- Costa Rica Logistics
- The Other San Jose
- Arenal & La Fortuna
- Horses & Waterfalls
- Hanging Bridges & Toucans
- The Big Day
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park was among the most highly recommended attractions in the Arenal area. It was a half hour drive from our resort.
Driving by Lake Arenal.
As mentioned before, you can see that volcano from everywhere.
This Mistico park was a large chunk of mountainous private land developed into hiking trails with lots of bridges. It was nice to immerse ourselves in the rain forest, and a plus to see some wild life: a coati, a monkey, a snake, and a blue gecko. The 3.2-km trail was a bit more tiring than we anticipated, because the hollow cement path was often tricky to step on.
We weren’t nature people, but the views here were so stunning.
The name of the park came from its several hanging bridges. Unlike the kind composed of many individually suspended stepping plates, these bridges each had a singular rigid metal platform. As such, they only swayed side to side and did not bounce up and down. At the highest point of the park, a long one connected two mountains and the view was simply incredible.
One of the hanging bridges.
Me and my SJCam on a selfie stick.
A tiny waterfall.
Walking through a tunnel.
Looking good on a bridge.
Oh look! Another selfie in front of that volcano!
Club Rio Wildlife Sanctuary
The wedding took place at the nearby Springs Resort, a five star establishment costing more than five times our hotel’s nightly rate. Like many other lodging options in the area, the Springs had a restaurant, a spa, a pool-side bar, and a bunch of hot spring pools. What seemed to really set this resort apart was Club Rio, its gigantic outdoors adventure area. Visitors without deep enough pockets to stay at the resort can spend $115 on a day pass to enjoy the activities offered here.
To us animal lovers, the most attractive feature of Club Rio was the wildlife sanctuary. Yup, this hotel had its own zoo.
Being the awesome hosts they were, Amber and IndraNeel invited the guests to arrive a few hours before the wedding for a wildlife tour. While the bride and bridesmaids did their hair and makeup, IndraNeel took us on this adventure.
The Springs had such a large property that, to get to Club Rio, we needed to board this green school bus.
The wildlife sanctuary wasn’t technically a zoo. It was a government-certified program working to preserve and rehabilitate wild animals. For example, it took care of animals confiscated from poachers. Even compared to world-class zoos, though, this sanctuary seemed to be running in an excellent condition. The tour was unforgettable, due in large part to our guide. He was funny, passionate about nature, and had intimate knowledge of the personality of each animal on the premises.
The small crocs were slightly more interesting to look at than the two-toed sloth.
Central American coyote.
Everyone loved monkeys.
This little guy knew how to pose for the camera, and was clearly more photogenic than I had ever been.
According to our guide, the male monkeys would use fruits to put natural fragrance on their bodies in order to impress the ladies.
While snapping this picture I was somewhat concerned about the groom losing a finger hours before his wedding.
Right underneath that furry Central American koala we learned about two-toed vs. three-toed sloths and fascinating evolutionary history
Before coming here my goal was to see the sloth. Well we did see it, and it was boring as expected. On the other hand, though, neither of us ever cared for birds and we hated some of them with passion. We were surprised that the toucans became the highlight of this tour.
We stepped into one of those bird confinements and got cozy with these little guys.
Selfie with Mr. Toucan! Distrust for birds ran deep in Hong so she maintained a safer distance.
The awesome tour guide (orange shirt in the background) handed us some bird food and let us get real close to these colorful winged friends.
This was IndraNeel’s turn.
IndraNeel’s adorable niece was responsible for half of the action there.
I was surprised by how weightless the toucan felt on my arm. I didn’t really feel its claw, and despite that giant beak it took food from my palm very gently. It was a far more comfortable experience than feeding smaller parrots.
Even though Club Rio had only a dozen or so kinds of animals, this tour was highly memorable and educational. Really appreciate our hosts arranging such an experience for us.