Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day 1- part 2- At Arenal Observatory Lodge

After driving on a gravel road for twenty minutes we finally arrived at our destination-- The Arenal Observatory Lodge.  When I first began planning this trip some thirteen months ago, it was nothing but a dream and staying at this lodge was at the top of my list.  Not only is it the closest place to stay at the base of Arenal volcano but it has lots to do on its property including a museum with history of the volcano, a hanging bridge, free morning tour, and countless trails with a few waterfalls.  I could hardly believe we were there.
This lovely pond area is the home of many beautiful frogs.
At night they would all take turns croaking.  Personally, I loved the sound of them, but one guest actually complained so the staff went out one night with their flashlights to hunt for the frogs to move them to another place.  Thankfully, they came back by the next evening.
Arenal Volcano is beautiful.  Though it is in its resting phase, steam can be seem coming from the top.  The way it mixes with the clouds is mesmerizing and we often found ourselves staring at it from the observatory deck near the restaurant.  What we found most interesting about this jungle area was the pine trees.

Here is the beautiful view of the pool where we spent much of our free time.  It is hard to explain how wonderful the weather felt-- It wasn't hot, and it wasn't really muggy.  It rained off and on, but it was never bothersome.  The fresh air felt so clean and energizing.
The pool was exhilarating.  What I would do to be able to jump in it again.  It was colder than most pools back home, but the lack of chlorine and the abundance of fresh rain water constantly filtering through it made it absolutely perfect.

We all enjoyed going back and forth between the swimming pool and hot tub.
The background building has the museum to the left and the game room to the right.

Annalyn was in heaven with all the photo opportunities.  Many of the pictures you see are ones that she took.  I think she is very talented.

From the observatory deck we could see a variety of birds and animals that came to eat the fresh fruit set out by the staff.

A stunning view of Arenal Lake (and two of my daughters) could also be seen from the deck.

Mr. Stick Bug greeted us as we walked into the restaurant for dinner. 
The restaurant was wonderful and the staff was happy to accommodate our large family.   We got to order off of a group menu which included unlimited fresh juice (guanabana was a family fave), a main entrée, and dessert.  I ordered beefsteak casado which is the typical Costa Rican dish which includes your choice of meat, rice, beans, plaintains, and salad. 
It was so nice being able to spend time with our older children without having to pre-cut their meals and pour their drinks.  ;)
It brought me joy to see their excitement as we discussed our next day's excursion.

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