After torrential rains most of the evening, we awoke to sun and a glorious view of the Arenal volcano. The soil here is very red due to the volcanic eruptions and it is great for growing bananas, plantains, oranges for juice, and sugar cane made mainly into brown sugar. This is a very unusual resort as there are duplex-type units that all face the volcano. Our rooms are very spacious but the unique feature is the bathroom. It is like an extension of the room with a corrugated roof that allows the rain to come in and water the plants that are in the shower. I hung laundry out to dry but realized it was getting wetter rather than drier due to the incoming rain.
After breakfast, the 44 passengers were loaded into our luxurious coach bus and headed northward for our cruise down the Cano Negro River. On our way there, our tour guide said we would be stopping at the "chicken" tree for a photo op. Once we approached, we saw several small trees loaded with gigantic orange iguanas. Apparently iguana meat tastes like chicken or chicken tastes like iguana, thus the name. After about 90 minutes, we arrived at the site and got boarded into our small motor craft for a 2 hour adventure up the river, towards the Nicaragua border. Along the way we were able to spot caimans, cormorants, a roseate spoonbill, fly catchers, anhingas, green iguanas, and plenty of howler monkeys. We traveled all the way to the Nicaraguan border and the quickly turned around for our trip back to our starting point. On the way back, a very unusual sighting happened: a strawberry blonde howler money baby was spotting high in the trees. Apparently is a very rare recessive gene occurrence but we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.
Because it was Sunday, we were served a very traditional Sunday meal which was arroz com pollo y yuca. (chicken mixed with rice and fried yucca roots). After a delicious lunch and a full stomach, it was time to head back on the bus for long ride back to our hotel.
Seeing our hotel is at the base of a volcano, it has a large mineral spring in it. The hotel has creatively found a way to capture this run off so we could all enjoy a very relaxing (and hot) soak in the calcium and magnesium laden water.
PS Steven's luggage was picked up at the San Jose hotel, transported here to a different hotel via a different tour group, and then retrieved via a golf cart and delivered to our door at 4:30.. All is good with the world now!