Day 10: The two volcanoes!
Avgosto was such a nice and knowledgeable guy. I knew from the start; he was a good person. He drove 15 of us to the National Park volcano path and he briefed us in details about today’s tour, brought, interesting fact about geology, flora and wildlife! For example, you can see everywhere in Costa Rica, these red ants, carrying these pieces of leaves and no one knows why?? He explained us there are about 7 million ants living underground in their colony and they collect pieces of acid leaves not to eat them but to make grow mushrooms bigger in their holes and feed the colony. The worker ants work about 22 hours a day, for 2-3 years and then they die from exhaustion. They are heavily guarded by soldier ants who bite to death if necessary whoever is threatening the workers. The queen can live up to 20 to 24 years and lays eggs, her whole life. Fascinating!
As we walked further we encountered, frog’s eggs under a green plant. Lots of them in a sort of transparent jelly and we found a male frog under a green plant as well. Avgosto explain that frogs and more active during the day but they hate the sun, that’s why they glue themselves with their sticky pawns under a leaf, so that they don’t get burnt. Their back is very sensitive and if you put your finger on their back they might suffocate, because they breathe from their back. This one was a male, it is tinier than the female and it had beautiful colors: big red eyes, light green color on its back, white belly, blue color on its sides and orange pawns. I took great pictures, I really feel like painting it now)
We hiked deep in the jungle in direction of Arenal Volcano, it was pretty intense: the path was very physical but the most was the heat and the humidity inside the canopy, it was so intense that we were sweating, after each step we made. On the way, we met a coral snake running away from us and it’s supposed to be one of the most venomous snake in the world with its neurotoxic venom that affects you within seconds. We finally got to our point: The Volcano base. Avgosto explained to us that we can’t go further because it’s too dangerous: Arenal remains one of the most active in the world and there are regularly rock projections and sometimes toxic gas if you walk further to the top. Avgosto explained to us what arrived over the years in the valley, he’s from “La Fortuna”, so he knows lots of interesting stories and we came down to the lake where we bathed for half an hour.
When we went back a delicious lunch was waiting for us. The local women cooked steamed rice and beans, with chicken and mixed salad with a delicious sauce! We also had pineapple, and green tea with lemon. The Costa Rican food is pretty much always the same, but themeal was decent. We walked back to our bus and we had a swim in the sulfuric volcanic waters, it was so warn and the guide gave us rum shots with lemonade and a volcanic scrub for our face! We couldn’t ask for more!
Later on, we drove to the second volcano national park, where we walked on a trail to a monumental waterfall, we were told to stay on the side to avoid being flushed away by the strong stream, which we did. We went under the waterfall and took great pictures. Later on, we walked back to the trail and on suspended bridges, like the ones I had in Monteverde. Finally, we reached the bottom of the volcano, which looked pretty much like a hill, like the Arenal Volcano before it erupted. But going there is forbidden, not because it’s dangerous, because it’s a natural reserve and a protected area. Avgosto explained us how yellow-winged birds live in community: they build suspended nests on branches, watch over all the nests and if a predator gets inside, they try first to scare him off as a group and if they can’t manage, they cut the nest off the branch so it falls with the predator in it. Smart community. We came back to start point, where this time our guide showed us the seismic activity monitored on computers. Because the place we were in, was not only a hotel resort but a geologist place where scientist are monitoring everyday the volcano activity and forecasting if there are any future risks.
I got back to the hotel at about 21:00, that was a very interesting day and the group was fun too! Tomorrow, I’ll have to cross the whole country to get to Golfito! 10 hours by bus! Yeah!