The big "must see" in Costa Rica is the volcano. Our travel agent (Pat Hewitt of Costa Rican Travel Exchange) told us the best times to watch - we saw it twice. (No pictures either time).
However, THIS Arenal is not near the volcano. The volcano location is at the Arenal that is near Laguna Arenal and Tileran.
These are the driving directions from the resort web page.
DIRECTIONS FROM SAN JOSE TO TABACON
Drive to Tabacón through San Ramón (Drive time: 3-3 1/2 hours):
1. Take the Interamerican Highway North (which passes by the International Airport) towards San Ramón, approximately 56 Km. Once, arriving to the San Ramón exit, you will also see a blue road sign, indicating Tabacón Resort.
2. Exit at San Ramón, and drive straight down the main road, until reaching a dead end. Turn left 2 blocks to the San Ramón Hospital, then right onto the road to La Fortuna. You will see two signs for Tabacón Resort while driving through San Ramón, as well as other signs for the Arenal Volcano.
3. Follow the signs to La Fortuna and Arenal. The drive should take you through a number of small towns, including Los Angeles, Balsa, Bajo Rodriguez, where there is voluntary toll. At the toll, you will see a 45 km sign to Tabacón. Keep driving through the towns of La Tigra, San Isidro and Chachagua, until you finally reach La Fortuna. This section is an 80 Km drive and should take about 75 to 90 minutes.
4.We strongly recommend that you drive early in the day, before sundown. In the late afternoon and evening, you can expect heavy fog, especially during the Green Season (May-Nov).
From Arenal we took a day trip to Cano Negro Wildlife Reserve, which is special interest to birders. We were pleased to see roseate spoonbills, anhingas, osprey eagles, many herons and egrets, kingfishers and an owl!
A transfer by mini-bus then a boat rtip to view the area provided us with the best views.
One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the Jesus Christ Lizard, so named because it can "walk on water". It has webbed feet and can skim the surface of water for a short distance. Very impressive.
Cano Negro is in the far north of Costa Rica, on the border with Nicaragua. The boat captain took us right up to the border and we wre able to climb over the fence in order to be able to say that we've been to Nacaragua!
This is typical of the inside of the local 'Super Venado'. Groceries and supplies of all kind are available, and lined up on shelves, just like the 'old days'.