At less than $5 for a bus ride to the town of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano, I was still hopeful this trip could be done relatively cheap. Particularly when I found the small sodas to have excellent food at decent prices ($4-$6/casado plate)
The Arenal Volcano was quite the site, towering over the town.
And once again, the local park was magnificent.
As it turns out, transportation to everything from the town was quite expensive. So I rented a bike for a half day for $10 and rode an awesomely steep, but short road to this waterfall.
You can even get in the waterfall here. While somewhat dangerous with the powerful, choppy water and sharp rocks, very few passed up the chance for a dip in the very hot and humid weather. Being able to get in made it worthwhile even for those who have seen a lot of big waterfalls but haven't had the chance to attempt swimming up to one.
Here is a reminder not to attempt any jumps on a rented mountain bike that doesn't have pedals to clip your feet in.
This house had a refrigerator with fresh coconuts that could be purchased for $1. A literal oasis in the heat and humidity as I'd ran out of water on the trip there.
For $14/night, the Arenal Hostel Resort was well worth the price.
My favorite spot turned out to be this free watering hole. That big rock in the center was a great spot for a backflip into one of the two waterfalls on either side.
It also had this rope swing.
Which made for loads of fun!
Such a beautiful spot!
And the best part is it was all free and within walking distance to town!
Because of high transportation costs (typically $25 each way) to the national park, I again rented a mountain bike to ride to it. At $25/day it wasn't cheap, but it was cheaper. And I ran across this anteater on my way.
After an hour and a half of cycling and another steep $10 entrance fee, I was hiking up towards the volcano.
Though the sign said it was risky, it really wasn't.
The trail was beautifully groomed. One could go barefoot here.
Though the amount of trails was extremely disappointing, as it turned out to be only one 7km loop, there at least was this rough but marked path through the jungle that was not on the map.
At the end of the trail was a beautiful view of the adjacent Arenal Lake.
Unfortunately the trail did end and hiking up to the volcano like I had planned was not allowed.
Despite the major disappointment, the trail was quite a beautiful one and the bike ride to and from added to the experience.
Overall, La Fortuna was definitely a tourist town and the prices at a lot of places reflected it. Instead of being an adventurer's location, with lots of different places to explore, it was more of a tourist's location, with most available adventure packaged in one tour or another. With many incredible resorts and hot springs nearby, it was perfect for the average first world vacationer with lots of money to burn and looking for some neat outdoors activities. For a backpacker on a budget looking for cheap adventure and some extreme locations to explore, it had, well... very good food!