10 Best Things to Do at Arenal Volcano

Best Things to Do at Arenal Volcano: The Arenal Volcano region stands out as one of Costa Rica’s most sought-after destinations, largely due to the numerous tours available in the area. Visitors can explore secondary rainforests, discover waterfalls, experience the country’s largest lake, immerse themselves in cultural encounters, and choose from a diverse range of hotels in Arenal.

This variety has rightfully earned Arenal the title of the adventure capital of Costa Rica in the eyes of many. Whether you’re seeking thrills on a zip-line or aiming to unwind in the volcano-fed hot springs, Arenal caters to every traveler’s preferences.

Hike Along the Base of the Arenal Volcano

Top Things to Do at Arenal Volcano National Park
Hike Along the Base of the Arenal Volcano

Undoubtedly, Arenal stands out as the most popular and widely acknowledged of Costa Rica’s volcanoes. In the recent past, it held the distinction of being the country’s most active volcano, boasting an average of 41 eruptions daily.

Although current regulations don’t permit hiking to its summit, Arenal visitors can explore the volcano’s base alongside a naturalist guide, gaining insights into old lava flows and local wildlife. Enhance your experience by combining the hike with a visit to Ecotermales Hot Springs, and you’ll immerse yourself in the quintessential Arenal volcano adventure.

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Soak in Arenal Volcano All-Natural Hot Springs

Few experiences rival the relaxation of soaking in warm thermal waters following a day of adventure. Originating from underground heating that brings bubbling waters to the surface, the mineral-rich waters of the Arenal volcano have served as therapeutic baths for over two centuries.

Presently, these hot springs stand out as a sought-after attraction for travelers, especially those returning from a day filled with adventurous activities like whitewater rafting and waterfall rappelling. Some hotels include hot springs access, while others in the vicinity offer day passes for visitors to enjoy these rejuvenating waters.

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Fly Through the Forest Canopy by Aerial Tram or Zipline

Experience one of Costa Rica’s premier zip-lining adventures in Arenal, delivering breathtaking views coupled with an adrenaline rush! Begin your ascent on an aerial tram to reach the summit’s observation point, providing panoramic views of Lake Arenal. Embark on an exhilarating journey down one of Costa Rica’s highest and fastest zip lines from this vantage point. Soar through the treetops and enjoy stunning vistas, with the iconic Arenal Volcano as a majestic backdrop. This thrilling Arenal zip-lining experience is a must-try for adventure enthusiasts—open to participants of all ages!

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Experience an Arenal Sloth Tour

The sloth holds a special place as one of Costa Rica’s most endearing symbols, securing its position at the top of the Must-See Wildlife lists for many visitors. Renowned for its elusive nature, the sloth often camouflages itself among the treetops, making spotting one in the wild a delightful challenge.

Fortunately, the Arenal region proves to be an excellent location to encounter the charming, smiling sloth of your dreams. Wildlife enthusiasts can opt for either an early morning sloth tour, with wildlife activity typically at its peak during sunrise, or an afternoon tour departing after lunch. This guided nature walk directs you to prime sloth-viewing spots in Arenal, based on recent sloth activity reports in the area.

For those with limited time, there’s also a chance to spot sloths during activities like the Arenal Hanging Bridges Hike and other local nature walks. The Nayara Resorts are recognized for hosting a few resident sloths, offering guests the opportunity to observe them during their stay. Additionally, The Springs Resort & Spa’s Club Rio animal sanctuary often houses rescued sloths, providing a more controlled and zoo-like experience, ideal for families with young children.

Nestled beside the Arenal hotel zone, the quaint farming town of La Fortuna derives its name from its stunning neighbor, the La Fortuna Waterfall. Enveloped by the vibrant greenery of the rainforest, La Fortuna gracefully descends 200 feet, creating a mesmerizing pool of crystal-clear water below.

