The Arenal Volcano National Park located in the northern lowlands of Costa Rica is one of the country’s most notable destinations thanks to its impressive volcano which rises above the stunning landscape. While it is easy to sit back and soak up the fantastic volcanic landscape, the best of the region can only be experienced through the endless number of activities in Arenal. From horseback riding and whitewater rafting to waterfall rappelling and fishing; the mind-blowing scenery and adrenaline pumping adventures are waiting for you. Having previously explored the top 5 activities in Arenal, we will be sharing with you the best alternative and adventurous activities in Arenal to help you discover even more of this breathtaking region and National Park.
♦ Twilight Walk in the Natura Ecological Park
Arenal Natura is a beautiful ecological park where the finest of Costa Rica’s natural habitats are recreated allowing you to get in close contact and learn about the different tropical species. Through supporting the conservation of threatened species and their natural ecosystems, you will be able to see some of the world’s rarest flora and fauna. We highly recommend the twilight walk where as the sun goes down, you will experience the transition from day to night and the change that goes on deep within the various environments. The peaceful darkness around you will heighten your senses as you listen to the calls of the diverse wildlife residing in the ecological park. Terrariums come alive with activity after the sunset allowing you to observe one of the most impressive and unique shows to be found in the tropical forests of Costa Rica. From small leaf-cutter ants and colorful poison dart frogs to a wide variety of snakes; during the Natura twilight walk you will come into contact with a wide variety of Costa Rica’s weird and wonderful species. This is without a doubt one of the most unforgettable activities in Arenal and one of our favorite nature experiences in Costa Rica.
♦ Hanging Bridges of Arenal’s Forest Canopy
Costa Rica’s rainforests are known to be some of the world’s most complex ecosystems and until recently, little was known about life in the treetops of its tropical forests. As a result of extensive research and the hanging bridges which unobtrusively cut through the canopy, biologist found that about 90% of Costa Rica’s rainforest species can be found in the canopy. As you walk across the metal bridge structures suspended high above the Arenal Rainforest floor you’ll be able to enjoy its rich natural beauty. Several bridges lead you alongside the tall canopy trees, some of which have embraced the structure, draping their woody arms over and under the bridges. With a wide variety of food to be found in the canopy, you will be treated to views of exotic birds, howler monkeys and more from this unique vantage point. Being accompanied by an expert nature guide is priceless as you spot and learn about Arenal’s verdant flora and fauna.
♦ Horseback Riding on the Arenal Volcano
Having acquainted yourself with your horse, it will be time to saddle up and ride out along the old winding paths of Don Tobias that surround the Arenal Volcano. This famous route was used by the Arenal pioneer and horse breeder, Don Tobias, to take care of his cattle and it is also one of the most beautiful in the region. As you stare up at the mighty conical volcano you’ll set off across the wide open cattle-grazing landscapes that will reward you with amazing views of the ever-present Arenal Volcano. Heading into first and second generation rainforests will surround you with the sights and sounds of Arenal’s verdant rainforest wildlife. Arriving to a picturesque lagoon where the horses take time to refresh themselves, you will be able to relax surrounded by some of Costa Rica’s most beautiful scenery. When you reach the highest point of this horseback riding adventure, a viewpoint marks the closest you can get to the Arenal Volcano and will provide you with stunning views of the Arenal National Park.
♦ Hike up the Cerro Chato Volcano
For adventurous travelers and hiking enthusiasts, scaling Cerro Chato is one of the best and challenging activities in Arenal. Cerro Chato is a dormant volcano that flanks the southeast side of the Arenal Volcano and which has been inactive for some 3,500 years. With an elevation of 3,740ft. (1,140m) the Cerro Chato Volcano is quite different from the neighboring Arenal which is much taller and until 2010 was Costa Rica’s most active volcano. With two peaks named Chatito and Espina as well as a 1,640ft. (500m) crater filled with greenish-blue water, reaching the summit is simply sublime. To reach the summit you will cross through a steep and very compact virgin rainforest where you will be able to catch glimpses of and certainly hear the wildlife in this area. Once at the summit you can walk down to the old volcano crater which is now an emerald green lagoon. With certain minerals in the water making entering or drinking the water extremely dangerous, the color of the lagoon and your surroundings will make for incredible photographs.