Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
Submitted by Jason Ladouceur

Feb. 5

“Two words, four syllables” —  that was the clue Jason Ladouceur’s wife, Michelle gave him when she presented him with 10 clues encased in a picture frame on Christmas morning.

“My wife didn’t know what to get me, so I said ‘how about going someplace exotic?’”, said Ladouceur, the Waddington, N.Y.-resident whose photo of Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano was the top-rated image in this week’s It’s A Snap! travel photo contest.

“She hid the big secret for four weeks, but I guessed it right,” said Ladouceur, a fundraiser for SUNY Potsdam — the State University of New York’s college of liberal arts —  he and Michelle’s alma mater — (famous alumni include three-time Grammy Award winning opera singer Renee Flemming).

The couple stayed at the 5-star, The Springs Resort & Spa, situated to overlook the lava flow of Arenal Volcano, but since its opening in 2008, Ladouceur says the lava has changed direction. Nevertheless, he said, “When we first walked into The Springs, we found paradise.”

“Typically, the volcano is shrouded in clouds”, said Ladouceur. “We stumbled upon the photo opportunity while making our way to the observatory on a pothole-filled trail. It even erupted that day, and we saw smoke puffing from it.”

Ladouceur captured his winning shot with a Nikon D-5000.

For first-time visitors, Ladouceur recommends, “Go to the rainforest. It's so unique. It was beyond expectations. The beauty was all around. We'll definitely go back.”

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