Arenal Travel Guide

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by TravellerMel
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by TravellerMel
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by TravellerMel

Arenal Things to Do

  • Arenal Hanging Bridges

    We had the BEST time at the Arenal Hanging Bridges! A lovely mountain/rainforest trail with several hanging bridges of varying heights and lengths. I get nervous around heights, and the grated floor of the higher elevation bridges "made my woo hoo go funny", but it was spectacularly beautiful, and we saw lots of wildlife, including monkeys, birds...

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  • Visit the Catholic Church in La Fortuna

    Officially, it's Saint John Bosco Catholic Church, but everyone just refers to it as "The Catholic Church", and it was the primary point of reference when being given directions. Definitely worth a visit, even if you aren't Catholic. According to my Frommer's guidebook, the church was designed by a famous Costa Rican artist named Teodorico Quiros....

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  • Arenal Volcano National Park - Lava Flow...

    A very popular option for tourists is to visit the Arenal Volcano National Park. There is a $10/per person admission to the park, which is good for all day (back and forth). The park has four hiking trails where you can see spectacular views of the volcano, Arenal Lake, and wildlife such as howler monkeys, slots, deer, coatis, birds, and lizards....

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  • Arenal Natura Eco-Park

    Arenal Natura Ecological Park offers several tours and admission options - we did the Bird watching tour. It ended up being a private tour (I am told that is fairly common, since it is so early in the morning). Our guide met us at the entrance to the park, and we went into the gift shop to get our (included) drinks prior to setting out. There was...

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  • HOT SPRINGS= TOTAL RELAXATION& NATURE...

    I cant say enough wonderful things about the hot springs at Tabacon. Their are at least 20 pools and waterfalls each a different temperature. All are totally surrounded by rain forest. There is steam billowing upwards off black rock pools up towards gorgeous tropical plants. All pools are connected by pebble walkways. You should know:- go to the...

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  • Tabacon Hot Springs At Night

    The Tabacon Hot Spring is a must-do if you visit the Arenal area. If you don’t experience this, you are seriously missing out, so make sure you budget for it. The Hot Springs are part of the 5-Star Tabacon Resort. However, you don’t have to be a guest to use the hot springs. The springs are located across the street from the resort and the entry...

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  • Sky Tram & Sky Trek Adventure

    Wow! This sky trek adventure is one I will never forget. It was so liberating and refreshing to zip line hundreds of feet above a lush rainforest, going 50 mph and surrounded by misty fog! I mean absolutely amazing. Our adventure started early in the morning around 9 a.m. and was provided by Sky Adventures. We took a gondola up the mountain (not...

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  • Horse back riding to waterfalls!

    There are several places to choose from I believe. It is about a 1 hr ride each way to the waterfalls. Your butt will hurt the next day with all the bouncing but it is a great trip. And swimming in the falls was great. There are many steps down to the falls which will be difficult for any older people to manage.

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  • Divine hot springs!!

    Baldi Termae has 10 different pools that each have a different temperature. The rivers turned hot the last time the volcano eruputed (around the 60's I believe, could be wrong). There is lush vegetation around the pools and stone walkways. There is even a swim out bar. It feels like a fancy resort for celebrities but the entry fee is only $10....

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Arenal Hotels

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Arenal Restaurants

  • Fabulous Volcano View & Reasonable...

    We had been seeing the signs for Arenal Lodge, and it's great views and food, so we decided to check it out. We drove an INCREDIBLY long way up the mountain (seriously, there is a sign at the top that reads "You FINALLY Made It!"), and parked in the lodge parking lot. The first thing we noticed upon entering the lobby was a huge, beautiful blue...

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  • Excellent food and service!

    Que Rico Aqui Arenal deserves to be acclaimed as the #1 restaurant in the Arenal area and La Fortuna. We totally enjoyed every meal at Que Rico Arenal. From the moment you arrive, the staff provides a warm and attentive welcome to the modern dining space with spectacular views to the volcano. The service is stellar from start to finish, with...

