A region for adventure, naturalism and hot springs relaxation. Let us introduce you to one of the must-see locations in Costa Rica.
Let's begin with some tips on how to get there and what to look for.
Nestled within the heart of Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano Region is a natural wonderland that could easily be mistaken for a slice of paradise. Its story begins with the striking geographic location in the northern part of the country, where the Pacific and Caribbean sides of Costa Rica meet. Tucked between the Tilarán and Guanacaste mountain ranges, this region boasts a unique blend of climates and landscapes that make it an ecological gem.
Rainfall, often unpredictable and occasionally torrential, is a defining feature of the Arenal Volcano Region. The region experiences a tropical rainforest climate, with a distinct wet season from May to November and a drier season from December to April. These dramatic shifts in precipitation, a gift from Mother Nature herself, nourish the dense rainforest that blankets the region, giving life to a mesmerizing array of flora and fauna. Lush foliage stretches as far as the eye can see, teeming with exotic creatures and vibrant plant life. It’s like a green symphony, playing out in nature’s grand theater.
The economic activities of the Arenal Volcano Region have shifted over the years. Once primarily reliant on agriculture and cattle farming, tourism has become the lifeblood of the region. The allure of the volcano, hot springs, and lush landscapes has brought in travelers from all corners of the world. Hotels, resorts, and adventure tour operators have sprouted up to cater to the growing demand. With this transformation, the region has seen an improvement in infrastructure, education, and overall quality of life for its residents.
Arenal is an accesible destination by many means of transportation. A conveniently close airport for local flights, fairly frequent public bus routes and roads and highway networks in good condition can facilitate your trip according to your budget. The main town is called La Fortuna which is close to most of the activities and attractions.
If you arrive at San José as entry point to Costa Rica, you can call a taxi or uber to take you to San Carlos Bus Station called “7/10”. From there you can book your seats in a “non-stop” bus to Fortuna, usually makes only one stop in Cuidad Quesada. This is for restrooms use, as the whole journey can take up to 6 hours.
You can also book a Private Van to pick you up at the Airport. A bilingual driver (english/spanish) will meet you at your arrival and kindly take you in a worry-free trip to your accommodation in Arenal. This is especially good choice if your flight lands late in the evening or in the wee hours of the morning, as driving on your own can be tiresome. You can book this trip easy peasy with Blue Pass. The whole journey can take about 2.5 hours.
There are plenty of options if you like the adventure of driving in another country. The highways and roads network are fairly easy to navigate, and you can use Waze or Google Maps with confidence. The whole journey from San José to La Fortuna can take up to 3 hours.
Domestic flights terminal is located adjacent to Juan Santamaría International Airport. Flights depart from there to the main touristic places in the country, including Arenal. The flight itself takes about 45 min., but keep in mind that you still have show up at least an hour before. The Local Airport in La Fortuna is located 15 min by car from downtown, you can call a cab or book the private transportation in advance with Blue Pass.
There are so many things to see! Let us guide you through some of these gems.
Now that you know what things you might want to see, how about some suggestions on how to put together a nice stay in La Fortuna and Arenal.
Assuming that you’ll arrive late in the evening to Arenal, here are some ideas for the next day.
Alternatively, you can visit other places in Downtown La Fortuna such as: El Salto, where you can swim in a river, Chocolate Fusion, to taste locally made chocolate, or one of the many restaurants and souvenir shops around town.
Tours like La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Hike, Hanging Bridges, Floating Safari and Hot Springs can be bought in a bundle and save money. Ask your tour operator if you can split it in 2 days to accommodate your itinerary.
Touristic activities in the area cater to those with a taste for adventure, relaxation, and discovery. Arenal Volcano, the region’s iconic centerpiece, once a dormant giant, reawakened in 1968 with a massive eruption, forever changing the landscape. Hiking trails, such as the one to the base of the volcano, allow visitors to experience the humbling presence of this majestic colossus up close. Natural hot springs, powered by the volcanic activity beneath the surface, offer a soothing and rejuvenating escape. These thermal pools, like Tabacon and Baldi, are hidden treasures amidst the rainforest, where visitors can unwind in warm, mineral-rich waters while surrounded by tropical beauty.
For the thrill-seekers, activities such as zip-lining through the canopy, white-water rafting, and horseback riding through the jungle provide unforgettable moments of adrenaline and connection with the wild. Birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts can get lost in the rich biodiversity of Arenal’s rainforest, discovering toucans, sloths, and howler monkeys among many other species.
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What would you like to do next? Here are some suggestions of where to continue your journey!