Yet another early morning- our last in fact. We departed the hotel around 7am for Poas Volcano. It took us a while to get there but the sights of the valley over the guardrail-less road were beautiful. We arrived around 8:30- before the clouds and before the crowds. As soon as we began moving everyone started having coughing fits because of the sulfur. It was pretty funny actually. We very quickly made our way up to the crater where we had a beautiful view. We took the appropriate number of tourist pics before splitting off.
Four of us decided to walk up to the second, dormant crater which is now a lake. Also beautiful to look at. Not long after we descended to hit the gift shop, the people began to show up in droves. As did he clouds. A couple of people went back by the rim to check it out again and said it was covered by clouds, if you could even get through the crowd to see it. So I'm glad we went extremely early on in the morning.
On the way to lunch we passed through a town that's still rebuilding after an earthquake in 2008. We ended up at a waterfall just off the roadside where I learned the value of a well-kept motorcycle. Yep. There were a lot of jokes at the waterfall.
We ate lunch at a family restaurant- Fredo Fresca. The service was extremely quick and the food was delicious. They gave us fresh strawberry juice that was amazing. The strawberry is king of the region because of the volcanic soil. We passed so many roadside stands and I just wanted to stop at all of them. I can't wait for summer at home and I can get them from the garden.
From lunch we headed to a factory souvenir store where I bought a lot of beautiful (I think) things for people. I hope they like them!
We headed back to the hotel after that where we took advantage of the fading afternoon sun out by the pool. Dinner was at a local family restaurant that we walked to. After dinner we all met up in the hotel bar where we had an unofficial end-of-trip celebration. A couple guys went out into the gardens to go night herping (looking for reptiles and amphibians) and found some really interesting critters, including wolf spiders the size of your hand. The rest of us, however, were making friends with the bar staff, who introduced us to a local favorite- Guaro Sour. It's similar to a whiskey sour but with Guaro which is made from sugar cane. Delicious.
All in all I loved the entire trip. From the steamy forests of El Zota, the wet forests at Tapanti, and the cold forests at the Quetzal Lodge, it was all well worth it.