The area around Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake, and La Fortuna is proof that you don’t need a sandy beach to enjoy a tropical country. We had the lovely opportunity to visit this gem of an area a few weeks ago and I can’t believe it took me so many years to go back!
Let me tell you what is special about this area. It’s beautiful, for one thing. There’s just so many different views to enjoy. We were lucky to enjoy clear skies and sun during the whole trip, which is a real treat, and meant that we got to see the majestic Arenal Volcano from all sides.
Imagine driving down the road and seeing this little cone silhouetting the horizon. That’s Arenal Volcano. As you drive through La Fortuna, it looms in the near distance. The commute between the tours and our hotel was graced by the presence of this big green and blue beauty flashing between patches of trees and open fields. It peeked over the rainforest in front of our hotel at Casa Luna, welcoming us to enjoy our stay.
We had the opportunity to go out on Arenal Lake by boat, where we got as close as we could to the base of the volcano. That was one of my favorite views. We could see every texture of trees and hardened lava and rock on its sides, reflected back at us in the calm water of the lake. There was even a little trickle of smoke from its summit. We could hear birds, frogs, and crickets singing from the marsh between the lake and the mountain. It smelled green and fresh.
At the time, I thought to myself that the volcano couldn’t get any more beautiful than from there. I was proven wrong about an hour later as the boat tour was coming to an end and the sun was setting. The sunset was breathtaking. It was marvelous. Gorgeous.
The sky lit up with flames of yellow, pink, peach, and orange. The reflection on the lake somehow concentrated this color, spreading right up to the edge of our boat with gold and orange highlights. Arenal Volcano shifted from blue to purple in the distance and a patch of lightning from a far off storm flashed in the pink clouds. This level of beauty was so magical that you might just have to see it to believe it. It was probably one of the most beautiful things I have seen in all my time traveling Costa Rica.
Now, it would be unfair to rant and rave about how amazing Arenal Volcano is without acknowledging that this mighty mountain often likes to hide itself behind clouds, especially when it is raining. It was like that for most of the trip the last time I went. Don’t worry. You just have to keep an eye out for the clouds to shift.
Besides, the volcano isn’t the only special thing about the La Fortuna area. The town itself has a lot to do, from delicious restaurants to fun bars and clubs, and interesting shops. There is an impressive variety of tours you can take, as well. This last time, I enjoyed the boat tour, a sloth tour (where I got to see seven sloths, including two babies, all in their natural habitats), and a farm tour that impressed me so much, I actually wrote a whole story about it.
We didn’t have a chance to do these other tours this time, but there are also lots of options for hikes and horseback riding around the base of Arenal volcano, canopy zip lining, and white water rafting. One of the things that makes the La Fortuna area a perfect vacation destination is that it puts you in close range for almost all of the activities located in the Northern Central area of Costa Rica.
I had a wonderful time staying at Casa Luna hotel and experiencing as much as I could of the area. It seems incredible that we were able to do so much in just a few days, but that’s Arenal for you! I’ll definitely make sure it isn’t years before the next time I visit this special area.