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Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna

Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano Overview

The Arenal volcano dominates the landscape of La Fortuna, San Carlos, Alajuela.

It is 5,358 feet tall and it has a crater that is 460 feet large.

It also has the common conical shape of a prototypical volcano, and it is known by various names, including Canaste and Pan de Azucar.

This volcano is considered to be quite young (geologically speaking); as it has an estimated age of about seven thousand years.

The Arenal volcano remained slept for a long time, until it suddenly awakened in 1968, destroying small surrounding villages.

Since then, the volcano has presented continuous activity, which has made it the main attraction in the area.

And is also the reason why La Fortuna has experienced a significant growth in its local economy.

Thanks to the arrival of foreigners who are interested in checking an active volcano; and also the other attractions this region of Costa Rica has to offer.

Getting to Arenal Volcano

The best route to La Fortuna, where the Arenal Volcano is located; is the one that follows the Pan-American Highway (the one passing Juan Santamaria International Airport).

You follow the highway until reaching the town of Naranjo; from there to Zarcero, and then straight to Ciudad Quesada (the main city of San Carlos).

Once you have arrived here, it is a 30-minute trip to La Fortuna.
There are also daily domestic flights departing from the Juan Santamaria or the Tobias Bolaños Airports.

What to Do at Arenal Volcano

The best recommendation for contemplating the Arenal Volcano in all of its magnificence; is to stay in a hotel with a good view of it.

And the reason is because the best time to watch the giant spewing lava is at night.

This shouldn’t present a difficult task for you, as the local economy is fueled by the tourism industry; and there are many good family-run small hotels and other more luxurious options.

If you’re not able to book a place with a view of the Arenal volcano, you can always arrange a nightly tour; which will take you to different observation points.

Trails of Arenal Volcano

The Arenal Volcano National Park is a place that welcomes guests on its entrance with two interesting trails; both which leads to a lookout points from where visitors can see lava flowing.

One is Las Heliconias, where you’ll find cooled lava throughout the route, and the other one is Las Coladas trail; which is 1.7 miles long and ends up in another lookout point.

There is another trail called Los Tucanes, which leads to a southern observation point,

and apart from these, there are smaller trailheads also worth checking out.

Note: Sometimes the crater is not visible as clouds might be darkening the cone; so take this into consideration when planning your visit to the park.

Ask your guide to let you know the conditions in the Arenal volcano. So you can have the chance of re-scheduling your one-day trip.

Thanks to the constant activity of the Arenal volcano, there is natural hot springs which can be visited by paying an entrance fee.

Here you can enjoy the naturally heated water (by the volcano)at artificial pools made by the locals; and if the cone of the volcano is cloudless, you will also have the chance of watching the Arenal volcano at the same time.

The Venado Caverns can be found just a short 45-minute trip from La Fortuna.
Here you’ll be able to watch different Limestone Formations such as Stalagmites and

Stalactites and of course, many bats flying in and out of the caverns. You can arrange a trip here at your hotel, and the cost can vary.

Important Numbers and Websites:

  • Municipalidad:
  • Buses: 2255-4300
  • Hospital de San Carlos: 2460-1176
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