Hotel La Garza
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Comfortable. Natural. Simple. Family. 20 minutes from the bustling Arenal Volcano tourist town of Fortuna is La Garza. Twenty minutes, or one hundred years. What began as the weekend retreat for the city friends of the colonial founders of La Garza has evolved into a small, intimate hotel for discerning people who really desire pure escape from the twenty-first century. Like the farm's founders, you still awaken to the sounds of the birds and monkeys dwelling on the river bank in front of your room. You still watch the sunrise hitting the cone of Arenal volcano. And you still cross a swinging bridge to reach the ranch house to eat breakfast in a casona (main farm house) built 100 years ago. It's impossible to enter our forest without seeing the wildlife, literally leaping from tree to tree over your head. Standing beneath the magnificent strangler fig (it was an adult tree when Columbus arrived in Costa Rica); you start to realize the meaning of the word "timeless". Our modern, clean, thoughtfully designed guest bungalows have replaced the older main house rooms. The river out front invites you outside, to meander on the banks. Or stay inside, enjoying the flop-flop-flop of the ceiling fans. Or, if you are inclined, turn off the outdoors and turn on the air conditioning. The beds are comfortable, the hammocks on the individual verandas are suspended so you can recline and still watch the river for wildlife. Go to sleep at night with the sounds of frogs on the Platanar River running behind the bungalows. From the airport it is about 2 2 1/2 hours, depending on traffic and weather. Drive past airport towards west (towards Pacific). Turn right at the exit for Naranjo (after the toll booth) and continue through Naranjo. Keep "ascending" through town, eventually turning right as you exit town -- follow main paved road. Next town is Zarcero (stop to see the gardens in front of the church - well worth a few minutes!) and continue following the main road. You'll pass though several mountain towns until you enter the capital of the San Carlos region, named Ciudad Quesada, or known by the locals as "San Carlos". Continue through town on the main streets, and now you'll start descending. Always staying on the main street, follow the main traffic. About 5 KM beyond Quesada you'll reach Florencia, a "T" intersection. Take a right (La Garza is about 8 KM from this intersection). Pass the giant sugar cane processing plant on the right side. La Garza is about 3 KM beyond the processing mill, on the left side. If you reach the gas station, you've passed the hotel by 5 KM....