Visit La Fortuna Waterfall

Top Things to Do at Arenal Volcano National Park
Visit La Fortuna Waterfall

Upon reaching the park entrance, visitors can witness the cascade from a vantage point high above. Subsequently, a descent down a lengthy staircase of approximately 500 steps provides an intimate encounter with this extraordinary force of nature. Remember to bring a swimsuit, as the pool offers a refreshing respite on a warm day! It’s worth noting that swimming is permitted in designated safe areas along the cascade pool, but caution is advised to maintain a safe distance from the powerful waterfall.

Arenal Hanging Bridges Hike

The Arenal Hanging Bridges are the best place for a taste of the rainforest during your stay in Arenal. Visitors hike through a private nature reserve along well-maintained trails and across a series of fixed and hanging bridges.

This unique vantage point provides a glimpse into life in the secondary rainforest canopy – a unique habitat for birds, monkeys, and countless other Costa Rican creatures. A naturalist guide accompanies guests and reveals secrets about the reserve’s flora and fauna and points out hard-to-spot wildlife. Expert tip: Don’t miss the optional waterfall extension trail at the end of the hike.

Cruise Along Lake Arena

Best Things to Do at Arenal Volcano
Cruise Along Lake Arena

Set against the majestic backdrop of the Arenal volcano and the encompassing hills, Lake Arenal presents a breathtaking spectacle. As Costa Rica’s largest lake, it offers exploration opportunities through kayaking or stand-up paddleboarding. However, the preferred choice for many is a boat excursion coupled with a leisurely stroll along the Arenal peninsula trail.

Honeymooners seeking a romantic touch may find the sunset cruise an ideal option, creating lasting memories of Lake Arenal. Even if a dedicated lake day isn’t feasible in your schedule, you can still appreciate its beauty enhancing the local landscape. Glimpses of Arenal Lake can be savored from zip lines, hiking trails, and during your journey to the hotel.

Whitewater Rafting Tours Near Arenal

Navigating the Balsa River stands out as one of the most sought-after whitewater rafting experiences easily accessible from Arenal. The river’s Class II-III rapids offer an excellent option for adventurers aged 7 and above, irrespective of prior rafting exposure.

Prior to embarking on the river journey, your skilled guides will provide comprehensive instructions on paddling techniques and safety measures, ensuring a secure experience. The rafting expedition spans approximately two hours, granting you captivating views of the lush forest surroundings, and if you’re fortunate, glimpses of the local wildlife.

Additionally, the Sarapiqui River, within reach from the Arenal volcano region, presents rafting enthusiasts with a choice between level II-III or level III-IV rapids, catering to varied preferences for an adrenaline-fueled adventure.

Look for Wildlife on a Safari River Float

For those who find the idea of navigating through tumultuous rapids too adventurous, a safari float down the serene rivers near Arenal offers a tranquil and distinctive approach to immersing oneself in the nature and wildlife of the Arenal Volcano region. Situated approximately 45 minutes away, the Penas Blancas River provides a suitable safari float experience suitable for travelers of all ages, devoid of whitewater rapids.

Alternatively, for those willing to venture a bit further, a day tour to Cano Negro National Wildlife Refuge unveils an extensive network of rivers and marshes. This refuge thrives as a habitat for various aquatic bird species, including Jaribu storks, roseate spoonbills, and egrets. To maximize wildlife sightings, consider visiting during the green season when the rivers swell, creating a fertile environment for abundant animal activity.

Try a Costa Rican Cooking Class

Beyond the exhilaration of zip lines and the relaxation of hot springs, Arenal offers a delightful culinary dimension waiting to be explored. For the discerning traveler who finds joy in savoring a destination’s gastronomic delights, consider immersing yourself in a Costa Rican cooking class in Arenal.

This experience goes beyond the ordinary, allowing you to engage with Costa Rica on a deeper level that indulges all your senses. Whether you choose to actively participate with hands-on cooking, guided by a seasoned chef, or prefer to observe and absorb the art of local cuisine, a culinary adventure in Arenal promises to be a flavorful and enriching experience.

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