Costa Rica. Absolutely beautiful country, but according to my wallet also very very expensive. Yes, it’s convenient to pay in dollars. But that’s about it. No need for a 20 dollar taxi to a National Park and pay an additional 50 dollar to enter and a 20 dollar taxi ride back home. In backpacker’s minds it just says ‘ERROR, ERROR, YOU’RE SPENDING TOO MUCH’ and ‘THAT’S 9 NIGHTS OF ACCOMODATION’ and ‘NOPE’. Sadly, you miss a lot of crazy views and beautiful trips. Luckily, you can always visit Costa Rica again once you’ve gathered enough funding. But then I had this magical and incredibly cheap experience.
Arenal is a volcano somewhere in a city called La Fortuna on the mainland in Costa Rica. Since me and M. – my travel buddy at the time – decided to leave Monteverde on a jeep – boat – jeep trip, Arenal was welcoming us from a distance, surrounded by lush greenery and hills while we were speeding over a giant lake. Once arrived at our unexpectedly cheap hostel – 6 dollars a night in Costa Rica, who found a better spot? –, we noticed they had a tour on offer. For only 7 dollars you could get a jeep, driver included, that would take you to the free hot springs and back. Seemed like a deal to me.
So we booked the tour the same evening. Around five o’clock our guide arrived, a very happy, shirtless and chill Costa Rican dude. In the jeep and off we went. Once we arrived, we jumped out of the car wearing only flip flops, bikini’s and a light summer dress. At the slopes of the volcano, the roadside consisted of only tropical plants and jungle trees, but our guide knew exactly were to lead us. Onto a small path into the bushes, the free hot springs were waiting for us. Leading us through a cut hole in a fence – so far the free hot springs – we were getting pretty excited. And wow. Wow. Sun going down, steaming streams running along the path and a couple of other people enjoying the hot water. Tons of stars in the sky. Feeling like the Flintstones, ready to meet with the dinosaurs. Moonlight. Little cups of rum-fresco. Laughter and water. The guide catching frogs.– no, I didn’t kiss a frog – Magical wonderland.