A Travellerspoint blog

From Lava to Mist (and a promise)

Puntarenas, Costa Rica

sunny 87 °F
View Around the World! - Part 1 on Where2FromHere's travel map.

Costa Rica is a peaceful country, without an army since 1948, in a region known for political unrest. In place of military spending, the government allocated those funds to education, resulting in high literacy rates and a productive workforce. The country is renowned for its natural beauty, offering diverse ecosystems. It has a population of 5 million and more than two-thirds of its coast is foreign owned. We traveled from a steamy, hot port to a refreshingly cool mountain region during our visit. Agriculture and tourism are of major importance to Costa Rica.

Their production includes:

  • Coffee: Costa Rica is famous for its high-quality coffee
  • Salsas and Hot Sauces: Costa Rica has its own local sauces used on meats, fish, and rice, such as the Tipica Tropical Sauce and Salsa Lizano.
  • Handicrafts, Fabrics and Wooden Souvenirs: Costa Rican handicraft souvenirs include fabrics, embroidery, and cloth crafts, often reflecting local themes such as flowers, butterflies (especially blue ones which hold special significance), and animals of the jungle.
  • Chocolates and Rum: Costa Rican chocolates and rum are also popular products, with various local brands offering unique flavors.

Tourism is also a major player with surfing opportunities, and attractions like the La Paz Waterfall Gardens and the Poás Volcano. Although the waves were prime for surfers, we opted out and chose the latter.

The Poás Volcano in Costa Rica is one of the country's most active and frequently visited volcanoes. It has erupted 40 times since 1828, including a significant eruption in April of 2017, after which visitors and residents were evacuated and the park was closed for nearly 17 months. Its most recent eruption was reported January 26th this year. The volcano is known for its green acid crater lake, called the Laguna Caliente ("hot lagoon"), and during some of its frequent phreatic eruptions, water from the lake is ejected like a geyser.


The two types of eruptions include:

  • Phreatic eruptions are driven by the heating and pressurization of groundwater by magma. They do not involve the ascent of magma to the surface. Instead, they result from the interaction between water and hot rock.
  • Phreatomagmatic eruptions, on the other hand, occur when magma comes into contact with water, leading to the explosive ejection of steam, water, ash, and rocks. A few in our group were able to witness a small plume from an eruption break through the clouds. Here's what an eruption from January of this year looked like:


Not to worry - as we had hard hats and the air's gases were being monitored continuously (plus gas masks were available in the evacuation shelters). Needless to say, we were happy there wasn't a need to make a rapid escape during our brief stay. Below is a link to a video of the action while we were there:

On the trip to both the volcano and to the waterfalls we observed a wide array of beautiful foliage. Here's but a smattering of what we saw:




La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a nature park and wildlife refuge in Costa Rica that features the largest animal sanctuary in the country with many species of animals, including monkeys, pumas, jaguars, and oxen. Additionally, there was a replica of the decorative oxen cart traditionally used in the region.


La Paz gardens also features a lush tropical rainforest, flowing white rivers, and four magnificent waterfalls.



Here's yet another video - this one capturing the cascading waters of one of the falls in La Paz:

The day turned out to be much longer than expected, lasting nearly 10 hours instead of the advertised 5-hour tour. This caused us to almost miss our ship's departure. Despite SEG's guarantee of getting us to the next port if we miss the ship, the poor communication and limited understanding from the guides was a huge concern. I couldn't imagine if the ship left without us how they would ever get us to Guatemala and back to the Serenade of the Seas, especially when their execution of this day's tour was one of the worst we've ever experienced. I made a solemn promise to Jeff that we will always do Royal Caribbean excursions from here on out so we never have to fret about a timely return. It may cost more, but trust me, it's worth it!

Posted by Where2FromHere 18:15 Archived in Costa Rica

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Your itinerary taking you to many places I've visited over many years (with more time and less stress, I think). It's a pleasure to read about your whirlwind experiences through your eyes.


by Carol Snow

Carol - Thanks for following my blog - happy to provide you with a opportunity to reminisce!

by Where2FromHere

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