Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Costa Rica...

Will be visiting another volcano today. Mt Arenal. It's the most active volcano in Costa Rica.

The drive to the volcano takes us about 4 hours. It's a boring drive. We stop at a town just before the volcano and click some pictures.



A Shop selling Costa Rican Accessories
We get to the resort where they have the hot springs. It looks more like a swimming pool to me. I ask the guide when we will get to see the volcano up close. And he points to the volcano from the resort and says u can watch it from the pool....
Craters from the first Eruption
Come on I didn't drive up here for 4 hours to watch the volcano from the pool..So I argue a bit and he finally agrees to put me on another tour which takes you into the Volcano National Park. I get to go with a totally different set of people and It was wonderful fun.

 The guide explains that the first eruption happened in 1968. You can see the crater from the eruption in the picture.  agrees to put me on another tour which takes you into the Volcano National Park. I get to go with a totally different set of people and It was wonderful fun. The guide explains that the first eruption happened in 1968. You can see the crater from the eruption in the picture.
It had remained inactive for 400 years and was considered extinct. The first eruption killed 78 people and buried 3 villages in the vicinity and resulted in the formation of three new crater. Since this is an area of volcanic activity we were forewarned that an eruption could occur at any time and we were to be prepared. The guide form the previous tour told me it would be dangerous , but then again so was sitting in that stupid swimming pool watching the volcano. I'd rather watch the volcano up close. If the volcano were to erupt we would all be dead anyway .. No???????

The guide has our absolute attention :)
We had to hike through the national Part. The group was a lot more fun . There were two kids one aged 10 who walked with me for most of the hike. Most times I get along really well with children. I find their candor refreshing and the conversation was extremely interesting.

Leaf Cutter Ants

Our Guide..
On the way we saw some of the flora and fauna of this habitat. In the picture you see the fighter ants carrying leaves
The guide explains how some of these plans have adapted themselves to this terrain.

Apophyte
As we walked through the park the guide points out and tells us intresting bits about the fauna there.
Mt Arenal
The water that accumulates in the stem is something that the monkies drink when they are thirsty
Mid way through the hike we hear the volcano rumble and we can see the ash sliding off the sides. It was one of the most breathtaking sights I've seen. Mixture of fear and excitement..What if it did erupt?
Ash and Smoke from the erupting Volcano..
View of Arenal
Hiking our way into the park..
We continue on our trial. The trail is actually the site of the first eruption. So you see craters, volcanic soil, rocks, ash and other souvenirs from the first explosion on the way.

Arenal in the background. The closest I ever got to a smouldering active Volcano :)
Finally we stop at a point close enough to the volcano. Any firther is dangerous the guide warns. Someone asks what happens if we go all the way. He says you'll be dead before you get to that point.. pointing to a place in the distance. The group laughs. And then more seriously he explains that the sulpher and poisonous gases would kill anyone who tried..
The scenery is breath taking. Pictures cant do justice to what I saw. Grey smoke filled skies. The imposing Volcano. The distant rumble. The Brown Earth and the wonderful green all around speckled with yellow. And the smell of rain..
The group rests a bit..
We were standing there taking pictures and it began to pour. I was like.. Camera Camera.. ! :)
Scenes from Arenal National Park
The green and yellows made for some lovely scenes along the way
It poured for 3 minutes or so and then stopped. I was told this is pretty common. It rains all year round .The locals call the yellow trees 'Broccoli'

Broccli
The view of the  Lake (which happens to be manmade) from Arenal National Park
The lake in the picture is man made. It is used to generate hydroelectric power.After about two hours of hiking we head back. I had the time of my life.And I feel so alive ..
- Meena Venkataraman

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