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Costa Rica National Parks / Northern Region / Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano, Costa RicaArenal has been a dormant strato-volcano. Young deposits were of the slopes of the volcano but it had not erupted in historic time. Arenal's status changed dramatically in July of 1968. An explosive eruption produced hot avalanches and ejected blocks that devastated the west flank of the volcano and killed 78 people. Arenal has been continuously active since 1968. It rises 1,633 meters above sea level and casts an almost flawless silhouette on the land below it. Arenal's last explosion was in 1969 but this volcano is far from dormant. Its constant rumblings are Arenal's most popular characteristics. Often spewing ash and smoke, the volcano provides a striking backdrop for photographs and video. There are several excellent look out points along the highway and several resorts and spas that have developed in the area. Starting point for all excursions is the picturesque town of La Fortuna, located about 8 km east of the volcano. Most of the hotels and lodges are situated along the road between La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano National Park.

With an extension of about 12,000 hectares it is one of Costa Rica’s smaller parks. Elevations range between 1,000 to 1,633 meters (3,200 - 5,300 feet), the habitats found there are tropical highland forest (cloud forest), tropical lowland wet forest (rainforest) and streams. A gravel road leads to the park entrance.

Entrance fee approx. US $ 10 p.p.


This dormant volcano has a collapsed crater with a small lake and can be accessed by a hiking trail starting near the Arenal Observatory lodge.

Tabacon Hot Springs - Costa Rica On the road between La Fortuna and Lake Arenal private grounds have been developed into two Spas. Either one can be the perfect setting for a relaxing day, or better yet, evening (especially if the volcano is active).
The “real” Tabacon Hot Springs offer five natural mineral pools at varying temperatures (one with a swim up bar) set in tropical gardens, an indoor hot tub, a waterslide and a hot waterfall. Massages and mud packs are available. There is a restaurant as well as a wet-bar

Across the road from Balneario Tabacon is a shorter section of the river where shallow bathing pools are set in a tropical garden. There are toilets, changing rooms and towels available.

La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa RicaThis beautiful waterfall set in the rainforest near the edge of Arenal Volcano National Park is managed by a local community development group (Association de Desarollo de Fortuna) It is about a 1 hour walk from downtown Fortuna. It is accessible by a gravel road, horseback tours from downtown La Fortuna are offered. The hike down the canyon is slippery but you will be rewarded with a natural pool under the falls, perfect for a dip on a hot day. There is a small restaurant / shop at the entrance.

An artificial lake with an area of about 85.5km, making it the largest lake in Costa Rica, surrounded by rolling hills that are partly pastured and partly forested. The northwest side of Lake Arenal is a dry region of rolling hills and pastures, distinctly different from the lush landscape near La Fortuna. Lake Arenal produces about 60% of the hydro electrical power for Costa Rica.


Tanager Paddle trip: Morning Birdwatching on Rio Fortuna or Rio Arenal
Canoe Tours Costa Rica We will pick you up or meet you early for an exciting morning with the birds while paddling on the River. While we’ll meet you at your desired time, the chorus and avian show is at it’s best early. If you’re game, we can meet you at 5am. All trips will return La Fortuna by 9am.

Honeycreeper trip: Peñas Blancas Half-Day Canoe Trip
Float the river and enjoy the rainforest at a relaxed pace. The brilliant green of the river, flashing deep blues of Costa Rica’s famous morpho butterflies, and flights of brightly colored birds make this trip unforgettable. Wrens sing in duet, frogs sound, and monkeys call while we scan the canopy, river and quiet farmland seeking basking iguanas and a rich diversity of other wildlife along the Rio Peñas Blancas. Departure at 9:00am. Return at 2:30pm. River lunch included.

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge by Canoe: Tricolored heron trip - 1 day
Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica The Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge and the Rio Frio are some of the most biologically diverse wetland areas in Costa Rica and some of the richest wildlife viewing and birding sites on this continent.
This trip is a great variation from the normal Caño Negro day trip. Explore the refuge by canoe, and then paddle our canoes down the Rio Frio or Rio los patos. The tour starts at 6:30am for the two hour drive to just inside the national refuge, from where we paddle. If you only have one day, and want to see a wide range of wildlife, this trip is a favorite. We return to Fortuna by 6:30 pm. River lunch included. Minimum two people.

Provided on all canoe trips: bilingual naturalist guide (english-spanish); a tandem canoe; PFD (lifejacket); personal dry bag for your camera, extra clothing, and other things that must stay dry; canoe and necessary paddling equipment; transportation from Arenal area hotels if desired; and snacks and drinks. See individual trips for any meals or lodging that may also be included.
What to bring: There are several places to swim, so remember to bring your bathing suit, light clothing/shorts, tennis shoes or sandals, sunscreen, hat, water, and especially your binoculars or camera.

Hike Arenal Volcano National Park
Enjoy the most extraordinary view of the Arenal Volcano on a gentle hike along the base of this marvelous “Mountain of Fire”. The Hike begins on the active side of the volcano, that takes you through the forest over recent lava flows and to the destroyed area now in the process of regeneration. We offer two different Hikes: the first one is a 3 ½ hour trail and gets as close as five hundred meters from the lava flows, the other one is a 1 ½ hour trail, and from this trail we can see the Volcano about one kilometer far.
The long hike is better to be started in the morning. The short one could be done in the morning or in the afternoon.
This tour includes: Transportation, Bilingual guide (English - Spanish), Entrance fee, Refreshments, water and cookies.

Mountain Biking near Arenal Volcano
This is one of the tours offered for those who want to go on a bike trip to the area where the forest, the Arenal Volcano and the Lake meet and leads trough a beautiful trail. The tour starts from the Arenal Lake Dam, where we take an old trail into the forest. At the end of the trail you will arrive at the entrance of the Arenal Volcano National Park and then get on the way to the Observatory and back in the main road.
The whole trip will be about four hours if leaving from La Fortuna.
The tour includes: Transportation from and back to the hotel, Bikes, Bilingual guide (English - Spanish), Refreshments, water and cookies, Assistance vehicle.

Horseback Ride La Fortuna Waterfall
The length of the tour is approximately four hours; from La Fortuna we have to go 5 ½ kilometers to the southeast. We spend 1 ½ hours to get to the rest site of the horses. After that you have to walk five hundred meters into the forest to get to the waterfall, which is 70 meters high. At the base of the waterfall there is a “natural pool” where we can swim for about one hour.
This tour can leave at any time before two in the afternoon. We recommend our customers to take: Insect repellent, Rain coat, Binoculars and Camera, Swim suits and towel.
The tour includes: Local guide (Spanish-speaking), Horses, Entrance fee to the Waterfall.
On request a bilingual (english-spanish) guide can be provided at an extra cost,

Sport Fishing Arenal Lake
Tour to catch & release fishing of the Rainbow Bass, the incredible fighter of the Arenal Lake. The lake is a very attractive place, from here it’s possible to see the Arenal Volcano with its impressive ash and lava eruptions. The motorboats are equipped with gyratory boat seats, electric motors, radar, equipment for trolling and casting, expert guides and life jackets. The tour also includes refreshments, like beer, sodas, water, coffee, orange juice, cookies and sandwiches.

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