Holy Pineapple! I’m in Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano, taken from room balcony

Arenal Volcano, taken from room balcony

Today my food blog is going to take a small turn to a travelog. I promise to mention food and include unedited photos, but this post is really for all the readers who wanted updates from my trip. And luckily the hotel I’m in now has free Internet, so no promises about more posts.

Today is my last morning in Arenal. I should mention that I’m traveling with my friend Lori. Anyways, we’re leaving for Monteverde and the Cloud Forest soon and I really want to eat breakfast before I have to pack so, this may be a bit short.

View I woke up to this morning!

View I woke up to this morning!

Arenal has been amazing, especially the hotel Arenal Nayara. I wish I could stay here longer. The area and the hotel are just so beautiful. My first reaction to the hotel was “holy shit, wow,” followed by  “this is too nice but me.” The rooms are really little cabins that wrap around the property, 25 in total. Ours looks out to the volcano and has the most amazing view. It has a balcony with a jacuzzi (I didn’t use it) and an outdoor shower (which I did use, I mean when will I ever get to use a private outdoor shower again?) in addition to a normal one. So cool. And it’s all so new.

The cabins are surrounded by lush landscaping with tons of plants and flowers. So gorgeous! Except that the damn birds woke me up. I don’t care for birds. Oh, and there are bunnies everywhere. They’re actually kind of cute. Yeah, yeah, cute bunnies… moving on.

Hotel bunny

Hotel bunny

We’ve done a lot since getting here Saturday afternoon: hung out in the hotel’s heated pool, took a bus to the “other  side” of the volcano at night to see the lava flow, enjoyed some good meals, and took a white water rafting trip down the Rio Toro! That was the highlight so far – the rush of adreneline, the cold of the rapids washing over, the cows and monkeys and poisonous frogs, the guy in charge named Rocky. And the scenerey. And the lunch after at the boat house where we dined on a traditional Costa Rican meal of casado, mainly rice, black beans, salsa, yuca, and some type of really good stew-type dish with chicken or beef and potatoes and carrots. Yum.

Fish casado from hotel restaurant

Fish casado from hotel restaurant

The rest of the meals have been at the hotel and have been very good, although my favorite thing so far was the gaspacho which was different from versions I’ve had in Chicago, along with the fresh fruit. This pineapple is so incredibly sweet and juicy that my mouth was tingling a bit from it all day. I hope that wasn’t a sign of an allergic reaction… hmm?

Gaspacho with Avocado

Gaspacho with Avocado

After the rafting trip we decided to check out one of the “hot springs” and went to Balbo. Very disappointing. So we left and came back to the hotel and sat in the heated pool here, specifically at the pool bar.

I’m excited for the rest of the trip. As I mentioned, next up is Monteverde followed by Manuel Antonio and then finally San Jose.

Shrimp rice fragata from hotel restuarant

Shrimp rice fragata from hotel restuarant

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