Guide to Costa Rica: Arenal Volcano |

Guide to Costa Rica: Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano rises in a symmetrical cone above the town of La Fortuna and the surrounding lowlands of central-north Costa Rica. It’s one of the most famous spots in Costa Rica, and became so for the active volcano, which spewed forth molten rock and ash on a daily basis.

The volcano used to send out almost daily outpourings of incandescent lava, mushroom clouds of gas and steam, and ejecting hot boulders which bounce down the slopes – however these days activity is restricted to little more than the occasional puff of smoke.

However, the area offers plenty of other attractions, as owing to its popularity, a huge array of activities and excursions have been created in the vicinity. A boat trip across Lake Arenal provides some stunning views of the surrounding hillsides, as does a visit to the Hanging Bridges, a series of suspended pathways through the forest canopy.

The forests can be explored at your own pace without a guide, but if you want to hike in the forest near the volcano a guided tour is a must for your own safety.

There is also a number of hot springs to be found locally, where you can relax in the thermal waters with the deep rumblings of the volcano as a soundtrack.

If you plan to stay here it is worth having your own hire car, as the activities are not all within walking distance of each other and local taxis often charge a premium.

For your personal safety never venture beyond the permitted areas and do not attempt to hike near the crater. Although the volcano is not dangerous at a distance there is a very real danger in the off-limits areas. Poisonous gas emissions, ash columns and incandescent avalanches are all regular occurrences; they can appear or change direction without warning, and do claim lives.

Ready to explore for yourself?

Discover Costa Rica on a Pura Aventura trip! A cloudforest one minute, the tropics the next – Costa Rica has ecological diversity unlike any other. It has head turning wildlife literally everywhere, from humming birds over breakfast to sea turtles at night. But we also love Costa Rica for being just such fantastic fun…

Find out more