We got on the road early because we had about a two-hour drive to our third and final destination. The Paos Lodge was closer to the airport which would be nice for our trip to the airport the next morning, but it was also close to the Paos Volcano.
The cool thing about the Paos Volcano is that you can actually walk up to the volcano and look down into it. That is unless of course it is after 10am (which it was in our case) at which time the fog roles in and you can’t see a thing.
So I guess things are not always what they appear to be on a brochure, but no worries though. It was a nice walk and there were still a few things to see. Earlier in the day we had decided to forgo the La Paz Waterfall Gardens because it was more expensive than we thought and we weren’t sure we would have time. After being a little disappointed by our cloudy volcano adventure and realizing it was our final day in Costa Rica, we decided to give the waterfall gardens a try…and we were so glad we did. Absolutely Amazing.
I had the most difficult time wrapping my mind around where we were. I kept feeling like we were inside a man-made park because the locale seemed too Disneyesque and I couldn’t fathom that a place like this actually existed.
In addition to amazing hikes, views and waterfalls, they also had a natural zoo set up. It was complete with a butterfly farm, monkeys, snakes, sloths, leopards, humming birds and a ton of other creatures. Nolin, well he was most interested in the snakes and could have spent the entire day in that section. We had to tell him that the snakes were now sleeping, so that we could move on.
We had to finally make our way out, when the park closed, so we headed to our final hotel, The Paos Lodge.
As you are fighting your way up the mountain side in a small Yaris, it is a place that you would totally pass when you drove by. In fact we probably would not have stopped to even ask for directions or to use the bathroom if Jenn had not already booked the room prior to our arrival. And we would have completely missed out.
It used to be a road side souvenir shop, that they added onto with a restaurant and a 5 bedroom hotel built into the side of a mountain overlooking the Central Valley in Costa Rica. It was as if you were on top of the world.
The guys who ran the restaurant and hotel instantly welcomed us in. We talked to them about our travels and they talked to us about their trips to South Africa, Florida and other places.
The Paos Lodge had the cool hipster feel of a New York club with funky decorations, big couches, a fire and jazz music and nice big glasses of wine. Completely not what you would expect as you approached. Our dinner that night was probably one of the best we had on the entire trip.
Nolin didn’t really care about those things as much, but he really liked their dog appropriately named Girl. We found out that three years ago when they opened Paos Lodge, Girl walked in and just never left. She would wrap herself around Nolin while sitting on the couch and he would just pet her.
We woke up in the morning to see several cows along the mountain side underneath our window. The Paos Lodge was awesome and we wished we could have stayed there longer. It was a great end to a fantastic trip and again just proved that sometimes the most unassuming places can lead to the coolest adventures.