Everyone these days confirms a commitment to the preservation of the environment. For some it’s merely a gesture for others a greater commitment. In Costa Rica you very quickly get to understand that they really mean it. Everyone knows understands and buys into the protection of the environment. You feel that the pride in their environment is real and natural and deep. They are proud of it and contribute to its preservation and delight in showing it. This is a land of nature and coffee and cacao, lakes, mountains, animals, and two oceans, a country that decided long ago not to have an army because of its history.
The Arenal volcano is the youngest of the active Costa Rican volcanoes, situated in the Arenal Volcano National Park. The area is centred around the small town of La Fortuna from where you get access to the man made Lake Arenal and the nature reserve in the mountains. The sides of the top of the volcano are pockmarked by cracks from which smoke feeds and the side lined with the marks of lava flows from previous eruptions. From La Fortuna take a boat across Lake Arenal and from there up into the national park. The roads are not great but then again to build a road too big wouldn’t be good for the environment would it?
This is a world of hiking, amazing plants, wild flowers, great scenery and every conceivable shade of green you could ever imagine, all in one place. Water cascades off the mountains as pure as any you can find. Development is encouraged to give access to the area but the drive to retain the character of the place makes it a very true experience.
Further west Monteverdi hosts a cloud forest and amazing hot springs fed by the hot water emerging from this volcanic area. Hot springs are something special in Costa Rica and a must do. This whole area is eco tourism at its very best and most naturel. All the areas are also great for kayaking, and zip runs if that’s your thing. Its easy to get around, minibuses 4x4s transport you where you want to go. And of course you walk.
Costa Rica is a small country so very accessible but its variety is extraordinary.