took the 12:40am flight out of LAX on friday and arrived in san jose on at 9:40am. we decided to take the public bus to la fortuna de san carlos (where we would be staying for the first 2 nights of our trip) so we cabbed it into town to take the 11:30am bus. despite the fact that we could have taken the bus from alajuela (where SJO is), we sprung for the further journey in order to secure a seat. luckily we had, otherwise we would have been standing on the packed bus with our bags. total fare was US $4 for the 4-hour ride.
arrived at the station in la fortuna around 3:30pm and phoned the manager of the cerro chato eco lodge, where miguel (owner/manager) gladly picked us up. the lodge consists of about 13 individual cabins about a 15-minute walk from a main road. miguel, his wife carmen and their charming children miguelito and carmencita welcomed us with open arms and took good care of us.
after washing up and settling in, we strolled into town for groceries and for dinner at a local soda (family-run restaurant), consisting of nachos and carne asada. just about every meal in costa rica comes with rice & beans, so that will go without saying for the rest of the trip:
post dinner, we opted to visit the hot springs at the springs resort & spa, about an 8km ride from our hotel. i tried to secure reservations at eco-termales, but the exclusive joint only allows 100 visitors per session and the night session was booked long ago. the springs turned out to be incredible, as the resort takes advantage of its proximity to volcano arenal. individual pools range in temps from 76 degrees fahrenheit up to 103, so the variety and intimate feel lent to a gorgeous setting. pics didn't register too well, so here's a crappy one along with the dessert of tres leches afterwards...