SO exhausted right now, but I figure I'll update now before I forget everything and fall asleep lol
Friday: Didn't leave 'til 5pm and its a 3 hour ride and we stopped for dinner along the way so we didn't get to our hotel until around 10pm. The ride there was a little sketchy, everything was dark and we had this massive bus that couldn't fit on any of the roads (it took us half an hour to turn around in a parking lot because we were blocking traffic with our 15 point turn). There were little tiny bridges without railings that I though for sure we were going to fall over but we finally made it and we were pretty excited! We stayed at Hotel Arenal Pariaso and our rooms were like little villa houses. Saturday was Casey's birthday so we were pretty excited and jumped around on the beds like we were 5 and took lots of crazy pictures until we got so tired and just went to sleep.
Saturday: We had to wake up very early and it was the first we could actually see of where we were because there was daylight. So we opened the shade and low and behold theres the volcano!! As we were looking out the window there was this little high pitched crying and so I looked at one of the chairs on our porch and there was a cat!! So friendly, I named him Tigre (tiger in spanish) because he had stripes and spots and it just seemed appropriate :) loved him, we cuddled for half an hour that morning hahah then off to hike to the observatory spot next to Arenal. It was a ridiculously hot day (Tico's said it would be cold, but I think they have different perceptions of cold that New Englander's do!) but the hike was fantastic. At the top there was a beautiful view. I've never seen anything like it. We climbed up a whole pile of black volcanic rocks and on one side there was a view of mountains and lake Arenal and on the other side was the volcano itself. Everyone told us that its always surrounded by clouds but the day was so clear nothing covered it up, so it was great!! We picnicked up there and climbed back down. Lounged around the pool for a couple hours until it was time to go to the hot springs at 5pm. The place we went to was huge! There were so many pools of incredibly hot water but Casey and I wanted to walk around first and find the tropical garden. By that point it was starting to rain a little and it was kind of dark out. We found the garden and it was a large archway of flowers and trees and the ground was covered in little grassy stone squares. Then we started following this little side paths of stone walkways that went into the thick groves of plants. It was the coolest thing, we walked through so many different paths and there were so many new noises and beautiful scenery, but it all seemed so surreal, we joked around and called it our Alice in Wonderland. The pools themselves were very nice too but you can only stay in hot water for song long. the pools were from 93 degrees to 153 degrees F, it was insane! By the time we left we were starving and met at a little place in Fortuna where we were served volcano shaped dishes of rice and all sorts of meat. By that point everyone was exhausted and wanted to go to bed. Back at our room though I found a huge spider while Casey was in the shower, and of course I'm too wimpy to kill anything so I found an ashtray in the room and trapped it lol We didnt know what to do after that so we called one of the boys over. It was the funniest thing I think I have ever seen. Between our friend crawling on the ground trying to get it to a place he could uncover it and kill it and Casey screaming and laughing hysterically it was just too much hahah I laughed so hard, needless to say we slept like babies.
Sunday: 6am up for breakfast and a shower (A WARM SHOWER!!) because today we're going zip-lining! While we were waiting for the bus to pick us up we saw a sloth, a toucan, and a hummingbird that hit the window so he was just chilling with us for a little while (don't worry hes fine now). Once at the zip-lining place they gave us all sorts of safety instructions, in Spanish mind you, and sent us up on a tractor ride to get to the platforms. 20 minute tractor ride and a 30 minute hike with our gear on (sooo heavy) and we finally made it to the first platform. I was definitely freaking out. 300 feet up, and they want me to just let myself go off the edge of something thats 600m long... uhhh a little too scary for me. But the first couple were practice runs and I wanted to get the anxiety out of my head so I just went first hahah. It was SO fast, and they told me not to break so the stopping system on the other side got me, which was a lot of fun, but no one came in quite as fast as I did! I had a double pulley system so it made me go so much faster. after a few practice cables (which were just shorter and slower cables in the forest) we headed to number 5- 600m long WOW it was insane!! gorgeous view, unlike anything I had ever seen, past the Fortuna waterfall and over the canopy overlooking the town. that wasnt the longest one though, 980m long, and 100m high.. but at that point nothing was scary anymore and it was just so much fun!! Its literally the coolest thing I think I've ever done and I would love love love to do it again! everything else that happened that day was just being late and stressful group coordinating so nothing too exciting, now though I'm home and so tired so I'll probably end up going to bed soon even though its not even 5:30 here yet lol