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When we checked out of the Villa Lapas resort in the morning, we were taken by bus to the nearby Fiesta Caribbean resort outside Puntarenas. After dropping our luggage off, we then immediately headed off on a bus tour headed for the Arenal volcano. We had booked this the day before through Signature Tours for US$82 (for two) while we were at Lapas. We ended up spending the whole day on the tour, and were well entertained by our German guide, Gunther (2nd photo), who had married a Costa Rican lady and then settled in the country. Here, we are nearing the volcano in the central mountain range, with the bus pulled over on the dam forming Lake Arenal so we could all get out and stretch our legs as well as take a look at the volcano! It was a great way to also see some of the countryside in the daytime! We also were able to take a walk around the town of San Ramone on the way to the volcano and had a lunch stop in the little mountain village of Fortuna. One of the sights that amazed me the most (but I did not get a photo because the bus was moving) were the 'living fences' alongside the highway in many places. I had never seen anything like it before in my travels. It turns out that a small tree with pink flowers, Gliricidia sepium (a member of the legume family) is frequently used as a living fence post and is known locally as madero negro or 'black wood'. It is only about 5 feet high with a relatively straight trunk topped by a crown of leaves and flowers. A most appealing looking fence when wire is strung from tree to tree!
Updated Jun 7, 2006
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