Costa Rica: discover the Arenal volcano
The Arenal volcano is a young stratovolcano, having erupted for the first time 7,000 years ago, making it the youngest volcano in Costa Rica.
It is one of Costa Rica’s 116 volcanoes, five of which are active: Arenal, Irazu, Poas, Rincon de la Vieja and Turrialba.
Discovering the Arenal Volcano
On July 29, 1968, after 300 years of inactivity, Arenal began its eruption, making it one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes. Since October 2010, it has been in a resting phase. However, you can still see jets of incandescent smoke and hear the rumbling of the “beast”. Observing the lava has therefore been compromised for some months now, but this does not detract from the interest of this stage.
Before this date, and before tourism took off, the region’s economy was based mainly on agriculture. Since then, visitor facilities have had to be organized and numerous hotels have sprung up. The first hotels were built on the eastern side of the volcano, where the lava flowed. Bad luck for these hotels, however, as over the last ten years or so, following a major eruption, the crater has shifted to allow lava to flow from the western side.
The small village, La Fortuna, has changed over the years. Today, it’s a small town with all amenities: banks, restaurants, small supermarkets, etc.
The Arenal volcano region is rich in discoveries: bordered by primary and secondary forests, close to the lake of the same name, the largest in the country, the Arenal National Park, the waterfalls make this region one of the most visited in Costa Rica.
Tourist attractions in the Arenal volcano region
The view of the volcano alone is an extraordinary experience, which is why your choice of hotel is so important. Our selection of hotels in this region includes only those with a direct view of the volcano. These include the Observatory Lodge, the closest and best placed, Campo Verde, Arenal Nayara and Mountain Paradise, to name but a few.
The region’s ecosystems are highly varied, and it’s easy to spot animals such as iguanas, coatis, toucans and frogs, as well as numerous bird species.
There’s no shortage of activities around the volcano: suspension bridges, canopy tours, rafting, quad biking, horseback riding, trekking near the volcano at Cerro Chato, hot springs, kayaking, canyoning, mountain biking, fishing and windsurfing on the lake, and more and more kite surfing!
When you’re planning a trip to Costa Rica, the Arenal volcano is a “must-see”: rarely are our customers disappointed by this richly observational environment. As a French agency specializing in Costa Rica, we never tire of visiting this region, which is constantly evolving in terms of accommodation and activities.
Unlike other parts of the country, such as the Caribbean, Pacific and Corcovado coasts, the Arenal volcano can be visited at any time of year. Temperatures are very mild, around 79°F during the day and 64/68°F in the evening, but it’s not uncommon to get a little rain during the day.
The best way to visit this region is with a good 4×4, but today we have many alternative solutions for those who don’t want a car.
There are also a number of English-speaking guides, naturalists or otherwise, but this is an option to be booked well in advance.
Staying so close to a volcano is an unforgettable experience, full of energy, and one not to be missed!