Arenal – Arenal Volcano Costa Rica Tours and Activities
Arenal Volcano is an active volcano in north-western Costa Rica. It is approximately 90 km northwest of San Jose in the province of Alajuela, canton o, and district of La Fortuna. The Arenal volcano measures at least 1,633 meters (5,358 ft). It is conically shaped with a crater spanning 140 meters (460 ft). Arenal is geologically considered a young volcano and the age is estimated to be less than 7,000 years. It is also known as “Pan de Azúcar”, “Canaste”, “Volcan Costa Rica”, “Volcan Río Frío” or “Guatusos Peak”.
The volcano was asleep for hundreds of years and exhibited a single crater at its summit, with minor activity, covered by dense vegetation. In 1968 it had an eruption and destroyed the small town of Tabacón. Due to the eruption, three more craters were created on the western flanks but only one of them still exists today.
Lake Arenal is an artificial lake in Costa Rica, located in the northern highlands of the country. It was enlarged to its present size as a part of a 1979 hydroelectric project by the Costa Rica government to provide electricity to the country.
Lake Arenal is situated in the northern highlands of Costa Rica, in the provinces of Guanacaste and Alajuela. It is located in the Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area and is in close proximity to the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde cloud forest.
The lake is approximately 30 km long and almost 5 km at its widest point, making it the largest lake in Costa Rica at 85-square-kilometre (33 sq mi). Its depth varies between 30 and 60 meters (100–200 feet) depending on the season.
The town of Arenal was relocated to higher ground when the lake was expanded in 1979. The old towns of Arenal and Tonadora now lie abandoned at the bottom of the lake, with the new town of Arenal existing to the northeast on the lake.
There are primarily two species of fish in Lake Arenal (el lago Arenal), the machaca fish (not to be confused with machaca food), and bass. Notable birds found in the area include the hummingbird, woodpecker, kingfisher, and toucan, whose populations make the lake a popular destination for bird watchers. The rainforest ecosystem that encompasses Lake Arenal is hugely biodiverse, composed of over 2000 species of plants, 120 mammals, and 300 birds, and includes the jaguar, tapir, and quetzal.
From November through April the strong, dependable winds attract windsurfers to its western end. Many consider Lake Arenal one of the world’s foremost windsurfing area.
Lake Arenal and La Fortuna areas are known for the world-famous Arenal Volcano but they’re also quickly becoming known as Costa Rica’s premiere Adventure Zone. A Costa Rica vacation would not be complete without a visit to Lake Arenal and the Arenal Volcano because of its beauty and the many things to do. While you are in the Lake Arenal area you can enjoy canyoneering, whitewater rafting, kayaking, horseback rides, hikes to waterfalls, mountain biking, windsurfing, canopy tours, and cave tours.
Lake Arenal and Volcano Arenal
The Arenal Volcano is the only continuously active volcano in Costa Rica. Since 1968, it has been putting on firework displays almost every day, which can be safely viewed from many places in the region. The volcano is the number one attraction in Costa Rica. The underground volcanic activity geothermally heats the many mineral-rich hot springs in the area where you can relax and renew. Luxurious spas with swim-up bars and beautiful gardens are built around some of the hot springs. Hiking tours can take you to the hot springs as well. Yoga retreats are another popular way to relax in Lake Arenal.
The town of La Fortuna de San Carlos connects the Volcano Arenal area with the cloud forests of Monteverde and Santa Elena. A charming and quiet town, La Fortuna offers panoramic views from about six miles away of the spectacular erupting Volcano Arenal that has been spewing and spitting red hot lava and rocks on a daily basis for the past three decades.
The La Fortuna area is an ecotourism and adventure travel paradise, and a new adventure sport, canyoning, is really taking off. Canyoning involves rappelling into rain forest canyons where you hike to spectacular, hidden waterfalls and other secret spots.
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
Monteverde offers a wide array of fun activities for Costa Rica vacations, including canopy tours and zip lines, hanging bridges with spectacular views of the cloud forest, horseback riding, and ATV tours, among others. Straddling the Continental Divide at 4662 feet, the Santa Elena and Monteverde Cloud Forest area offers one of the most interesting places to visit on your Costa Rica trip. From the Lake Arenal area, there is even a boat tour that goes to the Monteverde Cloud Forest, which can be quicker than by car. There is also the La Fortuna to Monteverde Horseback ride.
One of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the Americas, the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve includes eight distinct ecological zones and protects more than 400 species of birds and over 100 species of mammals, making it a wonderful destination for Costa Rica eco-tours.