Monday, July 19, 2010

Lago Arenal

July 11th to 16th


The first couple of days riding in Costa Rica is fairly dull. The terrain is totally flat and uninspiring which is a real boon to us! We can now get some easy miles in and toughen up both the legs and our tender nether regions after our long break.


In stark contrast to the cerulean skies of the dry season, we ride beneath a slate roof – heavy black clouds that look ominous and heavy. Without warning, the wind can whip up from nowhere and the clouds burst, smashing heavy water droplets on to the road surface. They rebound in a fine spray above the Tarmac before settling back to help form temporary rivers. We are constantly drenched and nothing dries out in the humid air. Each morning, we pull on still-damp riding gear that is slowly taking on the nasty odour of wet rot and we have to try and keep our distance when talking to locals.


In Liberia, we stop to admire a particularly violent storm....



Thunder detonates like a shell directly overhead and simultaneously from several directions at once. It's like a scene from a World War II blitzkrieg attack – without all the damage of course. Lightning is constant; a strobe light that flickers on and off drawing the eye here and there, trying to track the jagged forks of brilliance as they live and die in an instant. The ground is waterlogged in seconds and thereafter turns to liquid.


The roof of our hotel is no match for the battering and we wake up with an inch of water on the stone floor of our room. All our kit is soaked and we take a day to try and dry out – after moving to another room that is.


Riding through Canas, we turn towards Arenal Lake and our first real test as the land rises steeply into the Tilaran Range of mountains. Our mileage drops to a new tour low – 22kms to Tilaran one day, followed by 32kms to Nuevo Arenal the next as gradients approach the ridiculous. It's nice however to leave the flatlands behind and the scenery improves dramatically.


This is cattle country and the pastureland is so rich and green....



In the distance we spot what looks like the finest water park invented by man – a 75 metre helter-skelter ride dropping into a 200m pipe that zooms down the hillside.



Rather boringly as we get closer it turns out to be part of a hydroelectric plant. Lake Arenal is man-made, created by the cool sounding 'ICE' company (Costa Rica's power company) who flooded a couple of villages; Arenal and Tonadora (presumably after moving the people out) to create a water and power supply.


After climbing for what seemed like a leg burning eternity we drop back down and catch our first views of Costa Rica's famous beauty spot, Lake Arenal...



The lake varies from 100 to 200 feet deep depending on rainfall and the crocs mean swimming is not recommended.


Unfortunately it's close to our last view as a storm suddenly blows in and stinging rain takes our visibility down to nothing.


Leaving Nuevo Arenal the next day skies are clearer. After Honduras and Nicaragua, the well tended entranceways to hidden lake retreats come as a bit of a surprise. There is money here! Many Americans have holiday homes around the lake, but there are also a number of excellent five star luxury spa hotels here as well. We haven't seen uniformed valets around immaculately tended and manicured gardens since I can't remember when and it's all very un-Central American. I don't think we can afford to stop so we head on before we lower the tone!


Suddenly the hotels are no more, the neat lawns are past and deep jungle encroaches right up to the road again....



You have to be careful taking water breaks – this guy was eyeing the catch of the day in his giant web literally a metre a way from where we sat...



All the wet jungle is starting to take it's toll on us! Bites and stings are a constant nuisance and for a change I am rejected, Sue being judged a far more tasty treat. For every bite I receive, she seems to get 30 and after a particularly bad chomping her face swells up like a prize fighters after a grudge match that goes the distance. A row of bites along her forehead threatens to close her eye entirely and the bridge of her nose is more Golden Gate than aquiline.


Being the sympathetic type, I just can't resist humming the theme tune to 'Rocky' and getting her to re-enact a couple of scenes. Suzy is not amused!


Sadly it begins to pour again and the spectacular views of the majestic 1700m cone of Arenal Volcano behind the lake are shrouded in low cloud.


The lake is still stunning in an angry brooding sort of way....



Then, for but a second the veil is lifted and the grey spectre of a volcano briefly materialises....



We hole up in 'La Fortuna', base to a thousand tourists in search of high adrenaline adventure. Every other building is a hostel and hundreds of operators compete to entice travellers onto their tour buses....



It's a pretty little town backdropped by a picture perfect volcanic cone, unfortunately spoiled by it's soulless pursuit of the tourist dollar.


In it's favour though, we do discover 'Chan' here.


Tiny black seeds soaked overnight in sugar water produce a frog spawn like gloop with a texture to match. It's a bit like wall-paper paste with bits of grit added in and the whole thing wobbles when you shake the glass....



Costa Ricans (Ticos) drink it by the bucket load and swear by it's ability to cure any stomach complaint. Despite appearances, it tastes absolutely delicious!


And finally.... finally; after a quest that started way, way back in Mexico – I, at last get a half decent shot of that demon species that is called 'hummingbird'. I know not why this one failed to teleport away from the camera lens in time – maybe it is damaged in some way, maybe they just don't work properly in the rain - wet circuitry all shorting out or something? I know it's not the best photograph ever – but it is still a personal triumph....


GOTCHA....



10 comments:

Unnati Aranya Apartments Noida said...

