We left Arenal Springs and went west, stopping at Mistico Hanging Bridges, a series of fifteen suspension bridges interspersed through a private park in the rainforest. Our tour members had a choice between four activities. We could remain at the entry and enjoy the view of Arenal Volcano, or walk half a mile to the first bridge and then turn around, or walk halfway through the bridges and then turn around, or walk the two mile loop with a guide through the rainforest. We chose the two mile loop. This meant walking very quickly on an uphill path through the dense jungle in order to keep up with our guide, as well as with octogenarians Gloria and Phillip. I was again grateful to my friend Lisa for recommending Keen sandals, because they gripped the rocky, hilly paths and the bridges like chewing gum, so comfortably.
Up we ascended along the winding cliffs until we reached the first bridge. We imagined bridges made of rope, as in an Indiana Jones movie, but instead they were very sturdy, safe metal bridges. Each one had its own guard who limited the number of of people making the crossing at all times. We were impressed by the density of the rainforest canopy and the purity of the air. This was truly pura vida!
Although we couldn’t see the howler monkeys, we could hear them communicating with each other. Nick adored taking photos of the flora including giant philodendron, a strangler fig, and a bloodroot tree, and the fauna, including army ants, leaf cutter ants, and a viper.
This was heaven for him, an enthusiast of television nature shows. He could have stayed much longer. Dawn loved it so much that she wanted to apply for a job in the park. As for me, this was definitely my favorite activity of the trip so far.
We continued along to Leatherback Turtles National Park, where we learned about efforts to protect this endangered species.
The problem is that the turtle eggs are rumored to work better than Viagra, so many of them are stolen and very few actually hatch.
All of Guanacaste province is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our hotel, the J.W. Marriott Guanacaste Resort and Spa, was extremely luxurious. The hotel was constructed in a large semicircle around the freeform pool, and beyond the pool was the Pacific.
Dinner that night was quite different: a delicious Korean barbecue. We thought about taking a walk after dinner, but after going back and forth from heat to air conditioning, I started to feel a cold coming on. We want back to our room instead.