Right in our back yard, Arenal Volcano National Park provides visitors with breathtaking views of the largely untouched natural beauty of Costa Rica.
Home to two volcanoes – both the dormant Chato Volcano and Costa Rica’s most active volcano, Arenal – the park offers visitors the opportunity to view scenic vistas of the still-flowing lava from Arenal to the west. Several trails in the park allow visitors to see the lava fields from previous eruptions up close, providing a unique chance to see the aftermath of lava flows in person.
Other paths allow guests to trek to the collapsed crater at Chato Volcano that is now home to a beautiful lagoon. At the summit, visitors are able to view the emerald waters of the filled-in crater. The mineral contents of the water make it unsuitable for swimming, but the view is a reward of its own. It is also important to note that the trails approaching the crater are steep, and the park’s website advises that they only be tackled by hikers in good physical condition.
Situated at the foot of its namesake volcano, Lake Arenal is Costa Rica’s largest landlocked body of water. The lake offers fishing, swimming, kayaking and windsurfing opportunities for guests. With steady and reliable winds, the lake is an ideal destination for windsurfing.
Many different animal species inhabit the park - from tapirs, monkeys and snakes to tropical orioles and parrots - the forest houses a colorful collection of wildlife to observe.
The park is also home to some of Costa Rica’s renewable power sources. Lake Arenal was dammed in the 1970s, and now is responsible for the generation of more than 12 percent of the nation’s power. The lake’s west shores are home to an array of wind farms, while to the east the Miravalles Volcano Geothermic Plant generates power from the activity of the Arenal Volcano.
With so much to do, see and experience, the Arenal Volcano National Park should rest comfortably at the top of your list of must-see sites in Costa Rica. For more information on the Arenal region, check out our information page on the area here.