By the time I was ready to leave Costa Rica, I had grown accustomed to the following things: the sight of monkeys lounging on branches overhead, dangling their fur-covered limbs far above the ground; luridly colored flowers greeting me at every turn and at every hour of the day (flowers at night are my favorite, those unexpected flashes of life in the darkness); the cacophony of birds, insects, and frogs serving as a constant soundtrack, their voices getting caught in the sticky air; the looming specter of a volcano which, though dormant, was a breathtaking sight, especially when the morning mists had blown free of its crater, ridding it of its shroud.
Also, I had grown accustomed to the fact that my hair might never be fully dry again. I had grown accustomed to eating dinner (and breakfast and lunch and... everything) in nothing more than a bathrobe—okay, usually, I wore a bathing suit underneath. I had grown accustomed to the sight of lizards sunning on rocks, lurking behind leafy covers, running lightly across the steaming surface of a hot spring. And I had grown accustomed to feeling like I was fully in my body, and finally—if only for a little while—not in my head.
I was spending a few days in the center of the Central American country, nestled right up next to its red-hot heart; volcán Arenal hasn’t erupted since 2010, but the potential for a sudden explosion of fire and heat was hard to forget about completely, especially if you do as I did, and spent many of your waking hours lounging in the natural hot springs at the Tabacon Thermal Resort, whose waters are kept warm as blood—warmer, really—by the volcanic activity beneath their surface.