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3 Days in Arenal Volcano National Park

3 Days in Arenal Volcano National Park

The majestic gray cone of Costa Rica’s most famous volcano, Arenal, has the frustrating habit of veiling itself in thick clouds about 80% of the time. That’s why clever travelers plan to spend a few days in the region, patiently waiting for the mountain to reveal itself. Happily, Arenal’s rainforested skirts are replete with wonderful attractions.

While these adventures are all in the immediate area, there are dozens of day trips—from horseback rides to boat tours of Caño Negro National Park—that can be booked through your hotel. If you stay a week—or a month—there will still be plenty to keep you busy.

Day 1: Have a Soak and a Smile It’s not just lava that pours from this living mountain. Arenal is famous for its hot springs, rich with healing minerals and often developed into fantastic wonderlands, most with remarkable volcano views. The most famous, and beautiful, is Tabacón, a steaming river that pours through fantastically landscaped environs. Less flush travelers could try wet-and-wild Baldí, with waterslides and a more festive feel; The Springs, built around landscaped cascades; or secluded Eco Termales, a quiet spot with five family-friendly pools. Budget travelers can ask about the free springs, but please beware of thieves, who’ll make off with absolutely anything left unguarded!

No matter whichtermales you choose, cool off with a drink and some healthy Tico cuisine at one of the fine restaurants in the adorably touristy town of La Fortuna, at the base of the volcano.

Day 2: Explore the National Park The lava-strewn lunar landscape of Arenal Volcano National Park is largely off limits, what with the enormous active volcano that is its centerpiece. But it’s still well worth visiting on any number of tours. Most people do the short trails that start at the official entrance, on the road to El Castillo, spending two or three hours exploring the old flows and wildlife gradually returning to the region. You could combine the trip with one of the region’s excellent canopy or canyoning (waterfall rappelling) tours. You could continue on to the tiny town of El Castillo for dinner at Arenal Observatory, your best bet for viewing lava flows (geology and weather permitting) after sunset.

Strong hikers could spend all day in the national park, making the hike from either Arenal Observatory or La Fortuna Waterfall up to Cerro Chato, Arenal’s dormant twin, topped with a clear crater lake. Or, traverse the park; we recommend starting at the observatory, so you can finish your trip with a refreshing swim at the base of the beautiful blue waterfall.

Day 3: Take to the Lake At the base of the volcano is Lake Arenal, an artificially dammed expanse of silvery freshwater, stocked with tastyguapote, or rainbow bass. You could book a fishing trip to catch your own, or simply enjoy the fine fish prepared at any number of gorgeous little restaurants that line the lakeshore. More adventurous lakelovers could try kayaking or even windsurfing (November through April only) on thelago, enjoying awesome volcano views doubled in reflection.

If you’ve rented a car, consider taking all day to meander around the lake, stopping to visit Arenal Hanging Bridges and some of the several art galleries, coffee shops, and other eclectic attractions en route. Please, however, don’t pet thepizotes (also called coatis), the long-tailed raccoons that accost cars in the hopes of potato chips and other snacks; as cute and tame as they seem, they do bite. Protip: Finish your visit to Arenal with a final trip to one of the hot springs.

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8 Tours and Activities | All La Fortuna Tours

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Arenal Volcano and Tabacón Hot Springs Day Trip from San Jose

Arenal Volcano and Tabacón Hot Springs Day Trip from San Jose

star-4.5
Find your bliss with a classic Costa Rican experience that combines a seismic dose of adventure and relaxation! On this full-day trip from San Jose, visit the very active Arenal Volcano and explore its base with a guided nature hike. Then, unwind with a soak in a variety of geothermal pools at the luxurious Tabacón hot springs. The tour also includes a stop at the artisan town of Sarchí, plus delicious lunch and dinner.
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  • 12 to 16 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$162.00
From
US$162.00
Taking safety measures

Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Day Trip from Guanacaste

Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Day Trip from Guanacaste

star-4.5
Experience the thrill of hiking near one of the most active volcanoes in the Western Hemisphere! On this full-day trip from Guanacaste, get an up-close view of Costa Rica's famous Arenal Volcano and the surrounding tropical landscape. Rejuvenate with a dip in volcanic hot springs and enjoy stellar evening views of the volcano and emerging stars. Round-trip hotel transport from Guanacaste included.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$135.99
From
US$135.99
Taking safety measures

Whitewater and Wildlife Rafting Class 2-3 Balsa River from La Fortuna

Whitewater and Wildlife Rafting Class 2-3 Balsa River from La Fortuna

star-5
Experience the thrill of rafting down Costa Rica’s Rio Balsa on this white-water adventure! Following the lead of an experienced guide, you’ll navigate Class II and III rapids as you pass through a lush rain forest landscape. After working up an appetite paddling down the river, enjoy a traditional lunch at a local eatery. Round-trip transport from your La Fortuna hotel is included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$75.00
From
US$75.00
Taking safety measures

Costa Rica Cooking Class

Costa Rica Cooking Class "Cook Like a Local"

star-4.5
Get a taste of authentic Costa Rican life and cuisine as you join a local family for a cooking class and home-style meal. Along with a guide, visit the home of your hosts outside of La Fortuna and learn about household customs and cooking techniques. Join in the preparation of a typical meal, and then savor the fruits of your labor alongside new friends.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$49.00
From
US$49.00
Taking safety measures

Canyoning in the Lost Canyon

Canyoning in the Lost Canyon

star-5
Explore the rugged landscape and forested depths of Costa Rica’s Lost Canyon. Rappel down a series of cliffs up to 200 feet (60 meters), and drop into clear tropical pools at the bottom of the canyon. Hike through a thick rain forest teeming with life and scramble over rocks as you uncover hidden secrets of this amazing area. Round-trip hotel transport from La Fortuna and a traditional Costa Rican lunch are included.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$99.00
From
US$99.00
Taking safety measures

Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping Canyoning from La Fortuna

Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping Canyoning from La Fortuna

star-5
Test your limits on an extreme canyoning expedition in Costa Rica! On this thrilling, half-day tour from La Fortuna, journey to a remote rain forest canyon where you rappel down cliffs, leap from waterfalls and trek through a jagged, slippery landscape. Prepare to get soaked as you splash into jungle pools and swim under cascades in an extraordinary natural playground. Numbers are limited to 10 for a personalized small-group adventure.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$125.00
From
US$125.00
Taking safety measures

Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike from Arenal

Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike from Arenal

star-5
Hike among the spectacular scenery and mystical aquamarine waters of Tenorio Volcano National Park. On a full-day trip from La Fortuna, discover the amazing biodiversity of Costa Rica’s rain forests while accompanied by an expert naturalist guide. See the beautiful Rio Celeste waterfall that cascades into a clear turquoise lagoon, and watch the mysterious color-changing rivers of Los Teñideros. After your hike, re-energize with a tasty lunch at a local restaurant.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$95.00
From
US$95.00
Taking safety measures

Stand Up Paddling SUP on Lake Arenal

Stand Up Paddling SUP on Lake Arenal

star-5
Learn to paddleboard on the placid, scenic waters of Lake Arenal in Costa Rica! After an on-shore lesson from your expert guide, take a boat to the middle of the lake to try out your new skills. Stand up on the long board and paddle along the surface of the lake for a thrilling, athletic experience. Soak up the gorgeous scenery, including spectacular views of Arenal Volcano. This half-day tour includes a snack and hotel transport from La Fortuna.
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  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
US$75.00
From
US$75.00
Taking safety measures


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