Friday, April 20, 2007

Costa Rica: Zarcero To Volcan Arenal

Once we got back across the Gulf of Nicoya on the car ferry, we headed north to La Fortuna where the volcano is located, we passed through a little moutain village called Zarcero. I was there ten years ago and met the gardener who has created the topiaries in the town square. The photo on the left shows just one small portion of the square. I met the gardener when I was there ten years ago. Kerry and I didn't stop long but did get a good look at the incredible work done by this man, Evangelista Blanco. He's been working on the topiaries for 30+ years. If you want to see more of them go to Google images and type in Zarcero, Costa Rica + topiaries. You'll get to see all of his work. He has a good sense of humor.

As we went up in altitude, the weather cooled appreciably. We could actually turn off the air conditioning and open the windows. Relief.

La Fortuna was a sleepy little town ten years ago; but not today. The main street is lined with impressive new resorts; all so people can come and hope to catch a glimpse of the volanco doing something. It's still active so it spews lava, ash and smoke from time to time. In two visits I've never seen it do anything but stay hidden in the clouds. You can see evidence of lava flows on the west side which is blackened.

We stayed at Montana de Fuego Hotel and Spa. When I stay there ten years ago it was Montana de Fuego Cabinas. The owners obviously have done well; they haven't, however, changed the style of the accomodations. The cabin we stayed in, which is pictured to the left, was exactly like the one in which I stayed in 1997. The porch is glassed in on the side that gets hit with rain all the time. The other side is open to the breezes. Instead of six cabins, there were dozens and dozens of them, plus condos and suites plus a pool and spa.
We spent a lot of time just relaxing and enjoying the cool weather. It rained a bit each day. Kerry had a massage and I had a foot massage, pedicure and manicure. Kerry met a couple in the reception area who are driving a rather large RV from Chile to Alaska. That would be quite an adventure.


Rhonda said...

oh my goodness...just breathtaking!
I was thinking, you saw this?!!!


dykewife said...


when my dad was a youth, he helped a man with his yard by trimming the topiaries. he swore back then that he'd never do that again. and he hasn't.

the scenery looks marvelous and relaxing.