Day 2. La Fortuna.
Woke up early because of few hours difference. Hotel brealfast was nice but continental.
Went off to find some tourist activities. Rented 4wheel cars and rode to the river. Worked out the $40 per hour deal instead of regular $90.
Found horse back riding tour to the waterfall from the company Adventure Mundo ($50 each). This is one of the largest tour companies in La Fortuna. Try going directly to their office to work out a deal (especially if you are on a car).
Btw on the way there you will be passing a swing over Rio Fortuna (River Fortuna). It is a fun and free swing that is popular among locals. Not official attraction though so mind your safety.
**When trying to work out the deals with locals, have cash available. Even though they accept credit cards widely, they can't give you a discount if you pay with a card.
Horseback lasted about 3.5 hours. It includes riding a horse to a place where you can change, use restroom and drink some water from the cooler.Then you will go over hanging bridge. And will do a lot of hiking (about 40 minutes) to the waterfall. (Bring the shoes you can get wet walking on the stones to the best view of the waterfall!).
Then you go back the same way, this time up the mountain, where you will take your horse back to the tour office.
Be aware that this tour is very hard on a body. Both horse riding and hiking mountains require a decent physical strenth. And we completely realized that on the next day when woke up in big pain.
After you back from the tour - don't rush to leave. Take a look around and visit their mini-zoo. One part has poisoinous dart frogs and another native Costa Rican batterflies. We also happened to find the cutest domasticated rabbit hanging out in batterfies section.
They also have chickens, turkeys and ducks hanging around - great fun if you are traveling with kids.
Finished our adventure, we left back to La Fortuna.
Had "tipical" dinner and went to Baldi Hot Springs. ... It is about 20 minutes drive drive from the center of La Fortuna. Entrance cost $32 per person. For $6 you can also rent a locker (recommended).
Even though the prices are quet high for Costa Rica - it was totally worth it! Springs work until 9pm. We arrived about 6:30pm and had not regretted that we stayed! Baldi is a resort builded around hot volcano springs. This might be the best SPA you have ever visited your life. Includes about 10 swimming pools, waterslides, hot steamer. Everything filled with naturally warm water different temperatures.
I'd recommend visiting after dark when the air temperature cools off because the water is really warm/hot.
Rent a locker and leave everything inside besides your shoes and drinks. Some say you don't even need shoes to move around. All pools are right next to each other.
If you have just few hours to spend in Baldi, go straight to the top pool, where the waterslides are. Then move down to the other pools enjoying each of them.
I've heard that there are other natural springs around La Fortuna, but they are nothing like Baldi.
They are more "natural". Which does not mean they are bad, but if you are looking for much better relaxing SPA experience - go straight to Baldi.
That's it for the second day :)
Day 3. Drove to Herradura (Jaco area).
There are two ways to get there from La Fortuna. One is back to San Ramon. Another is around the volcano and the lake. Decided to take the road around the lake because we already took the other one when drove from the airport.
As all roads in Costa Rica, it was a long drive because of serpantine type of a road. On the way there, there were few interesting stops. One is Toad Hall. You can't miss it, you will start seeing signs many kilometers away. Toad Hall is a restaurant, souvenier shop and a hotel owned by American family. We met them by the hotel working on their pool. They greeted us and were very nice even though we were just lurking around.
So we decided to stay for a snack - guacamole and chips, before we hit the road again.
When you stop by Toad's Hall or stay there, check out their Tucan and parrots that talk. They also have a walking trail which was recommended by the owners but we physically could not do it because of our endeavors on a previous day :))
Another thing you might want to check out is Austrian "village" with German restaurant. The place looks exactly like Austria. It even had it's own little train!
In about 3.5 -4 hours total time we arrived in Herradura.