Have you ever wondered what it would be like to gaze at a sleeping giant? Earlier this year, I had a chance to sleep under it, climb it and admire it – Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. If the jungles of Costa Rica aren’t on your bucket list, you may need to revisit that list and revise.
Arenal Volcano first erupted in 1968, destroying three surrounding towns and killing hundreds of people. It continued to erupt off and on until 2010. It has been dormant for seven years and the beauty around this sleeping giant is awe inspiring.
My husband and I spent four nights exploring the jungle around the volcano. Here’s a small peek of what the region has to offer:
Hike Along the Lava Flow of Arenal
When the first eruption occurred in 1968, it only erupted on one side of the volcano. As you can see from the picture above, one side of the cone is green and lush, while the other is black. Unlike the volcanoes of Hawaii, the lava flow from the Arenal Volcano is a blanket of black jagged rocks. Upon the eruption, these rocks were thrown into the neighboring towns and killed many people. Now, after seven years of quiet from the volcano, you can hike along this lava flow.
Climb the Hanging Bridges in the Rain Forest
Ok – these are man-made bridges that help you along your way through the rainforest. As I learned in Costa Rica, there are several national parks throughout the nation. In order to keep the animals thriving, the government pays farmers to keep small strips of land open for the animals to move between the parks. The hanging bridges we went to are on one of these small strips of land. Being above the top canopy of the rain forest was simply, surreal. It was an experience I will never forget and will always recommend.
Hiking the Rainforest
Liking is on top of the rainforest, being on the floor of it was as invigorating. The hike we took through the rainforest was just like you’d imagine a hike in a national park in the United States. Slow and steady, we walked through the wonders we will never forget: trees towered over us, insects scurried among us, monkey’s swinging from branches. When we were nearly through the hike, the skies opened up and we were treated to a rain storm in the rainforest. If you have the chance to walk on the floor of the rainforest, you’ll experience the wonder as well.
Take a Dip in the Hot Spring
Lastly, if you are in the Arenal region of Costa Rica, you should not miss the hot springs. There are several places in the area that you can pay to experience it, but there is one place that is free. The springs range in heat and fueled by the natural springs so close to the volcano. We visited the hot springs at Tabacon. It was a winding path of secluded hot springs. The resort was a family place but did have pools that were only for adults. Hot springs in the rainforest, you ask? Yes, I thought so too; until there was a rain storm and I was shivering!