Saturday, March 21, 2009

Costa Rica & the Arenal volcano region

The Arenal Volcano, in Spanish Volcán Arenal, is an active stratovolcano in north-western Costa Rica (10.5N, 84.7W), it's approx. a 3 hours drive north-west from San Jose, in the province of Alajuela, canton of San Carlos, and district of La Fortuna. It's the most active volcano in Costa Rica. Recognized as a volcano since the 19th century; it was known by foreign investigators as Volcan Costa Rica, Rio Frio, Canastos Volcano and Cerro de los Guatusos. Arenal is the youngest and most active of all the mountains in Costa Rica. Scientists have been able to date it back to more than 4000 years ago. The area remained largely unexplored until 1937, when a documented expedition took place to reach the summit.
Once locally known as Cerro Arenal (i.e. Mount Arenal) it was presumed extinct until July 29, 1968 when an earthquake caused it to erupt after approximately 400 years of dormancy. The eruption wiped out the town of Arenal and killed 87 people. It lasted for several days, and during that time destroyed crops, property, livestock, and forests. 15 square kilometers were buried and the explosion affected over 232 square kilometers. The eruption caused three new and active craters to form. Before the eruption, there was a wide variety of plant and wildlife on the mountain. It has been active since the explosion and can be reported to have minor eruptions every 5-10 minutes. All of this has not detracted
Arenal rises 1657 metres above sea level and overlooks Lake Arenal; both are part of Arenal Volcano National Park. The country's most active volcano, Arenal's eruptions are strombolian in type, being frequent but moderate and can be viewed without danger as long as the viewers are behind the safety perimeter. This constant activity and minimal endangerment makes Arenal a popular tourist destination, especially at night, because the lava and incandescent rocks make a spectacular sight. The last major eruption of Arenal occurred on August 23, 2000. There's a variety of accommodations in La Fortuna & Arenal to suit every taste, from el cheapo hostels to your standard fair. I'd recommend Lomas del Volcan. The hotel sits at the foot of the majestic Arenal Volcano, just 4 km from La Fortuna. It's a great spot just off the main road; you'll have to cross a stream to get to the hotel and cabins, but it's well worth the drive in to the hills.includes two terraces, from which you can enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano. The cabins include one king size bed and one queen or two queen size beds, ceiling fans, AC, refrigerator, coffee maker, telephone (international call service available), hot water, security boxes and laundry service. The back terrace of each cabin has a front-row seat to view the volcano. Most of the time, the volcano is surrounded by clouds near the tip, and it is touted as good luck to see the whole volcano without clouds. The volcano heats several hot springs nearby, including Tabacon, a popular tourist destination.
You can grab yourself a freshly rolled cigar in the lobby of the Tabacon hot springs. I don't condone smoking, but after tasting a freshly rolled cigar, I can tell you it tastes like you're smoking cinnamon chocolate candy. That's right kids, cigars taste like candy!! The hot springs are located west of La Fortuna on route 142.

Tom Jones...The Grandaddy of Cool.

Tell your momma; somewhere in a dark hotel room, Tom Jones is singing and thinking about her.

Tom Jones - If He Should Ever Leave You - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

After each take, the manager erupts: “That was great! Wonderful! Did ya see that? Ya can’t get better than that!”