Beyond the Postcard: Visiting Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna.

By Silvanna Pacheco, May 28, 2024

Arenal Volcano, with its iconic cone-shaped, the lush rainforest that surrounds it, and the variety of activities around the town of La Fortuna, has become one of Costa Rica’s most famous destinations! 

Arenal Volcano National Park.

Accommodations within the Arenal area offer gorgeous, breathtaking views. The Arenal Volcano Observatory Lodge is one of them. It’s the only lodge located within Arenal Volcano National Park. Despite its close proximity to the volcano, a deep canyon and the Agua Caliente River provide protection from any danger. This lodge began as a scientific research station for the world-famous Smithsonian Institution and is now a unique lodge offering great amenities for all guests.

Arenal Observatory Lodge.

The thermal waters of the area’s hot springs are another reason why Arenal and La Fortuna are highly sought-after destinations. Many hotels capitalize on this by offering hot spring pools for their guests’ enjoyment. However, Tabacon Resort & Spa boasts the most popular hot springs in the area. Imagine yourself wandering deep into a magical rainforest, surrounded by intricately built warm waterfalls, hot pools, and natural sitting areas that seamlessly blend with the environment. Tabacon offers this very experience. They provide a day pass option, while hotel guests receive complimentary access to the thermal river and its pools.

Tabacon hot springs.

The Arenal and La Fortuna area boasts a multitude of adventurous activities: aerial tram, white-water rafting, zip lining, horseback riding, kayaking, wildlife observation and birdwatching. La Fortuna Waterfall is a must-do for visitors. Take a refreshing dip in the cool, crystal-clear waters beneath the cascading 200-foot drop. It’s the perfect way to cool off after a day exploring Arenal.

Arenal Volcano National Park offers several hiking trails of varying lengths. One of the trails leads you out to walk upon what is left from a lava flow of the past. The trail takes you to a spectacular view of the volcano on one side and the gorgeous Lake Arenal on the other.  It is one of the best views and a rare opportunity to experience a part of the volcano’s legacy.

Sunrise at Lake Arenal.

Lake Arenal, nestled at the foot of the Arenal Volcano, is Costa Rica’s largest lake. It beckons outdoor enthusiasts with its ideal combination of water and wind conditions. Windsurfing reigns supreme here. Lessons and rental companies are available making it easy for you and your family to test out your skills.

La Fortuna Waterfall

Arenal and La Fortuna offer more than just breathtaking scenery and thrilling adventures. Immerse yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of the region. Witness demonstrations of unique crafts and be captivated by the rhythmic dances of the Maleku indigenous people at a Maleku Village.

You also get the opportunity to venture beyond the tourist trail and experience the warmth of Costa Rican hospitality at a family-run farm (finca). Try your hand at traditional farming practices, witness the preparation of local cheese, coffee, or chocolate, or participate in making tortillas, a staple in Costa Rican cuisine.

By incorporating these experiences into your trip, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of the Arenal and La Fortuna area beyond its natural attractions. You’ll connect with the local people, appreciate their traditions, and create a richer and more memorable travel experience.