Private Shuttle to Arenal
About Arenal Area
Arenal is increasingly popular, thanks to the active Arenal volcano and the beautifully attractive Lake Arenal.
The Arenal volcano was dormant from around 1500 until 1968 when it suddenly erupted and lava flows caused widespread destruction and wiped out 2 villages. Since then it remained one of the most active in the world, emitting gas, small explosions, and lava flows. It is dangerous and unpredictable, as witnessed by an accident early in 2000 when 2 tourists and a guide were severely burned by a sudden cloud of hot gas. At night glowing lava flowing down from the crater can frequently see. Several lodges provide “doorstep” panoramic views at a safe distance, and the Arenal national park, formed recently in 1995, provides the opportunity to walk closer to the lava flows.
Arenal volcano is at the southern end of Lake Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest lake. It is man-made, formed in 1973 when the dam was built to provide hydroelectric power. The lake has great fishing and windsurfing and offers a scenic drive around the eastern shore with excellent lake and volcano views. Boating, canoeing, riding, mountain biking, and hiking are all possible. There are many lodges around the lake to provide accommodation.
Liberia Airport to Arenal
San Jose, Juan Santa Maria Airport to Arenal
The Arenal Volcano National Park is a must-see for anybody in the country. Often the volcano is shrouded in clouds, so there is some risk of disappointment, but visiting the area remains an experience in itself.
Fishing for guapote (rainbow bass) is highly rated by fishermen, and the windsurfing is world-class during the high wind period of December – April when “sinkers” can be seen racing and jumping at the northern end of the lake. The wind power projects there attest to the wind’s force.
Other activities possible when based in the Arenal area:-
* white water rafting on the Penas Blancas
* horse riding, mountain biking & hiking
* visiting the Fortuna waterfall
* boat trip on Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge
* lake cruises
There are plenty of lodges around the lake. If your main objective is visiting the Arenal volcano, then you should seek a lodge close to the volcano. There is a modest choice of restaurants and cafes at Fortuna, around Nuevo Arenal, and scattered around, including some real Italian pizzerias.
Although you could manage without a car once you arrive, we recommend you have your own rental car for full flexibility and mobility. You can either pick this up in San Jose and drive down or pick up in Fortuna from agencies such as Elegante.
As the crow flies, Monteverde is relatively close. It is quite common and feasible to continue on to Monteverde after Arenal. However, access is not so direct. The choice is to drive north around the lake to Tilaran, then double back south (probably the best, and is very scenic), or to let the lodge organize a boat trip across the Rio Chiquito followed either by a taxi ride or a 4-5 hour horse trek up to Monteverde.
The drive to either the south or north of Arenal is the same, around 4 hours from San Jose (see map). For the north, the best route is via the Panamerican highway to Canas, then up to Tilaran. For the south and the volcano, there are 3 routes that pass one side or another of Poas volcano, even enabling a visit to this volcano en route. These routes are highly scenic, and definitely part of the fun of getting there. Attractions along the way are Sarchi (famous for handicrafts), Zarcero (sculptured hedging outside the church), Waterfall de la Paz, the new La Paz Waterfall Gardens, and the Waterfall at Fortuna.
Many of the hotels can organize shuttles. You also can go by Gray Line bus, by taxi, take a domestic flight to the airport of Quepos, or drive-by rented car. 4×4 is not essential but is generally recommended for some of the gravel roads, particularly. during the rainy season.