Day 8, we were back on the boat to the local dock and then the long bumpy coach journey which returned us to Guapiles – this time for lunch ahead of the next leg of our journey to Arenal – a national park which is home to the highly active Arenal volcano.
Our driver, Christian, picked us up in a Toyota Hilux 4×4 and I was instructed to sit in the front. This was to prove to be an exciting experience – for all of the wrong reasons.
As we left Guapiles, we were lucky to see a wake of vultures enjoying a feeding frenzy on a python – which appeared to have succumbed to a trucks wheels judging by its flattened appearance. Python Pizza! It was HUGE, around 6ft in length and quite meaty. The vultures were not complaining at their feast.
Christian was either a frustrated rally driver, or he needed to get back home for dinner by a certain time. The Costa Rican roads are variable, but one thing they have in common is lots of bends, lots of VERY large trucks (no railways to transport goods), many potholes, domestic dogs and other wildlife which decide to cross over at any point, people stood in the middle of busy roads selling goods… and Costa Rican drivers who don’t believe in using indication of any sort. Throw into the mixture motorcycles, bicycles VERY large trucks and pedestrians (who are confined to a narrow unmade strip to use right at the end of the tarmac) and it makes for a very exhilarating drive.
Some may consider it exhilarating, but I spent most of the time completely terrified, as Christian also frequently checked his mobile phone, and used both of his hands to take a certificate from an envelope to show us his recent English exam results! This bought a whole new meaning to the phrase “hands free”!
We arrived at Arenal before sunset and to our hotel Lomas del Volcan. Here we had an amazing view as our hotel stood at the foot of the volcano. Our bungalow was luxurious compared to previous accommodation – it also had glass in the windows and air conditioning, which proved crucial in the humidity.