Besides hiking around in the mountainous cloud forests, we also spent some time in the La Fortuna area. About 5,500 feet lower in elevation, it was a lot hotter and a far more urban environment. We stayed in a little Airbnb in a "Tico" (that's what Costa Ricans call themselves!) neighborhood. I sat on the little porch one evening and sketched the view opposite our temporary home, as well as some flowers in the yard.
Our first destination was to the La Fortuna Waterfall. To get there it took a quick taxi ride and then a long 400 steps down a ravine to the waterfall and river. People were wading and sunbathing on the rocks in the river. Occasionally the "life guard" blasted a whistle at someone getting too close to the pounding waterfall. I sat on a rock, spray sprinkling my sketchbook and I and tried to figure out how to fit the waterfall onto my page!
The Arenal Volcano is a major landmark in the area, dominating the horizon of La Fortuna. It is a perfect, conical volcano that smokes gently behind the church tower of the main square in town. As I painted this sketch, kids were playing soccer in the park and people strolled eating ice cream, while delivery trucks and motorcycles roared on the street behind me. It was an excellent way to end a day hiking in the Arenal Volcan National Park where we hiked over lava rocks and got an amazing close up (but not too close!) view of the sleeping volcano.
Next, we took a day trip up to Cano Negro, a couple hours to the north in order to take a boat ride on the Rio Frio. Riding in our canopied boat, we saw caiman (like small alligators), capuchin, howler and spider monkeys, sloths, kingfishers, anhinga and more. The river must not have been too frio (cold) because there were some shallow sections full of people enjoying their Easter holiday. I wouldn't want to get into water with caimans (they can get over 6 ft long!), but the Ticos sure didn't seem to be worried about it!
The final stage of our trip was to return to San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, to be close to the airport for our flight home. We stayed in a little Airbnb in a funky neighborhood and I had a fabulous time sketching just within a block of where we were staying. We did a little exploring, visiting the Museum of Gold (largest collection of Pre-Columbian Gold in the World!) which is built UNDERNEATH a plaza and in built in a vault!, and, of course, eating delicious food. My favorite? Pineapple lemonade at a little coffee shop built in what used to be a one car garage!
Next up: Some of the sketching I've been doing since I got home to Spokane!