Destinations
Holiday Ideas
  • Travel Style
  • Interests and Activities
  • Tour Ideas by Month
  • Continents and Regions

Arenal Volcano National Park

Costa Rica Travel Guide

Practical information about Arenal Volcano National Park

  • Spa and massage
  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Viewpoint
  • Volcano
  • Essential
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
5 hours by bus from San Jose
When to go
From December to April
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of Arenal Volcano National Park

Eva Martin Travel writer
181 travel articles

The volcano with five craters, an iconic Costa Rican landmark and a must see for all nature lovers.

My suggestion:
Don’t bother with trips where hiking, visiting the volcano/thermal springs are rolled in to one and you risk finding yourself stuck with a horde of noisy tourists. Visiting these places with a small group will mean that you feel far closer to nature.
Summary:

I had an amazing time when I visited the Arenal Volcano National Park. Here, biodiversity really comes in to its own. By heading into its lush, tropical rainforest, you'll find a variety of rare plant species, whose colorful hues would make a Pantone chart turn green with envy. As for the local wildlife, I came across tapirs, hummingbirds, sloths and the legendary howler monkeys. Some of you may be lucky enough to also see a quetzal (which, unfortunately, I didn’t)!

The final highlight of the visit was reaching the majestic peak of the volcano. A near perfectly formed cone that makes you want to stay for a while, accompanied, maybe, by a little aperitif with banana chips on the side. Having been dormant since 2010, you won’t, however, be able to witness the impressive sight of flowing lava, which is so often featured on postcards. But that doesn't matter; the unparalleled, stunning sunset will make up for it. An unforgettable experience is waiting for you!

Alicia Munoz Travel writer
87 travel articles

The Arenal volcano is an active composite volcano situated in the Alajuela region (north west), with a summit of 1,633 meters. The National Park which surrounds it is incredibly rich. 

My suggestion:
Stay in the Observatory which is at the foot of the volcano and has rooms with a view of the volcanic cone. With a bit of luck you will see a lava jet from your bedroom or hear an explosion...
Summary:

Situated on the meeting place of 3 tectonic plates, Costa Rica has 116 volcanoes of which 7 are still active. The land has been shaped over thousands of years by all this volcanic activity, making Costa Rica a worthy member of the "Pacific Ring of Fire".

You don't need to be a volcanologist to appreciate the splendor of these fire giants. During my stay in Costa Rica, I found Arenal even more astonishing and impressive because not only is it constantly active but it's surrounded by magnificent primary and secondary rain forest. This forest is home to a rich biodiversity: 75% of the 850 bird species of Costa Rica live in this area.

If, like me, you want to get out of the tropical forest, the village of Fortuna, 7 kilometers to the north east, is also worth a trip. It has a large choice of places to stay and eat.

Tours and travel ideas Arenal Volcano National Park