For the first time traveler to Costa Rica, our experts nearly always recommend a visit to the Arenal Volcano. For those looking for an adventure vacation, it’s a must. The commanding presence of the volcano and surrounding secondary rainforest foliage is the perfect backdrop for adrenaline junkies in search of their next rush. In 2010, the Arenal Volcano stopped erupting. Perhaps this is the reason tour companies and hoteliers lined up in droves to give travelers access to this tropical amusement park. The result? Now the variety of hotel accommodations and activities available make this a viable vacation destination for everyone.
What is there to do at Arenal?
The volcano may not be located near the ocean, but it still has the widest range of tour options available in the country. One of our favorite zip line tours in Costa Rica can be done in Arenal with incredible sweeping views of the volcano and rainforest below. Some will advise that this is a tour that only needs to be tried once. But if you’re an adrenaline junkie like me, this is an adventure to experience over and over. Check out my latest zip line excursion for yourself on YouTube.
A hanging bridges hike should also be on your to-do list. This is the kind of stuff you see in the movies. Tarzan trekking through the forest looking for Jane… Okay, maybe not, but you may very well see monkeys and almost definitely wildlife. I would personally recommend doing this hike in the early morning. While getting up at day break may not be your idea of a vacation, there is nothing like an early morning sunrise over the volcano. You’ll also likely be the first ones on the trails giving you a better opportunity to spot wildlife.
Expert Recommendation: You can combine a hanging bridges tour with an evening soaking in the Arenal hot springs. The perfect adventure and relaxation combo!
This leads to another favorite, the Arenal hot springs. These volcano-fed thermal pools give you the feeling that you’re swimming in your own private pool in the middle of the jungle. The only major difference? You can jump out and ask your server for a cocktail! If this all sounds too good to be true, you don’t have to limit this experience to just one day. Of the numerous hot springs in Arenal, some of them are located on resort properties. The Springs Resort & Tabacon both allow guests unlimited relaxation in their thermal pools during their stay. So you can have your cake and eat it too. Exploration by day, relaxation by night.
More Arenal Adventure Activities
In all actuality, this is only the tip of iceberg or in this case, the volcano. If you’re interested in learning more about what Arenal has to offer, read more on our Arenal Volcano Destination Guide.
For adventure travel ideas, check out our Adventure Vacations.