It’s a bright sunny day in April and my best friend Paulette and I set out in our small SUV Suzuki to explore around the mighty Arenal Volcano. I remember as a young bride, many many years ago-coming here with my new Costa Rican husband . I could not believe my eyes! This giant creature of a volcano spraying smoke and red hot lava rocks from its summit was to me a inexplicable creation. God’s most beautiful work of art.
After gazing up at the volcano, Paulette, I said. “Do you remember our 9th grade sceince teacher Ms Mary Bernace Carter?” She told us that one day an earthquake was going to push California straight into the ocean. “I didn’t sleep well that night because my brother lives in California.”
Yes, I said “Ms Carter was an excentric old lady with long grey hair and to me she was down right scary.” Ms. Carter taught us about the Ring of Fire and that Arenal Volcano is in the “ Ring of Fire” along with another 450 volcanoes – all around the Pacific Basin.” Here the tectonic plates are constantly moving the earth, creating small and large tremors, which cause the volcanoes to erupt.
When I told Paulette that we are sleeping at the volcano base. She looked somewhat uneasy about this entire adventure.
We slept at The Arenal Observatory Lodge. Here scientist from University of Costa Rica come to study the seismic activity of the Arenal Volcano. Paulette and I will sleep right at the very base of the volcano. We can see the mammoth giant, right in front of our eyes. However, right now the volcano is not erupting. It stopped activity three years ago and now the people around here call it the Sleeping Giant.
That night-no tremors- no fire shooting from the top of Arenal. Yuk, what a disappointment!
The next day the sun rose at 5:30 am with deep hues of pink and blue in the eastern sky. We hopped on the bus to the most popular excitement in the Arenal area- Sky Tram, Sky Trek.
Inside a glass gondola we glided up the side of a gorgeous hill lined with primary rainforest We saw three howler monkeys with their baby-real close up. And also a flock of tucans with long pointed colorful beaks. I wonder why their beaks are sooo long. What an unusual bird.
Paulette was brave and tackled the zip line. It is 12 platforms high above the rainforest canopy.
I met her at the bottom at the last platform and she had a large gorgeous smile on her face.
Arenal Volcano has a long history. People say it is a young volcano. Would one consider 7,500 years being young? It has been dormant for hundreds of years and covered with dense vegetation.
However-suddenly- on a cool August morning in 1968 the farmers discovered that the water in the streams close to the vocano was unusually warm. The cattle began to herd together and dogs in the area were barking loudly. Suddenly a great boom, and hugh circles of smoke and red hot lava rocks were thrown from the summit. A major eruption was under way. The hot lava was headed north and destroyed the small village of Tabacon, killing eightly people.
Today, the Arenal Volcano is quiet. We saw a few dark grey puffs from the summit but no red balls of fire. Hundreds of tourist from all over the world still flock to see the giant, and bathe in the hot mineral waters which flow from far below the earth at the volcano’s base.
We took a guided 6 am bird watching adventure and saw four pairs of toucans in one large rainforest tree, as well as a flock of small green very noisy squaking parrots. A black female howler monkey with babe in arms greeted us with a very loud howl. Suddenly our guide screamed “freeze” and immediately we saw in our path a small fer de lance snake, among the most poisonous snakes in the world. We did not move and the snake crawled lazily into the bush. In Costa Rica the people don’t believe in killing the snakes because they are an important part of the ecosystem. Even the most poisonous ones.
How do I include Arenal Volcano National Park in my Costa Rica Vacation itinerary?
It’s easy: contact Ann, the Costa Rica Vacation Planner, and Arenal Expert. She will design an Arenal Vacation just for you and your family. For all the information visit her website costaricalearn.com please insert a good photo of Arenal Volcano in the blog.