There had been talk of ‘the walk’ since we arrived in Costa Rica. Who was in? Who was out? Who was in, then out? Who was in, but when they woke to the La Fortuna skies dripping and black contemplated a rich warm coffee and accidentally, on purpose, missing the bus? Turns out my best friend and I were in.
We travelled the winding roads through lush greenery and bright splashes of flowers to the drop off point for Cerro Chato – otherwise known as short hill or, six-hour extreme hike. Following Fredrico, our local guide, we set off upwards in the pitter-pattering rain – we were on a mission! Meters later we were stopped enchanted by the hundreds of hummingbirds keeping us company along the path. We set off again, we were on a mission! And stopped – hibiscus flowers as big as your face! And this is how it went – a miniscule orchid so small and precious that you had to lie down on the ground to get up close and personal with it and a leaf so big it sheltered you and your bestie from the rain. No wonder it was going to take us six hours, we had not even reached the start of the trail.
Stepping into peaceful tranquility we started the trail that led us up through dark green hanging vines, misty clouds that engulfed the person in front of you and ferns that left intricate droplets of water on your skin. A canvas of leaves sheltered us from the temperamental weather and allowed dimpled light through. ‘And what do you think that is?’ Fredrico asked as we stood around looking at a small hole in the moist soil next to the path. Apart from a hole it was obviously home to something and as we bent closer to have a look Fredrico announced with great flourish ‘A tarantula’s hole! But I don’t think he is home at the moment.’ We were happy to keep moving just in case Mr. T decided to take a stroll over our shoes. Colorful critters and plants were introduced to us as we made our way up to the rim of the extinct volcano crater that was Cerro Chato. On arrival to the rim the view of Arenal volcano that La Fortuna is famous for looked rather like grey clouds however, we were not in the least bit concerned. We were surrounded by beautiful pure life, or ‘pura vida’ as Fredrico would say.
The adventure continued as we slid our way down through the mud to the lagoon crater where we splashed about amongst the frogs and massaged our feet on the pebbled shore of the lagoon. How fortunate we were to have this beautiful place to ourselves, the whole crater of a volcano, imagine if we had accidently, on purpose, missed the bus? Fresh bursting pineapple was our reward for when we had finished. As was the three keel billed toucans that hang around to congratulate us. Plus the pina coladas in town. And lastly, but certainly not least, the fact that we still had ten fabulous days of our tour to go.