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Bas traveling around Costa Rica page 4.

After about a week or so of the Tambor Torture, we jumped back in the car to make our way back to San Jose. We had about 5 days to kill getting there so I decided to take him to Jaco beach on the Pacific seaboard.

Nice paradise beach - Montezuma
Jaco is a hip little surf town that isn't so little any more. The first time I'd visited Jaco was about 4 years ago and already it's blown into this tiny America on the coast. There are pizza huts, subways, 24 hr grocery stores and everything. It was definitely a shock to the system and I think my friend sensed it too...No big deal, switch gears and we were off. We stayed in this little hotel right on the water called Casablanca. This is a great little place because of its location on the beach and for the hotel itself. It's very safe and the rooms are very clean. It's about $100 a night or so...depending on the season, of course. In Jaco we took part in a nice massage, a really great dinner and a couple of the late spot bars and clubs. If you're in Jaco for the weekend you'll definitely see the bars opening until breakfast but this was a Tuesday and most things calmed down around 2 or 3...Thank the heavens! The next day we took a few hours on the beach and had some good breakfast and coffee. This day we were driving all the way to La Fortuna to visit the great, majestic Volcano Arenal. This is one of my favorite places in Costa Rica. It's absolutely stunning.

Massage in paradise - Costa Rica
If you're traveling to or from Jaco, it will be great if you can be in your own car because there is a famous bridge about 15 minutes from Jaco where you can park, hit a little restroom break, buy some goodies, grab a bite to eat and look at 15 foot salt water crocodiles. Yep...that's right...Big, enormous, potential man-eating beasts of the river. Luckily, you have a very safe vantage point of about 50 feet directly above these little critters. You'll see the tourists hanging on the bridge to get the best pictures of these ancient creatures and it is pretty creepy.

Normal traffic - Costa Rica
I've never heard of any incident or accident with one of these scaly animals but it's pretty exciting to see them in their natural environment. I've seen tours where these guys opt to leave the guided boat tour, wade in waist-high water to tantalize these beasts with meat other than their own bodies and I think, "Yeah...that's pretty cool..." but I really don't wanna see it. I'm certain I'll be on the tour with one-armed Juan when he learns two valuable lessons 1) Never under-estimate your opponent and 2) How to fasten your belt.

So, we stopped at the bridge and watched the teeth and eyeballs submerge and re-emerge for about an hour, grabbed some waters and hit the road again. The trip from Jaco to La Fortuna is about 4 1/2 hours if you decide to drive through the cloud forest. Who wouldn't want to drive through the cloud forest? I'd seen Cloud City on the videos. So, on we drove. We're coming Lando!

Beautiful lake - Arenal
The cloud forest is a lot cooler to sit and have a couple of drinks while it slowly moves in...if you've ever seen the movie The Fog...it's EXACTLY like that but without the leper colony subplot. But to drive through the mountainous, snaking roads and bridges barely able to see your hood ornament can add a little more excitement to your trip than you probably wanted. Just take it slow and enjoy it...it's really pretty spectacular to see.
Just as you exit the cloud's embrace you find yourself nearly on top of La Fortuna. The volcano is visible from here, too but odds are it's difficult to see. As many times as I've been to Arenal I've never been able to see the volcano when I'm driving in or out. Usually, the best visibility is in the morning or late at night.

Read more:

- Day 1 /San Jose.
- Day 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6 /Nicoya Pensula, Mal Pais, Santa Teresa, Montezuma and Tambor.
- Day 7 & 8 /Jaco and Manuel Antonio.
- Day 9, 10 & 11 /La Fortuna and Arenal.
- Day 12 & 13 /Jaco, Manuel Antonio, San Jose or Alejuela.

- Download Bas must see Costa Rica (PDF)
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