Very nice article... .many thanks.
apartments in noida
flats in noida
property in noida
aranya in noida

Anonymous said...

soccer jerseys, reebok outlet, louis vuitton, converse shoes, celine handbags, chi flat iron, mcm handbags, new balance shoes, ralph lauren, lululemon, yoga pants, soccer shoes, louboutin, air max, timberland, rolex watches, herve leger, louis vuitton, lancel, ugg boots, jimmy choo, supra shoes, north face outlet, p90x3, tn pas cher, karen millen, mont blanc, nfl jerseys, ugg boots, vans, nike air max, hogan, insanity, beats by dre, juicy couture outlet, bottega, ugg boots, abercrombie and fitch, birkin bag, mulberry, ralph lauren, valentino, nike free, oakley, marc jacobs, ghd, ray ban, asics gel, hollister, montre homme, ferragamo shoes

Anonymous said...

michael kors outlet, oakley sunglasses, nike shoes, nike air max, air jordan, air max, polo ralph lauren, polo ralph lauren outlet, louboutin, oakley sunglasses, air max, true religion outlet, gucci outlet, true religion, coach purses, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton handbags, oakley sunglasses, ray ban sunglasses, longchamp outlet, nike free, nike air max, coach factory outlet, burberry outlet online, nike free, true religion jeans, jordan shoes, burberry outlet online, toms shoes, ray ban, louis vuitton outlet online, oakley sunglasses, kate spade outlet, prada handbags, longchamp, tiffany and co, coach factory, coach outlet, tory burch outlet, louboutin, chanel handbags, michael kors outlet, coach outlet store

Jordans Nike said...

cheap jordans, cheap jordan, jordan shoes for cheap, ugg australia, ugg, wholesale jordan shoes, Cheap LV Handbags, uggs on sale, Bags Louis Vuitton, ugg pas cher, ugg soldes, wholesale jordan shoes, Cheap jordans, cheap jordans, Cheap Nike jordan shoes, Discount Louis Vuitton, air jordan shoes, cheap nike jordan shoes, discount nike jordans, Discount LV Handbags, Cheap Louis Vuitton Handbags, uggs outlet, cheap jordan shoes, wholesale jordan shoes for sale, ugg boots

jjs lin said...

burberry sacrf
burberry sale
tory burch outlet
tory burch outlet online
tory burch handbags
tory burch sandals
tory burch sale
tory burch flats
tory burch shoes
air jordan 4
air jordan 11
air jordan 13
air jordan 6
air jordan gamma blue
air jordan concord
air jordan 10
air jordan 5
air jordan 9
lebron 12
kobe bryant shoes
air max 2015
supra shoes
oakley sunglasses wholesale
oakley outlet
oakley sunglasses
oakley vault
oakley sunglasses wholesale
cheap ray ban sunglasses
ray ban aviator sunglasses
ray-ban sunglasses

Wenhao Guo said...

ZD0721
san antonio spurs jerseys
the north face jackets
nike running shoes
mizuno running
spurs jersey
canada goose outlet
oakland raiders jerseys
tommy hilfiger outlet store
derrick rose jersey
raiders jerseys
north face jackets
blake griffin jersey
chelsea soccer jersey
cheap jordans
ugg boots
the north face outlet
kobe bryant shoes
chanel handbags
denver broncos jerseys

Libin Huang said...

michael kors bags
prada outlet
jordan shoes 2015
hermes outlet
michael kors handbags
michael kors outlet
lebron james shoes
cheap jordans
michael kors factory store
michael kors handbags clearance
links of london jewellery
beats by dre
lacoste pas cher
toms shoes
fitflop clearance
longchamp handbags
air jordan 13
cheap nfl jerseys
michael kors outlet
tods shoes
toms outlet
cheap nfl jersey
nike air max uk
swarovski outlet
louis vuitton outlet
swarovski outlet
ray-ban sunglasses
jordan shoes
juicy couture outlet
calvin klein underwear
kobe shoes
cheap jordans
cheap snapbacks
louis vuitton outlet store
new balance shoes

dong dong23 said...

louis vuitton
coach factory outlet
kate spade
kate spade handbags
nike outlet store
christian louboutin
oakley sunglasses wholesale
lebron james shoes
lebron james shoes
michael kors handbags
true religion shorts
pandora jewelry
jordan retro
louis vuitton outlet
coach factory outlet
toms
nike outlet
ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet
michael kors handbags
christian louboutin outlet
michael kors outlet
nike huarache shoes
mont blanc pens
coach outlet
jordan concords
fitflops
louis vuitton handbags
true religion
coach outlet
nike blazers
adidas superstar
ray ban sunglasses
ray ban wayfarer
louis vuitton outlet
giuseppe zanotti sneakers
michael kors handbags
asics shoes
abercrombie
michael kors outlet clearance
20166.4wengdongdong

chenlina said...

cheap nfl jerseys
timberland boots
kate spade
burberry outlet
jordan 8
christian louboutin shoes
mont blanc
canada goose outlet
ray ban sunglasses
michael kors handbags
kate spade
louis vuitton handbags
jordan femme pas cher
michael kors outlet
michael kors outlet clearance
prada outlet
moncler uk
oakley sunglasses wholesale
nike air max 90
adidas uk
ray ban pas cher
gucci handbags
boston celtics jerseys
louis vuitton
mont blanc pens for sale
san antonio spurs jerseys
ugg outlet
ray ban sunglasses
coach outlet
lebron james shoes
coach outlet
jordans
coach outlet
nike trainers
miami heat jerseys
gucci uk
louis vuitton outlet
gucci handbags
lebron 12
cheap uggs
chenlina20160831

Fangyaya said...

celtics jerseys
hermes handbags
jordan shoes
true religion outlet store
ugg slippers clearance
kate spade handbags
louis vuitton purses
ugg outlet online clearance
fitflops sale clearance
20169.22chenjinyan