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  • Cheap restaurants

    # 1. Big and tasty hamburguers we had for lunch. There were much more options in the menu. Very cheap. It's got like a pub upstairs for later on. # 2. Mamma mia pizzas¡¡ Tasty, big (which sometimes it is important) and cheap. More options in the menu. Nice waiter. Nice beer.

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Arenal Nightlife

  • 2 pubs and a disco

    There is a pub in the 2nd floor of restaurant # 1. We went there and we're almost the only customers, although I think it was Friday¡¡There's another one on the road towards Arenal Country Inn, but we didn´t stop and didn't seem the most crowded either.There's a disco, the only one, so you'll find it but it seemed crowded and too latin for us....

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  • Rack 'em up!

    The Great Room at the Lodge is the centre of the activities. Here you can play pool, shoot some darts, play board games, or just relax in front of the giant fireplace with a cocktail.It was such a laid-back atmosphere, and we felt totally at home, from the minute we arrived.

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  • Nightlife in the Jungle

    One night the guides passed us all flashlights, and told us we were going on a walk through the forest. It was pitch dark, and very spooky, and the jungle sounds were overwhelming.They took us along the boardwalk, and we were told to hold hands, and leave the flashlights off until they said it was ok. Finally, we turned them on, and looked down to...

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Arenal Transportation

  • You don't need a car in Arenal

    We didn't need a car our entire time in Arenal. Getting to Arenal from San Jose was simple with a van ride that picked us up right at the hotel, the Best Western. Every daily excursion we took was booked through whatever hotel we were staying at and each included transportation. It was much more relaxing to let someone else do all the driving.

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  • Doing a day trip - no problem!

    If you plan to stay in the area you may wish to drive, however it you are planning a daytrip I would suggest doing one of the tours. For about 80 USD (lunch & dinner included) you get a full day of fun. Most leave in the morning, and make a few interesting stops along the way, getting you to Tabacon Hot Springs about mid afternoon. You will have...

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  • 4WD

    The other side of the lake we were met by a 4WD vehicle which was to transport ud the last part of the journey to Monteverde. Unfortunately, there wasn't really enough room for four large people plus luggage, so the trip was rather cramped and uncomfortable.The scenery though, was really spectacular, and the tracks were just that - dirt tracks! We...

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Arenal Shopping

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  • Little shops

    Around Fortuna's central square there're some little t-shirt shops which had good material and good souvenirs too. Be careful with prices and check everywhere before buying.There's a hair-dresser's somewhere in a tiny alley, cause one of my mates shaved his head there. It wasn't expensive, that I can tell...

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  • Supplies

    I went to the local supermarket in La Fortuna to get some snacks and water to have in the room. The water I used for my hydration pack on tours, and to brush my teeth.The store is very well stocked with everthing you could possibly need. Snacks, water, laundry detergent. It's cheap. Much cheaper than in the hotel gift shop, and a much better...

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  • Arenal Hotels

    6 Hotels in Arenal

    3 Reviews

Arenal Warnings and Dangers

  • Jungle Snakes

    My wife and I visited the Arenal Observatory Lodge which is beautiful to say the least. They have the best view of the volcano and of Lake Arenal by far. But, on a sad note, we were there during the rainy season which kept us from seeing the acutal top of the volcano. If you in the area and hiking down a jungle trail to see a waterfall, be careful...

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  • Creepy Crawlies

    While walking along one of the paths, we noticed these big ant hills off to the side, so Hubby had to go and investigate. On our first day there, the guides warned us to always tuck our pant legs into our socks, so the ants wouldn't crawl up inside your jeans. You'll notice that Hubby follows recommendations really well.

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  • Arriba, Abajo, Acentro, Adentro

    I believe this is the Spanish equivalent to 'over the lips, past the gums....', It was taught to us by the bartender at the Eco-Lodge, as he somehow convinced us to try something called 'Guaro'. We've been married almost 14 years, and still have the bottle in our liquor cabinet, waiting for another unsuspecting guest...

