow, as the play area is free entertainment while you actually get to eat (parents, you know what I mean!) Plus, the wood-fired pizza was pretty good (after we picked off the mushrooms-ew), but Aly wasn’t a big fan of the flambeed banana dessert due to the lingering taste of alcohol. She managed to eat up all the accompanying ice cream just fine, though.