This resort (Los Lagos) is exquisite. Tropical, remote, volcano in the background, fancy restaurant with food catering to U.S. tastes, lush gardens, frog garden, ant farm, butterfly sanctuary, crocodiles, caymans, zip lines, horseback riding, and the highlight: a water park with dozens of pools and slides into the cool (74°), warm, and hot water. It’s everything one might expect from a first world resort, with lots of fun surprises.
The restaurant is open air, as most are. Tropical wildlife watching is part of the dining experience. The night before, Lucas spent a long time peering under the table. We finally figured out that he knew there were crocs here. He relaxed after we told him they were in cages. At breakfast, we watched a bird snack on fresh fruit off another diners plate while he refilled at the buffet. Nobody told him who he shared with. We watched an iguana sunning himself within reach of a chair. Then we hit the pools again.
The pools are not chlorinated. This makes swimming for hours very enjoyable. The water is spring fed, and after passing through the pools, it drains into the fish ponds, where tilapia and a couple other fish featured on the menu swim. From the fish ponds, the water drains to the gator ponds, frog farm, and the many gardens before returning to the river. They don’t ‘use’ water here as much as they temporarily divert it. Many of the ponds are dry because this is the dry season. There are two seasons here: wet and dry.
Unlike the houses in C.R., the resort housing has large roof overhangs to defend against the hot midday and afternoon sun. Most Ticos don’t bother, they are used to the heat. When we left Maria’s house yesterday morning, we were in shorts and Maria wore jeans, sweater and boots. It was a “chilly” 75° F.
Here at the resort, hot water comes from thermal springs and a solar hot water heater (for the restaurant). All the buildings are made of concrete, for its imperviousness to moisture, and for modulating the diurnal temperature swings. The thermal mass absorbs midday heat and releases it at night. Hot water is a luxury in Costa Rica. Most Ticos don’t have hot water. They take cold showers, wash their hands in cold water, etc. Their sinks usually have only one handle. Since we are in the tropics, cold water isn’t very cold.
There is a large open pool with a swim up wet bar. There are several group sized retreats for parties to congregate. Further up the hill, the hot pools get progressively smaller and more intimate, with privacy walls and couple sized caves.
In a nod to Eco-consciousness, the rooms have a “green switch.” It’s not green in color, but when you enter the room, you place your key in a slot next to the door which turns on the electricity. When the key is removed, the power to the room shuts off.