Visit Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
At 1,633 meters (5,357 feet) above sea level, Arenal Volcano has been until recently the most active in Central America and was considered to be one of the world's ten most active volcanoes! As you can imagine this is a popular spot for anyone wanting to visit Costa Rica therefore you should be aware, in peak season especially, this is by no means the peaceful area it once was. Despite the coach loads it can draw it is a stunning part of the country and well worth including on a trip to Costa Rica.
Although the volcano is no longer delivering its sporadic eruptions it is a magnificent peak and there is plenty to do in the area. The volcano can be difficult to see, especially in the dry season as it is often shrouded by cloud but its an incredible sight if you are lucky enough and the surrounding lava fields are also fascinating.
You can explore the area by combining a multitude of activities such as canopy walkways, horse-riding, canoeing and walking. The nearby hot springs, though busy, make for a special experience bathing beneath the stars and the nearby Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is well worth a day trip.
The volcano's growth over the ages has been characterized by a number of eruptions - the last major one of which occurred on 29th July 1968. This eruption blasted off the top of the volcano creating the volcano shape that can be seen today.
The nearby Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge is well worth a day trip. This is one of the most densely populated areas of Costa Rica but we have found some fabulous accommodation in this scenic and beautiful region.
Suggested itineraries featuring Arenal Volcano
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Arenal Volcano, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Arenal Volcano
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Arenal Volcano
- Monteverde Cloud Forest 11 miles away
- Tenorio Volcano 26 miles away
- Cano Negro 31 miles away
- San Ramon 31 miles away
- El Silencio Lodge 33 miles away
- Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui 48 miles away
- Rincon de la Vieja 50 miles away
- San José & Central Valley 56 miles away
- Northern Pacific Coast 57 miles away
- Punta Islita 64 miles away
- Esterillos 67 miles away
- Central Pacific Coast 72 miles away
- Playa Potrero 73 miles away
- Golfo de Papagayo 78 miles away
- Tamarindo 78 miles away
- Turrialba 80 miles away
- Tortuguero & the Caribbean Coast 83 miles away
- Manuel Antonio 84 miles away
- San Gerardo de Dota 88 miles away
- Dominical 102 miles away
- Corcovado & Osa Peninsula 141 miles away
- Puerto Viejo de Talamanca 144 miles away
- Manzanillo 151 miles away
Photos of Arenal Volcano
Accommodation choices for Arenal Volcano
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Arenal Volcano. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.
A friendly and affordable base for exploring the many attractions and beautiful scenery of Arenal.
An elegant boutique hotel in one of Costa Rica’s prime visitor areas, boasting beautiful views of Arenal Volcano and hidden within tropical forest.
Arenal Springs is a resort-style hotel with excellent facilities and comfortable rooms.
This charming little 36-room hotel is located just outside the town of Fortuna, with views of the volcano from the pretty gardens.
The Lost Iguana Resort is a lovely hotel peacefully nestled about 30 minutes drive from La Fortuna in over 100 acres of virgin rainforest.
Hotel Arenal Kioro is 10km to the north of La Fortuna directly in front of the magnificent Arenal Volcano.
Nayara Springs is the newest boutique luxury addition to the Arenal Volcano region, and sister property to the highly rated Arenal Nayara Hotel. Separated by a tropical forest and 67-meter long pedestrian bridge, Nayara Springs boasts just 16 villas, each with its own private plunge pool fed by mineral hot springs.
Originally built as a research station for scientists of the Smithsonian Institute, the lodge offers simple but comfortable accommodation within a short distance of the volcano.
Ideas for experiencing Arenal Volcano
Our specialists seek out authentic ways to get to know the places that could feature in your trip. These activities reflect some of the experiences they've most enjoyed while visiting Arenal Volcano, and which use the best local guides.
Enjoy a peaceful gondola ride above the Arenal rainforest and take in the breathtaking views of the volcano and the still, blue lake. Choose to return back to your starting point the same way or via the Canopy Tour; an exhilarating zip line through the forest canopy.
This easy and manageable hike will allow you to enjoy the most extraordinary view of the Arenal Volcano as you walk along the base of this marvelous 'Mountain of Fire'. See recent lava flows and rock formations and learn about the big eruption of 1968.
Follow the hanging bridges through the Arenal rainforest canopy and the walking trails along the forest floor to spot numerous bird, animal and plant species. Clearings and open spaces in the forest canopy offer a glimpse of the magnificent Arenal Volcano in the distance.
Ascend through dense primary forest, which is home to a huge variety of flora and fauna, to the summit of Cerro Chato - Arenal Volcano's 'older brother'. Finish this half day walk with a refreshing swim at La Fortuna Waterfall.
The Eco Termales hot springs are a beautiful sanctuary surrounded by nature. The smallest of the hot springs in the Arenal area, Eco Termales is perfect for privacy and relaxation.
The Cano Negro refuge itself is located 25 kilometers south of Los Chiles in the northern area of the Alajuela province, approximately a two hour drive from Arenal. It has been declared a site of international importance for the nesting of migratory birds and occupies an area of 9,969 hectares in the Río Frío Basin.
Embark on a journey of exploration through the beautiful Arenal Volcano National Park, spotting unique flora and fauna along the way and learning about the activity and history of the still-active Arenal Volcano.
Drift silently along the Peñas Blancas river, which winds through lush, verdant forest, and see a huge variety of wildlife including monkeys, sloths, iguanas, tortoises, crocodiles and several types of birds.
This half-day quad bike tour combines adrenalin and adventure with incredible wildlife and tropical forest, all set within the shadow of the majestic Arenal Volcano.
Take to the water of Lake Arenal in your own kayak and explore the shores to spot a multitude of different bird species, and perhaps hear the unmistakable call of a howler monkey.