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Lake Arenal

How we Survived Four Rainy Days

The micro climate on our side of Lake Arenal dictates that, without fail, we wake up in the clouds every morning. It's windy, too, but by noon we are almost always under sunny skies with temperatures warm enough that we consider the same wind, "a welcome, balmy breeze". February is supposed to be the dry season here but this year the lake has seen more rain than usual. Perhaps an El Nino year is just a bad year to travel? Not necessarily. According to our friend, Carolynn, we just need to apply The Rule of 15.

The Rule of 15

Here on Lake Arenal, if you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes, drive 15 miles, or drive for 15 minutes.

rainbows over lake Arenal

Wait 15 minutes for the rainbow. (I can't tell you how many rainbows we've seen the past 3 weeks.)

But Four Days is too Long to Wait

Last week, we were grateful to have friends with cars, who helped demonstrate parts 2 and 3 of The Rule.

Lunch at Mimi Cafe in Canas

Twice, we were wisked down the hill to Canas for shopping and lunch at Mimi's Cafe.

Carnaceria Mimi

Photo-op after "pigging out" at Mimi's

Another day, we were invited on a day-long adventure to Llanos de Cortez Waterfalls, just north of the town of Bagaces.

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

Stunning! No photo could capture the beauty of it.

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

The pool is crystal clear with a sand bottom, and deep enough for swimming up to and under the falls.

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

After our swim, we hiked the trail to the top of the falls.

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

And another that led us behind them.

Yes, on rainy days, we're very grateful to have friends with cars who invite us along. But we've also been using the local buses more and more.

Riding the Local Buses

We'd been in Costa Rica two whole weeks and still hadn't been to the coast - I couldn't wait a minute longer so I hopped on a bus (alone). Three hours and three transfers later, I had my feet in the Pacific at Playa del Cocoa. Ahhhhhhhh!!!

Playa del Cocoa

Playa Del Cocoa

Playa del Cocoa

A shady spot to rest after a long beach walk

Playa del Cocoa

First selfie of the trip. Pipa Fria (ice cold coconut water). Cheers!

By car this trip takes about two hours but the buses were quite comfortable, all my connections lined up nicely, plus it was a great opportunity to practice my Spanish. And you can't beat the cost; the bus fare was less than US$6.00 each way!

We've been using the buses more often (and together) since then. Car rental is really quite expensive here in Costa Rica but, with a bit of patience, the local buses combined with short taxi rides, seem to be an affordable alternative. Contrary to what I had read online, the buses are on a schedule and not that difficult to figure out. I'll elaborate on the whole bus-riding experience in a future post.

Valentines Eve Dance

The rain ended and the weather was perfect for the Valentines Eve dinner/dance at Rock River Rocks. Becky and Frank, who we've now met several times, are terrific hosts.

Rock River Rocks

Fantastic food, drinks, and many now-familiar ex-pat faces.

Boo Boo and the Bandaids

The band, Boo Boo and the Bandaids, were amazing. We rocked that dance floor!

Clouds - From Both Sides Now

Like the Joni Mitchell song, we've learned to look at clouds from both sides here at Lake Arenal. They provide the nourishing rains that keep our area lush, green, and beautiful. (Not all of Costa Rica is - as we discovered on our trips farther northwest.) Yet, we can escape the rain (in 15) whenever we want.

The three volcanoes that should be visible from our deck are almost always blocked by clouds. Look closely so see Arenal Volcano, peeking out in the distance, in this next photo.

Cloud Cover Comfort

But, without clouds, mid-day temperatures would be too hot for a comfortable hike.

Sunset over Lake Arenal

Clouds provide photo-worthy skies at sunset. (photo at Rock River Rocks).

Sunset over Lake Arenal

And at sunrise.

The 12-Hour Day. Better get Used to it!

This close to the equator, daylight lasts 12 hours (6am to 6pm) with little variation through the year. That's right, there are no late, lingering, lazy, summer evenings in Costa Rica.

And the sun sets much faster, too. That's not an illusion; we really are spinning faster here, perched on the same ball but now much farther from the earth's axis. I know, some of you are probably saying, "Duh! Of course!" It's just not something I had given much thought to before. So as not to miss one moment of precious daylight, life for Costa Ricans starts with the first rooster's crow (and the first howler monkey's howl) around 5:30 am. It took me a few days to adjust (Randy's still working on it) but I am consistently up by 6:00 am.

Learning to Read the Clouds and Trust the Weather

I think I'm also learning to read the weather! In almost 64 years, that's more than I've been able to do at home! Unfortunately, my predictions are only good for about 15 minutes at a time. Unlike at home, no matter how overcast it is, weather doesn't settle in here on Lake Arenal; it just passes through. But in a battle between sun and cloud, the sun invariably seems to win. Today is a good example - as usual, a day that began wet and foggy, has turned into another perfect day on Lake Arenal. And there's a good chance it will stay that way (well, at least for another 15 minutes).

For weather predictions farther into the future (anywhere worldwide), check out this great weather forecast web site. It has some of the most indepth information, I've ever encountered.

Expenses to date: (for the two of us and converted to US dollars):

  • Airfare: $1,020.
  • Ground transportation: $187.00
  • Medical Travel Insurance : $165.25 ($2.66 per day)
  • 2-month vacation rental: $1,200. ($19.35 per day)
  • Cell/data plan: $22.00 (one month)
  • Entertainment/Restaurants: $196.17
  • Food (groceries): $156.98
  • Other household items: 5.50

Total: $2,952.90

Posted on day 24 of our 62-day trip. (Jan 27 to Mar 28, 2016)

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Love the no rule rules! 
Loving reading your perspective on our little space of paradise. And especially how fast you have adapted to the reality of the "15 rule" - LOL! It truly …

Beautiful Photos! 
What a lovely post with pretty photos...Costa Rica looks like a wonderful place to be...

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