Situated within Costa Rica’s northern lowlands the Arenal Volcano rises up with an unavoidable presence that demands the attention and respect of all those traveling to Costa Rica.
What was once one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes; the Arenal Volcano has been resting since 2010.
Although you won’t be able to see the spectacle of the volcanic eruptions, as one of Costa Rica’s most scenic and accessible areas you will still be able to enjoy the wide range of activities, sights and sounds in La Fortuna and Arenal. As a requisite stop on any vacation to Costa Rica, here are our top 5 activities in Arenal that will be sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience.
♦ Hiking up the side of a sleeping volcano
Even though the Arenal Volcano which rises up 5,437ft. is resting from its mighty explosion back in 1968, scientists have warned that it is still very much alive. Costa Rica embraces heart-pounding adventures and adrenaline pumping experiences and taking a walk on a sleeping volcano encompasses the quintessential thrill of traveling to Costa Rica.
The Silencio Reserve made up of verdant rainforest and housing exotic wildlife covers the slopes of the iconic volcano.
Hiking through this tropical environment you’ll be able to hear probably before you can spot, three different species of monkeys as well as sloths, snakes, coatis and all sorts of Costa Rican birdlife including the bright and colorful toucan. This exclusive adventure comes to an end at a lookout point where on a clear day you are presented with an uninterrupted view of the summit of the volcano and the surrounding green landscape on the Arenal Volcano National Park.
♦ The Wildlife of the Caño Negro Wetlands
A year round haven for wildlife, the Caño Negro Nature Reserve is a great way to get a taste for the sheer diversity of nature in Costa Rica. With monkeys, sloths, iguanas, river turtles, caiman and even basilisks which are lizards that can walk on water; the Caño Negro Wetlands are waiting to leave you speechless.
Covering an area of almost 10,000 hectares, the wetland area of the nature reserve is flooded by the cool waters of the Rio Frio during the ‘green’ season creating narrow waterways teeming with wildlife.
The wide variety of both flora and fauna that are waiting to be appreciated no matter where you look will be sure to put your neck and speed through its paces as you swivel and turn to catch a glimpse of some of the rarest species in the world. From February through to April migratory birds also visit the Caño Negro Reserve and this along with the other displays of wildlife makes each and every visit to the Caño Negro Wetlands, simply exceptional.
♦ Cascading Waterfalls of La Fortuna
While going through the forests of La Fortuna at the foot of the Arenal Volcano an enchanting experience awaits. The towering trees part and open up to reveal a deep blue plunge pool at the foot of a 200ft. waterfall. Located in the Arenal Volcano Park and with more than 157inches of annual rainfall, the area surrounding the La Fortuna Waterfall has an abundance of vegetation and diverse wildlife on display.
Just over 3 miles from the quaint town of La Fortuna you can decide to visit the waterfall either on foot or by going horseback riding through the surrounding tropical forests.
You’ll then find one of the most exquisite settings for a waterfall that can only be reached by tackling a number of steep steps. Once at the bottom and staring up and around at the paradisiacal setting of the La Fortuna Waterfall the refreshing pool invites you to enjoy its clear blue water. The water though it is inviting, can be extremely chilly but nevertheless provides a welcome point of relaxation and escape from the hot summer days or having had an adventure-filled day in the Arenal Volcano National Park.
♦ The National Park that Never Sleeps
Approximately 60% of the extremely wide range of wildlife in Costa Rica is nocturnal. This means that the Arenal National Park never sleeps and no matter what time of day or night it is, the wildlife is always ready to impress. From sloths, howler monkeys, owls and American crocodiles among many others to be spotted on a twilight river cruise, this is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
As the daylight gives way to the reds and oranges of the sunset, you’ll set off down the waterways as you see the change of guard from the diurnal to the nocturnal animals.
With the darkness of nature around you, your senses will become heightened as you begin to hear the calls and rustling of the animals in the National Park. You won’t be in complete darkness as armed with a torch; you’ll be able to see the sparkling reflections of eyes coming from the waters around you, the trees and on the banks of the river. This is one of the best and most distinctive activities in Arenal and will leave you amazed by the 24/7 show of wildlife that makes Arenal such a special destination.
♦ Nature’s Luxury Springs
Hot, natural and bubbling springs with varying temperatures and waterfalls all with mind-blowing views of the landmark Arenal Volcano adds a touch of exclusivity and relaxation to your time spent in Arenal. The luxurious Springs Resort & Spa provides the setting for the hot springs heated by the heart of the iconic Arenal Volcano.
High level of natural salt chlorines in the spring water of the Spa make them some of the cleanest in Arenal and all of Costa Rica.
With the water passing through the hot rocks of the volcano where temperatures can soar to over 150°F, the 18 landscaped pools have a range of temperatures from 83˚F up to 103˚F. The different backdrops and environments surrounding the pools vary from raging waterfalls to tranquil forests providing the perfect natural hot spring experience no matter your mood or desire.