Costa Rica is known for a large amount of diversity, with actually 5% of the world’s biodiversity. It is so beautiful, with mountains, trees, different species of animals, volcanos, rivers, and more. This past weekend I had the opportunity to travel to a stunning part of the country exhibiting such beautiful biodiversity, La Fortuna, Alajuela. La Fortuna is a small town that has two volcanoes, Arenal Volcano and Chato Volcano. Chato Volcano actually looks like a man lying down, which made for some good pictures!
Before this experience I have never seen a volcano in person; I mean most people from the United States probably never have. It was amazing to see volcanoes in person, which is something that I never imagined I would do before. We hiked up to see Arenal Volcano, however we couldn’t go to the very top because it is a dangerous hike (and I didn’t want to start an avalanche). We were able to sit closer to the volcano to get a better view, and we were actually sitting on rocks that were formed from lava from the major eruption of Arenal Volcano in 1968. The trails to get closer to Arenal Volcano were through the rainforest with breathtaking species of trees, flowers, and even animals were completely unknown to me. The waterfall that we saw was astonishing, and we swam right next to it. During our time there we had the chance to see sloths, frogs, a couple of spiders, colorful birds, and an animal called a Coati. Coati’s are a popular animal in La Fortuna, and it kind of looks like a mix of a racoon and a monkey. They were not shy at all, and even would walk up to people-so be careful if you visit!
One part of my time in La Fortuna that I really did love was seeing the sloths. In Spanish, sloths are called “perezosos,” which means lazy. I thought this was so cute because sloths sleep all day long, but they are actually very active at night… so they are not as lazy as most people think!
Another beautiful outcome from the eruption of Arenal Volcano in 1968 was the formation of natural hot springs. These hot springs are warm even at night, and the mud in them is full of minerals that are good for your skin. At the hot spring that we went to there was a little waterfall, and you could go underneath it without getting wet from the waterfall. It truly was an incredible experience. My time in La Fortuna made me think about Earth’s gifts to us, and reminded me that we really do need to take care of the environment around us, which some people take for granted. It also made me think about how people in Costa Rica care so much about their environment around them, which I think reflects values of the country. This is one thing from this experience that I am going to take with me always.