As we neared the town of Fortuna we were given welcome news. The peak of the volcano, which has only a 30% chance of being seen due to cloud cover on any given day, was unobscured. It loomed majestically over the surrounding landscape. Small roads led us to our home for the next 2 nights. Hotel Arenal Manoa is a collection of semi detached bungalows set among beautifully landscaped grounds. Scores of birds flitted across the lawns adding thier brilliant colors to the hues of the multitute of flowers and tropical plants. The massive volcanic mountain kept an ever prevelant presense over the resort. Each room contained a small terrace with a view of the geological wonder. As we neared the walkway to our room two small black birds, their breasts bright red, flew out of the bushes as if welcoming us to this lovely spot.
Each commodius bathroom contained a skylight with a planter beneath, which, in our case, showcased two large philadendrons. The dining room was an open air pavilion allowing the sounds of the surrounding forest, birdcalls, frogs, the occasional bark of howling monkeys and the gentle gurgle of the small river which runs along one side of the resort, flow through.
The next morning the view of the volcano was crystal clear. Steam escaped from it's peak. Perfectly centered in the open side of the pavillion we watched it as we ate breakfast knowing that this was, almost assuredly, a once in a lifetime experience.
As we returned to the room a pair of parrots flew overhead. Two tiny blue birds landed on a bush, one finding a small springy branch where he bounced happily up and down before the pair flew off.