Pura VidaSeptember 1, 2017 in Costa Rica ⋅
Pura Vida is Costa Rica's catchphrase. Literally it means pure life, but it's basically Life is Good and it's well suited. People seem to enjoy life here, and who can blame them. If Nicaragua is the scruffy younger brother then Costa Rica is the good looking sibling in the fancy suit. The standard of living is much higher here, and people have time & money to enjoy life a lot more. It's a nice change, if a little americanised but we weren't complaining when we got a proper fresh baguette from Walmart and not a long, round loaf.
We headed up into the hills to Lake Arenal, and it's utterly gorgeous scenery. It reminded us of driving around the Big Island on Hawaii, with winding little roads, brooks crashing through gullies, and everything dripping in tropical flora. The other thing we REALLY like about CR is its a lot safer than most of the other Central American countries, and we had no concerns wild camping at the edge of the lake for a couple of nights.
The following day we tried to hike Cerro Chato, a big volcano next to the larger and active Volcano Arenal, but we couldn't go with the dog and rangers would stop you if they caught you. The big downside to CR is they want $10 per person just to walk on some trails, and the National Park wanted $15. On our 4th attempt we found some private land we could take Maya on and spent a couple of hours hiking through the luscious rainforest up to the lava field at the base of the volcano.
Although it wasn't at all strenuous compared to the past few months we felt we definitely deserved a dunk in some hot pools. We parked up outside the 70 buck-a-head 5 star spa resort, then crossed the road and dunked directly in the 38C river that flowed through a series of rustic pools. Once I grabbed a couple of cold beers from the fridge this was Pura Vida indeed!!Read more