Arenal Volcano National Park
Let the wonder of the Arenal volcano enchant you as you explore this spectacular national park in the heart of charismatic Costa Rica. This beautiful park is home to two incredible volcanoes, as well as a variety of plant and animal species, so nature lovers are guaranteed to find an idyllic eco-tourist experience. From a breath-taking lagoon in the dormant Chato Volcano, to the smouldering pools in the 1633 metre Arenal volcano – this national park is a fundamental piece of Costa Rica’s wonder.
The explosive history of the volcanoes
As mentioned above, the Arenal Volcano National Park is actually home to two volcanoes. The Chato Volcano is now dormant and last erupted over 3 500 years ago. However, the collapsed crater of the volcano now boasts a beautiful lagoon. The much taller volcano of the two; and the name sake of the reserve is the Arenal Volcano. The Arenal remains active to this day and from the 29th of July in 1968 until 1973 it was considered the most active crater, after it started emitting lava during that same time period.
When the first eruption of Crater A occurred, the flow of toxic gas and hot rocks spread over 12 kilometres and caused a catastrophe in the towns of Pueblo Neuvo and Tabacón, killing 87 people. Luckily, after 1973 the volcanic activity moved to Crater C which remains active to this day. This active volcano offers incredible sights with cinder blocks and smoke clouds during the day, with red hot lava spilling over the side glowing under the night sky. Volcanic activity is now very closely monitored, ensuring locals and visitors are all as safe as possible.
What to see in the reserve?
While the volcanoes in the park are truly spectacular, they are not the only must-see sights of the region. Visitors should make sure they take a moment to absorb the beauty of the Arenal Lake, which just so happens to provide Costa Rica with 12% of the country’s hydro electric energy.
If you are looking forward to walking along the lovely trails, you can rest assured that beautiful forestry and a variety of wildlife sightings await. Keep your eyes open for deer, tapir, monkeys and exotic snakes. In the swaying palm trees overhead, you’ll be spoilt for choice when spotting colourful parrots, magpies and orioles.
Things to do in and around the Arenal Volcano National Park
Take a walk along the historic path of the Arenal National Park, discover the natural thrill of overlooking a smouldering volcano or absorb the beauty of the hot springs in the region. Explore the cloud forest or become an avid bird watcher in the throes of exquisite natural beauty – no matter what adventure gets you going, you will be spoilt for choice in Costa Rica. From hanging rope bridges to horseback riding through the La Fortuna Waterfall and treks through the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, everything you need for an awesome experience is well within reach!
Accomodation in the Arenal Volcano Park region
There are a variety of hotels a short drive away, as well as in the park itself. You can choose between rustic Costa Rican lodges and a variety of hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts. Whether you are looking for quiet comfort or would like to splurge on luxury with a view, the region in and surrounding the reserve will have something that will have you feeling right at home from the moment you arrive.