Like in any capitol of the world it took the boys quite some time to get out of San Jose in early morning traffic and on to the route going north west in Costa Rica.
The goal of the Day was to reach Lake Arenal in the northern rainforest area.
Lake Arenal sits at the base of the Arenal Volcano in the northern highlands of Costa Rica. It is the country’s largest landlocked body of water, with a surface that covers nearly 85 square km and a depth that reaches some 60m).
The area surrounding the lake is as inspiring as the water itself – hills of pastured and forested land roll into the distance, while the summit of the Arenal Volcano dominates the eastern horizon.
In 1979, Lake Arenal was enlarged to three times its original size with the construction of a hydroelectric dam. The towns of Arenal and Tondadora, which were originally sited on the spot where the lake now rests, were relocated to the north-eastern side of the lake. Nowadays, Lake Arenal’s dam is hugely important to the country, as it produces nearly 12% of Costa Rica’s electric energy.
Before climbing up the mountains it was more a downwards drive until Arena which lies on the Pacific side of Cost Rica and from there it was straight north on route 142 through many cattle ranches until reaching Nuevo Arenal:
Nuevo Arenal is a town and district in Tilarán Canton in the Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica. It is located on the north-east shore of Lake Arenal. The former village of Arenal near put under water in 1978 with the formation of the artificial Lake Arenal. Nuevo Arenal was a government project to relocate the displaced people.
Hotel Los Heroes is one of the main hotels about 10 km east of Nuevo Arenal and the boys headed straight there as it was recommended by Ernst Kallfass- an old friend of Willy who visited the place before.
The hotel was built according to Swiss architecture by a Swiss national who emigrated to Costa Rica and built this little Switzerland in the middle of Costa Rica.
With the building (1989) of a genuine Swiss cow stable they did not only introduce a new dairy farming in Costa Rica but also – and without proposing it – the first step to transform this unique spot into a real little Swiss Corner in Costa Rica.
In the meantime, they built a Hotel, a second Cow Stable, a little Chapel, an Apartment Housing and a small bus station.
The Los Heroes property has its own train station located behind the hotel. In the 1980’s the visionary owner imported the materials from Switzerland to build the two-mile-long railroad. This railroad brings guests up the hillside to the rondorama revolving restaurant! The ride is enjoyable as well as it goes thru tunnels and over bridges all while providing amazing views of Lake Arenal.
This is really an amazing setup and the boys were glad to check into this attraction around Lake Arenal. It was pouring with rain and by 5pm all electricity went off and the guys were told that the heavy rain caused a few trees to fall over the main electric cable line between Nuevo Arenal and the next town.
So, there they were having a candle light Dinner and using the cell phones flash light to get around – there was neither a standby generator or emergency light available but the hotel management quickly put candles all over the place.
The restaurant in the hotel also offers typical Swiss food in addition to some local recipes.
With no electricity expected the for the whole night the boys found it necessary to drink some extra portions of red wine hoping that this would provide more sleeping time…