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Day 5: Morning hike at Arenal Hanging Bridges / afternoon visit to Hidalgo Hot Springs

Meal codes: (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner.

Meals:Explorer, none; Connoisseur, B, L, D.

Hotels: Volcano Lodge.

After breakfast, depart with your Guide for a morning hike to the Arenal hanging bridges, a project that consists of eight fixed bridges, ranging in length between 8 and 22 meters, and six hanging bridges, built with the latest techniques and designed with an eye for both beauty and safety. The bridges and trails, which cover a distance of 3 kms., were designed to blend with the natural environment, leaving the forest virtually intact. As you walk, you be able to appreciate the great diversity of flowers and wildlife that are typical of the rainforest, along with the imposing views (weather permitting) of Arenal Volcano.

Afternoon visit the Hidalgo Family Hot Springs, the ideal alternative to the mass tourism hot springs in the Arenal area. When we first met the Hidalgo Family in 2000, they were reluctant to open up their family farm to visitors. Finally they agreed to try it on a trial basis. They found, perhaps to their surprise, that they enjoyed having foreign guests and have now put in changing rooms and a restaurant. Over the years the hot springs have grown in hospitality and the Hidalgos have increased the number of reservations they will accept for any given time. Now, although they do not provide the private experience that they did at the beginning, the Hidalgo Family Hot springs is still not nearly as crowded as the others in the Arenal Area. The springs consist of five free-flowing pools set in a natural river gorge. Water temperature ranges from 38 to 43 degrees, depending on the pool. A Costa Rican home-style meal in the restaurant, modeled after the first house that Don Manuel and Dona Hortemida Hidalgo built in 1940 when they settled on the farm, is a must.

Overnight at Arenal Manoa