New Year's Day in Costa Rica
We woke up feeling way better than I had thought we would! 2017 is off to a great start. We went to La Parada for breakfast and had desayuno tico (typical breakfast) with rice and beans, eggs, toast, plantains, fruit and a side of bacon. So. Happy. Then we went back to the hostel, packed a bag and a lunch for the day and headed to the Mistico Hanging Bridges—a trail with 16 suspension bridges through the canopy of the rainforest.
We saw lots of hummingbirds, especially in the main garden area, but it was incredibly foggy so it was pretty hard to see anything else. On our way out we saw about a dozen coati on the side of the road and stopped to look. They looked like a pack of raccoon cats and were so cute!
We were pretty pooped afterwards so we decided to head to some local hot springs. This area is famous for hot springs, and you can pay to spend a day at any one of a number of resorts with hot spring pools. We wanted to save some money and have a more authentic experience, so we went to a local spot just outside of Tabacon. There were a bunch of vendors selling food and drinks on the road, so we got snacks and hung out with the families in the water! We had a blast and really enjoyed the hot water -- our hangovers were kicking in and the chill time did us great.
One thing we didn't think about on the way in ... everyone had parked on the side of the road to go down to the springs, and by the time we left there was a HUGE traffic jam. Luckily we were headed away from the traffic, but it was over five+ minutes of driving before we got past the end of the stand still. So glad we were parked just beyond the backup! As we left we bought a yummy coconut from a road stand, made cheese and avocado sandwiches, and drove to La Fortuna Waterfall.
It was a steep hike down to the waterfall, but absolutely gorgeous. Julian swam for a while, but it was a bit too cold for me so I sat it out. We had to go up what felt like hundreds of stairs on the way back, but it was worth it!
We tried to go to Arenal Observatory to get appetizers and happy hour and to see the sunset over Lake Arenal (which we heard is beautiful!), and were a little disappointed. Very long story short, the staff was super unfriendly and rude, they charged us all sorts of fake fees, and did not make for a great visit. I have to think that if it was a clear, sunny day it may have been worth it for the views from the tower deck, but I would not recommend it otherwise.
We ended up heading back into town to get dinner at a great little Soda called Pollo Fortuneño. The food was really inexpensive and delicious, and there was SO much of it!! We got a half a chicken, rice and beans, patacones, and a couple of local beers. We were so happy :)