Today we visited Misticos Hanging Bridges Park located in Arenal. Immediately, I saw a difference between this hike and the other located in the cloud forest of Monteverde. Today we saw lots of animals that we did not see in Monteverde such as spider monkeys, poison dart frogs, and my favorite, a wild cat that looked like a baby leopard. I also think that the hike in Arenal was much more of a rainforest experience than Monteverde. We were able to continually walk with our guide as he showed us the wildlife and nature. However on the Monteverde hike, it was a lot of stopping and standing in one place.
After being here for the last couple days, I have noticed a lot of tourists in Arenal. Today when I was getting lunch in town, I saw lots of people with blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin; all of which aren’t the typical Tico look. I realized that Arenal is a big tourist attraction due to the beautiful volcano that you can see from anywhere in town, along with the several extreme sports available to people. These include ATV tours, zip lining, horseback riding, and many more.
The Covid-19 pandemic impacted everyone in the world, especially a tourist location like Arenal. Our lecture with Alberto Rico Urones was focused on ecotourism. He touched on the pandemic and explained how difficult it was for places like Arenal who rely heavily on tourism. People weren’t able to come into the country and others were leaving the country. No one was able to make money in order to keep their businesses alive. Eventually, Covid has finally slowed down and to an advantage, much tourism in Costa Rica is based on the great outdoors. People are able to enjoy the beauty of Costa Rica while also being safe.