This Wednesday we have a mild case of the blahs—still a few weeks til school lets out and summer really begins, but it’s not spring anymore either. It’s the middle of the week, there’s nothing new and all that out-of-the-ordinary going on. Don’t you sometimes wish something spectacular would happen? With Memorial Day approaching, we’re dreaming of fiery excitement and ground-shaking action.
More specifically, we’re wishing we were back in Costa Rica, near the Arenal Volcano. When we were there in 1995, it was irrupting daily (and had been since 1968). Sometimes several times. Not explosive, run for the hills lest you’ll be swept up in a river of gushing red hot lava, irruptions. But more “civilized” irrupitions. I think they call them “moderate.” If you were even 100 miles from the mountain, you would hear a deep guttural kind of thunder every so often that rumbled through the ground (and traveled into the core of your being if you were close enough), signaling the show was about to begin. It definitely didn’t feel moderate. If you were nearby and it was daytime, once you recovered from the bellowing, you’d surely see smoke around the peak and maybe even some sparks aflutter.
At night, after the smoke cleared, you could watch the glowing orangey-red lines seeping out of the cone, and during an active period, spraying out showers of sparks, like the grand finale at a 4th of July illegal fireworks show in the backyard—only super-sized and without mom nearby making all the kids stay back by the bucket of water.
If you’re like us, you wondered how those locals could actually go about their daily lives in this town, when such a breathtaking, beautiful and completely terrifying phenomena was occurring right there, all the time? I guess that’s the point though, right? Maybe if those Costa Ricans came to Los Angeles, they would be equally blown away by the seemingly effortless way we navigate traffic on the 405, pay $12 for a couple of bell peppers at Whole Foods, and manage to successfully avoid the sun right after our chemical peels? Maybe not.
The next time we visit Arenal, we’re hoping to watch the fireworks from a hotel swimming pool or hot tub, many of which are heated by natural hot springs, thanks to the magma at the core (Why am I so happy to type the phrase “magma at the core?”) I don’t think the show’s been running lately (no irruptions in 2012), but it’s been going on for thousands of years so I’m sure it will make it’s return eventually. When it does, here are a few properties we want to check out:
Hotel Los Lagos is in the foothills of the volcano. Pools seem nice. And there’s a water slide:
Nayara Hotel Spa & Garden has been on Travel + Leisure and other best-of lists and is a lot more upscale than some of the other properties around. Check out their pool:
With a swim up bar:
To me, Hotel Arenal Manoa looks the best.
Especially from the over-sized hot tub, at night:
I think we stayed at Hotel Sueño Dorado. Very, very basic and budget-friendly (with air conditioning). And they do have a pool, though it’s nothing special and I’m not sure it provides a view of the volcano.