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Arenal What to Pack

  • For Hiking/Volcano/Zip/Thermal Baths

    A light daypack to hold your supplies Sturdy hiking boots or athletic shoes - do NOT try to hike in flip-flops or sandals!Long pants will help you prevent bug bites & scratchesA poncho to protect against the frequent rains (it is a rain forest, after all!)A hat to cover your head & faceFor the thermal baths, you will need a swimsuit (they provide...

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  • Hint - it rains in the rainforest....

    ....so be sure to bring rain gear. Although at the Eco-Lodge in Arenal, they supplied not only these beautiful ponchos, but the marvellous rubber boots too! Just what every new bride is wearing these days!

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Arenal Off The Beaten Path

  • Bosque Nuboso El Corcora Butterfly Farm

    On our way from San Jose to La Fortuna, we happened by El Cocora Butterfly Farm and Hummingbird Garden. We were ready for a break from our drive, my husband (the bird watcher) wanted to see hummingbirds, so we pulled in. The young woman who approached us spoke good English, and explained to us that this was a family-run endeavor, and was able to...

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  • Not the Arenal Volcano

    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...

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  • Typical Local Store

    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'.

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Arenal Sports & Outdoors

  • Flying through the trees

    Flying through the "canopy" of the trees with animals and birds above you and below you is exhilirating to say the least.But don't be concerned, the professional guides make it very safe even though your heart races.

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  • Rent a Motorbike

    At the Eco-Lodge, hubby rented a motorcycle for a couple of hours, and we did some exploring around little Coter Lake.

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  • The big one that didn't get away!

    While we were out for our early morning boat ride, Hubby did a little fishing on Coter Late. I'm not sure what this is (they all look like bass to me), but he was certainly proud of it. It was pretty big, but he let it go.

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Arenal Favorites

  • Butterfly's!

    A popular sight in the rain forest is the butterfly. Arenal has no shortage. With patience and luck, you will have some great experiences. They can be anywhere from right outside your hotel door to some local trails that are on the grounds of many of the hotels in the area.

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  • Iguanas

    On our way to Cano Negro, we stopped in a small village called Muelle, to have a look at this tree. What's so unsual about this tree, you may well ask. We asked that same question too. It's not until you look very closely that you realise, that the tree is full of huge iguanas. Those fat brown things are not branches, they are reptiles! There must...

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Explore Deeper into Arenal
Arenal Hanging Bridges
Things to Do
Jardin de Mariposas (Buttery Garden)
Things to Do
Aernal Canopy Tour
Things to Do
Hot Springs
Things to Do
Waterfalls
Things to Do
Horse Ride
Things to Do
Tabacon Hot Springs and Resort.
Things to Do
Arenal volcano at night
Things to Do
Relax
Things to Do
Volcano and surroundings.
Things to Do
Tabacon
Things to Do
Lake Arenal
Things to Do
Typical Local Snack Bar
Restaurants
Howler Monkeys
Things to Do
Tabacon Hot Springs
Things to Do
The Town of Fortuna
Things to Do
Bat Holes - Not just for the bats!
Things to Do
Bat Holes at Venado Caves
Things to Do
Venado Caves
Things to Do
Statuary
Things to Do
Paying your respects
Things to Do
Roman Catholic Church
Things to Do
Boating on a Misty Morning
Sports & Outdoors
Windsurfer's Paradise
Sports & Outdoors
Watch out for - what is that?
Warnings and Dangers
Watch out for Snakes!!
Warnings and Dangers
The Rainforest
Things to Do
How can plants grow this big!?
Things to Do
Roadside Stand
Restaurants
Horseback Riding
Sports & Outdoors
North or South Arenal
Warnings and Dangers
Lake Arenal
Transportation
Tabacon Hot Springs
Things to Do
Cano Negro
Off The Beaten Path
Volcano, of course
Things to Do
Arenal is still active and dangerous
Warnings and Dangers
Hanging Bridges
Things to Do
Horseback riding tour
Sports & Outdoors
Drive from San Jose AIrport
Transportation
Be alert
Warnings and Dangers
Map of Arenal

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