We met up with our tour and got on our bus
which first headed to Arenal, the home of Arenal Volcano. As we traveled through the countryside, one stop we made was in Sarchi, home to the Guinness Book of Records’ world’s largest ox cart
and also an ox cart factory where ox carts are built and meticulously hand painted.
Ox carts started out as a way to transport goods and people from town to town and from inland towns to the sea ports.
In the early 20th century, families began painting the carts and the style of painting could be used to tell what area and what family the ox cart came from.
As more modern ways of transporting goods and people came about, ox carts were used less and less but the painting got more elaborate.
Currently, ox carts are used mostly in parades and celebrations but are even still used for transportation for some local farmers.
Another stop on the way to Arenal was at a local school that Gate1 Tours has “adopted” and provides with some support. As we drove up,
all the kids were waiting for our bus. As we got off the bus,
a child took each of us by the hand and escorted us into their school. We sat down and watched as the children performed local dances for us.
They sang the Costa Rican National Anthem and
God Bless America for us. Then, they showed us around the school,
the computer lab, lunch room, and playground. It was obvious to us that they took great pride in their school. Our visit came to an end and we loaded back up in our bus and headed to our first overnight stay at the foot of the Arenal Volcano.
It’s much cooler in Arenal than San Jose and the cool air was a welcomed pleasure. We stayed in La Fortuna at a lovely hotel
with a great view of the volcano.
Our first full day by the Arenal Volcano, we hopped aboard our trusty bus and headed toward the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica to the town of Cano Negro for a boat ride down the Cano Negro river. As we headed across the green country side, our tour guide, Ricardo, said we were going to stop and see some of his “family”. We stopped and he went to the fruit stand and bought some bananas. As he came back,
several LARGE iguanas
appeared from the bushes and began clambering for the bananas.
A real feeding frenzy.
Back on our bus again, we made our way to the Cano Negro river. Once there, we got on the boat, said good bye to our fans on the dock,
and headed down the river. Our guide, Ricardo, was excellent at pointing out all of the various wildlife along and in the river…including a crocodile with babies, bats on a tree, lizards, turtles, monkeys and even a water cow!
Time to turn around…
Once we arrived back at the dock, we boarded our bus and headed back to our hotel, looking forward to the next adventures on this tour. Oh, here’s the picture of the water cow…
Another wonderful day came to a close.