Written by Carolyn C. of Head Royce School
Day Four: Wednesday June 18th
Our stay at the turtle rescue center was over, and it was time for us to pack up and leave for La Fortuna, our next destination. After we ate our pancake breakfast, we waved goodbye as we boarded the boats for the final time. Once all of our luggage had been loaded onto the boats, we caught our last glimpses of the kitchen, the staff, our bright green cabins, and even a sliver of Pacuare beach before we floated away. This ride, we saw more wildlife: monkeys, and the occasional bird. While we drank in our last sights of the beautiful waterway and the jungle surrounding it, we drew nearer and nearer to the end of it, until at last the van came into view. We climbed out of the boats, waved goodbye to the staff who had ferried us there, and lifted the luggage up to Sammy, the driver, who loaded it onto the van. Soon, we were all in the van once more, the three days having felt very long and yet very short. As we sped away from the river, we passed plantations and dead palm leaves on the side of the gravel road, and the bumping of the van along its path lulled me to sleep.
Humberto woke us up with a chicken-clucking ringtone from his phone, and invited us to look out the windows at the banana plantations, which stretched on endlessly, the bananas covered in blue plastic bags. He explained the purpose of the bags were to keep out insects, and also to create a microclimate for the bananas to grow in. He told us which companies were growing bananas here, how the plantations started developing, and the other fruit grown here: mango, pineapple, and a fruit called the mango-pineapple, which was a pineapple bred to taste like a mango.
We drove out of the countryside and into a more urban area, passing stores and supermarkets until we arrived at our lunch destination: a buffet. We hungrily stepped out of the van and picked out our food. As I munched on rice, beans, and shredded vegetable salad, we traded stories about our experiences at the Widecast station. After we had all finished eating, we filed back into the van, where Humberto tossed us packets of chocolate cookies. As we happily munched on the cookies, we drove closer and closer to Hotel San Bosco. Finally, we arrived at its grass-covered courtyard, and after we checked in and were assigned room numbers, we pulled our luggage into our rooms as it began to drizzle. The rooms had cushy beds, a built-in bathroom, electricity, and power outlets; luxuries after our stay at the Widecast station. Plus, in the bathroom, our towels were folded into swans! We had two hours of free time, so we scattered in small groups around the hotel or went to explore the town. After I wrote an email home and wrote a blog post, I went to the town with two others. It was a small town in the shadow of Volcano Arenal, and it was definitely catered to tourists, judging from the multiple souvenir shops and the restaurant signs in English. After exploring the first souvenir shop and picking out gifts for our relatives and friends back home, it was already time to turn back.
We were pleasantly surprised when we found out that we were going to a resort to splash around in their hot springs! We piled back into the van, and after a short drive, we arrived at the sprawling resort, big enough to have its own map! Once we arrived at the hot springs area, we stuffed our clothes and towels into lockers or under poolside umbrellas and went to explore the multiple hot and cold pools and waterslides! First, there was the longest, tallest water slide to go down, and then a series of hot and cold pools going up and to the right of the large pool that the biggest water slide fed into. We went down two other waterslides: one winding, another short and fast; jumped into cool, blue-tiled pools and traipsed through shallow, soothing hot pools, working our way higher up. There were pools hidden in alcoves; one pool which had a series of echoing plastic structures lining its sides; another with a bridge over the top that one could jump off of; another large one with benches and jets built in, and the topmost pools, which were the hottest and coolest yet. We yelped at the changes in temperature, we experimentally laid down on the full-body waterjets, we shot down slippery, fast waterslides.
As we made our way around to each feature, it began to rain harder and harder, until pools of water began to form on the walkways. As lightning began to flash and draw nearer, we scampered out of the pools and off to the locker rooms to change for dinner, which would be held in the restaurant in the resort. After we had changed and dried off, we ran through the pounding rain to the restaurant. It was also buffet style, and after we chose our dinners and began eating, we marveled at the hot springs and our hotel and how it was so different from the turtle station we had been volunteering at just a day ago. As we told stories and joked over our dinner of salads, rice, meat, and even spring rolls, hours passed and soon we were all finished. We drove back to the hotel, and after an hour of free time, we sank into our soft beds and fell into a restful sleep.