The Arenal Volcano is one of the most active volcanos of the world, and surprisingly, many people don´t know this! It is one of the tourist’s top destinations in Costa Rica, and there is much to do there apart from admiring the volcano. Indeed, Arenal has it all: hot springs, windsurfing, kayaking, horse riding, hiking, sports fishing, waterfalls, cycling, spa…What else does one need to have a good time, if only for the spectacular show that the Arenal is offering us on a daily basis.
The sight of the majestic Volcano, with its impressive cone emerging from the lake is always breathtaking. In 1988 there was a huge eruption resulting in the volcano enlarging 3 times its size! Arenal´s huge columns of ash and showers of red rocks and rivers of lava are well worth the trip just for themselves. Years ago, I was lucky enough to be there for New Years Eve, I was blessed with a formidable eruption, this under the clearest milky way I had ever seen, with shooting stars as the icing on the cake! An unforgettable night indeed!
There was originally a small lake that emptied into the Arenal River; but in 1970 the ICE, the Costa Rican electric company, built a dam that is the biggest hydroelectric project of the country producing over 7% of its electric power.
In the old days people usually stayed in La Fortuna, but there are so many hotels there today that trying to recommend a few proves an impossible task! Los Lagos is probably still one of the better ones though! There are also many hot springs to choose from: Tabacon are the original ones, you also have the Eco Thermales Hot Springs, the Baldi Hot Springs and Los Perdidos Hot Springs. Many hotels have hot springs on their grounds as well.
Food is also easy to find in the Arenal area, indeed most hotels offer gourmet cuisine, La Fortuna has a good variety of restaurants and bars, but if you want to drive around the lake and explore, you are sure to come across some good surprises. Try Don Rufino, The Lava Lounge and El Novillo de Arenal.
Costa Rica is best known for its beautiful, untouched beauty and the Arenal Volcano is not only one of the most active of the world, it is an awesome volcano and it is both a treat and a thrill to be lucky enough to experience its thundering eruptions.