After leaving Monteverde I head to La Fortuna. To get there you have to take what they call a “Jeep-Boat-Jeep” - essentially a shuttle bus to Lake Arenal, then a ferry across the lake, and then another shuttle bus on the other side.
The journey out there is on rough, winding mountain roads but the scenery is breathtaking. At one point the bus driver pulls over to the side of the road for the passengers to get some quick photos. The lush, verdant, rolling hills are amazing. In the distance the Arenal Volcano looms.
Once on the ferry, the giant is growing bigger and closer. It’s cloudy but not so much that we can’t see the volcano. Only its top is shrouded with a nebulous crown.
Once in the town of La Fortuna it is too cloudy to see the volcano anymore. I won’t catch another glimpse of it until the morning of my departure, when the clouds break for two minutes and I snap a pic with my phone on the way to breakfast.
The one full day I spend in La Fortuna I catch a cab to the Green Lagoon Lodge, where after paying the $12 admission fee, you can hike through their property and up Cerro Chato - Arenal’s little brother. About 10 minutes into the hike I see a strange flower that I want to snap a picture of so I pull out my Sony A7. I flick the switch to on. Nothing happens. Then I realize there is no battery. Well damn. As soon as I reach into my backpack, I’m horrified. I just remembered, in interest of lightening my pack for the hike, I took a ton of stuff out and stowed it in the locker at the hostel. Among all those things was my small bag of chargers… The battery that was supposed to be IN the camera, was in that small bag. Shit. How could I have made such a stupid mistake! As a cinematographer, and a previous camera assistant, that is a ROOKIE-FUCKING mistake. You always check that you have batteries and media before leaving for the location. Check and double-check. Jesus. I am a god-damn moron. I stand there fuming. I stand there in front of a beautiful subject. I stand there with an amazing full frame, mirrorless camera in my hand and it’s completely useless. I spend a few moments berating myself before sucking it up and putting the Sony away. I pull out my iPhone. Well, as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you… and that has a battery in it.
Cerro Chato is an extinct volcano that has collapsed into a crater lagoon. It’s a strenuous two and a half hour hike to the rim (Though I somehow do it in one hour twenty minutes). At the rim on a clear day you can see the emerald lagoon below… so I’m told. It is all whiteness when I reach the lookout point. Another twenty minute hike, or down-climb rather, and you’re at the edge of the lagoon. It’s hard to access from this point, though, so I hike another twenty minutes around the edge of the lagoon until I come to a little spot that opens up to a five meter wide beachfront. Here I decide to take a swim in the lagoon. It is rather cold water but refreshing after that hike. One of the toughest hikes I have done in quite a while, actually. I rest for a bit and dry off before tackling the trek back out.
The next day I’m on a bus off to Montezuma where, ironically enough, I’m told you can drink the water…