Jane wrote to me this morning:

Hey, Saratica:

My Son has visited your site many times and loves all the info you give. He and I are coming to CR this weekend. We are enrolled in a language school in San Jose. We will have the afternoons and weekends free. Can you give us advice on places to see and things to do?

Thanks for taking the time to read and reply,

I don’t always have time to write back, although I certainly mean to… But sometimes days and weeks go by (right, Arp?) while the email languishes in my inbox. This morning, timing was perfect for a reply and my mind was actually clicking along – probably because I went to the gym yesterday and took my vitamins. I replied immediately:

Hi Jane,

I would not miss Arenal. That for me has been the most amazing site. And it’s just been spewing tons ‘o ash… That is a long day trip and if you just spend a day, you might not get to see it out of clouds, something which may only happen at night during the rainy season. So I’d spend the night. We stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge, around $130/night including breakfast. There are MUCH cheaper places to stay but they are on the wrong side of the volcano and you don’t get the view.

There is also Poas Volcano and the La Paz Waterfall Gardens – my second favorite place and that’s a day trip. Butterflies, hummingbirds and amazing waterfalls.

At Arenal, there is a snake place that is pretty amazing, right near the Lodge: on the gravel road leading to the lodge, you come to a fork. You go left to the lodge, right to the snake place. Even if you are not a snake person, we had a guide that was a certified mad-scientist snake-o-phile. Fascinating. Plus they had a live Rhino beetle. Creepy.

[Click here to see those frog’s eggs!]

There is Zoo Ave [sew AH-vay] in La Garitas, a bird zoo with other animals, but mostly birds. I have not been but will go soon. I’ve heard people rave about this and Zoo Ave is actually conservationist-minded.

There are two botanical gardens: the Else Kientzler Garden and the Lankester Garden. Have not been to either, but will soon. Friends have raved about Lankester which is southeast of the city, a day trip. Haven’t met anyone who’s been to the other which is on the road to Arenal.

On all your day trips, GO EARLY. It rains in the afternoon, starting anytime after 12noon. It’s usually sunny and lovely in the mornings. Get up early, arrive at the opening hour, wear sandals or flip flops and take an umbrella.

Also, search the Costa Rica Living Group for "day trip" or even "San Jose day trip"… Someone was asking just recently and there were several good recommendations.

Have fun – thank you for asking!

Pura vida!

P.S. Pick up a copy of the Tico Times, too. That comes out on Fridays and has a listing of all the events for the coming week. Tons of theatre, dance, music. TONS.

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