1. Weather: The Arenal Volcano is over 6,000 feet high… but you will be staying at less than a 1000 feet above sea level. So it is pretty warm… and humid. Every now and then the volcano gets a cloud over it and it is completely covered…. almost as if there was nothing where it is… Every now and then there are thunderstorms and lightning and pouring rains. Nevertheless, the rain forest is spectacular and requires this weather to be as amazing as it is.
2. Hotels: Once, when working as a product manager, I had to stay for a month in the area of Arenal. One hotel per night… and I didn’t cover them all! There are a lot of hotels in the area, good, bad, ugly… and magnificent. There are some that are pretty isolated, some that are a theme park themselves, and some that you simply don’t want to leave, not even for a great tour for the day. Ask your travel consultant about them according to your needs and wishes.
3. Tours When the travel industry started in Arenal, there was a magnificent volcano with periodic and fantastic eruptions and endless cattle fields. That was it. Nowadays the volcano has a bit of smoke coming out of the main crater but the area has become a huge amusement park with all sorts of adventures to do, trails to hike and things to learn in cultural tours… and maybe… if lucky, you might get to see the amazing volcano. A longer stay in Arenal in order to see a little of all it has to offer is almost compulsory.
4. Transportation The roads coming to the Arenal area are both paved and in very good condition. Either if you are coming from San Jose or, you are coming from Liberia, both roads are in very good conditions. However… they are winding… really winding! And every now and then, the road coming from San Jose gets foggy. Very foggy. Our recommendation is, if possible pay for the transportation, a shuttle bus or hire a driver to take you there (If you are renting a car).
5. The rainforest: Arenal area has one of the most biodiverse rainforests of Costa Rica. It is worth it to pay a visit or two… or three! Either a hike on trails, or a walk on hanging bridges… You simply have to see it! And enjoy every single minute in it.
6. Birdwatching: In the area of Arenal there are literally speaking dozens of fantastic targets such as tanagers, cotingas, manakins, honey creepers, hawks and several species of owls including the great and the common potoos. Any birdwatcher would stay here for weeks to see it all!
7. Hot Springs: Like hotels, there are several choices. And lots of the hotels have their own hot springs. My recommendation is, if it is important for you to enjoy the relaxation of the warm waters… go for a hotel that has their own pools. And there are several choices. The tours to the hot springs are a great choice if you don’t have the option at your hotel. Sometimes, though, a bit crowded…
Now.. there is something else that you should know about hot springs in Arenal… The time to get in! … As said previously in this article Arenal is hot and humid, so if you plan to be the whole day in the pools… ahmm no. The best time to get in the hot springs is after 4:00 p.m. At this time of day the temperature is cooler and there is a nice breeze or a gentle rain… and if you are coming back from a rafting, a canyoning or a canopy tour… Wow! It is an unbelievable pleasure to get in!
There is much more to this area! From yoga to horseback… there is a bit for everyone, ask any of our consultants… they are experts in it and you will feel the difference!
Written by Olga Sáenz-Carbonell for Camino Travel