Arenal Tours and Excursions , Costa Rica

There is a wide variety of excursions in the Arenal Volcano National Park area that include zipline canopy tours, nature hikes, whitewater rafting and river float trips, mountain biking, and farm visits.

 Arenal Mountain Biking Tour

Come bike along gently rolling forested country roads in the shadow of the imposing Arenal. This tour offers scenic vistas of forests, mountains, the lake, the volcano, and opportunities to see wildlife. It will take about 20 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 20 minutes from La Fortuna.


 Arenal Sky Tram And Skytrek

This tour offers zip lines, bird watching, and hiking. The Sky Tram is a 15-minute aerial tram tour through the rainforest to an observation deck where you will have spectacular views of the Arenal Volcano, Arenal Lake, and the Tilaran mountain range. Sky Trek is a 3,280 foot long zip line system that gives visitors an exhilarating ride and an opportunity to enjoy the rain forest with beautiful views. It takes about 30 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 45 minutes from La Fortuna.


 Arenal Hanging Bridges

The Arenal Hanging Bridges are a complex system of suspended bridges and paths built within the rainforest. These allow for the observation of flora and fauna all the way from the ground level to the top of the trees. This is one of the best methods to learn about the complexity and beauty of the rainforest. Walk the trails where you will see graceful palms and many varieties of heliconias, flowering ginger, and possibly howling monkeys, colorful forest birds, and butterflies. It takes about 45 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 30 minutes from La Fortuna.

 The Coladas Trail

The Coladas Trail begins off the main road from the park entrance and crosses an open area before rapidly reverting back to forest in front of the west flank of Arenal Volcano. It leads to a blocky lava flow that crushed its way through the area in 1992. Travelling at a rate of about 50 feet per day, the flow left an impressive pile of lava rock that rises about 60 feet high and offers a panoramic view of the surrounding forests, mountains, Lake Arenal, and Arenal Volcano itself.

 The Butterfly Garden, Frogs and Snakes in Castillo Village

With your guide, visit the different indoors wildlife attractions in Arenal area. The new tours are focused on the life history of local rainforest frogs, snakes, and butterflies. It is very interesting for children and nature lovers. Aside from the wildlife, you can visit the art galleries, gift shops, and coffee shops. Part of the proceeds from these exhibits is dedicated to research and conservation efforts!

 Finca Don Juan

Mr. Juan Bautista is a former teacher and principal living in the town of La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano National Park. He is now a local farmer who owns a small five-acre farm and uses it to show visitors how to coexist in an environmentally friendly way with the nearby rainforest. Mr. Bautista clearly understands what it means to practice sustainable agriculture as illustrated by the farming techniques he uses. He manages his farm in an exemplary manner and shares his knowledge with other farmers, school children, and university students. He grows more than 60 crop species, including native and introduced plants, and he grows medicinal plants such as Curcuma Ginger roots. Mr. Bautista explains in a very simple but fascinating way the use of every plant he finds on his farm's trails. He grows sugar cane which visitors can crush at his sugar cane mill to drink the sweet juice that it contains. Another interesting project is his bio-digester methane gas production system. He uses cow manure as a fuel source to produce methane gas for cooking fuel. After harvesting fresh produce such as cassava root, lettuce, plantains and more, the farm tour ends with a tortilla making challenge for participants and a local cuisine lunch prepared by his wife.

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 Baldi Hot Springs

Ecotermales Baldi lies east of Arenal Volcano. This hot water spa features numerous hot water pools spread out over the grounds and includes a restaurant and wet bar with music. This area is popular during vacations and weekends. The view of the volcano from Baldi is excellent, although like all area facilities, the ability to view active lava flows depends upon which area of the volcano the lava is moving at the moment and if the weather is clear. It takes about 30 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 5 minutes from La Fortuna.

 Ecotermales Fortuna Hot Springs

Located east of Arenal Volcano, the Ecotermales Fortuna Hot Springs is a small family-owned spa with four hot spring pools to relax in amidst the calm and beauty of the tropical rainforest. Filled with clean hot spring mineral water heated by the volcano, the small cascade of hot water at the pool’s end gives a great natural massage. This facility only allows 100 guests at one time to avoid being crowded. On the grounds is a quaint country restaurant where you can order a delicious, typical “home cooked” Costa Rican dinner. It takes about 30 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 45 minutes from La Fortuna.


 Tabacon Hot Springs

Tabacon Hot Springs sits at the northern base of Arenal Volcano, where the steaming waters of the Tabacon River tumble from the lava fields and cascade along the roadside. This bathing resort features natural mineral pools and hot springs set in exotic gardens. The grounds include a full restaurant, several bars, locker rooms and towels, and spa center where massages and mud pack treatments can be enjoyed. It is open between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM. It takes about 30 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 45 minutes from La Fortuna.

Please note: Costa Rican volcanologists and The National Emergency Commission have determined the safety level of the different areas and lodges around Arenal Volcano. Arenal Observatory Lodge set high on a hill and separated from the volcano by a deep river valley is in a minimal risk area. However, Tabacon Hot Springs located near the base of the volcano is in a high-risk area. This popular spa can be crowded and very noisy during peak vacation periods. Because of these conditions, we suggest visiting the Ecotermales Fortuna Hot Springs or Ecotermales Baldi Hot Springs as alternatives.

 Rio Celeste

This day trip out of the Arenal area features a fascinating natural phenomenon: a clean, clear mountain river in the foothills of Tenorio Volcano that “magically” and quickly transforms itself into a light blue “celeste” river. The river begins as a cool mountain river flowing through the lush forests of the park; however, after it passes over a white line containing volcanic chemicals on the bottom of the river, it takes on an attractive light blue color. The river also contains a beautiful waterfall that cascades into a blue lagoon containing small hot and cold water pools where one can take a refreshing dip. The hiking trail contains varied terrain and may involve crossing the river without a bridge. It takes about 2 hours driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 1 hour 30 minutes from La Fortuna.


 El Silencio Hike

The Mirador El Silencio is located in the foothills of Arenal Volcano National Park on a private farm. Visitors taking this tour can hike on one of five trails, traveling through forest, on a country road, and ending at the hill or “Mirador” (lookout) separated from Arenal Volcano by a ravine and offering a panoramic vista of old lava flows and the volcano. The principal trail goes along a farm road from the entrance and continues for almost a mile to the Mirador. Along the way, one can see a variety of tropical birds and frequently encounter howling monkeys in the trees nearby. The hilltop lookout is a safe location to view the volcano and an excellent location for seeing red lava at night when flows are descending on the northern half of the volcano. The other trails go through forest offering rich bird watching and a very good chance of encountering spider monkeys leading to the volcano lookout. It takes about 30 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 45 minutes from La Fortuna.

 La Fortuna Waterfall

The Catarata La Fortuna is a beautiful waterfall about 5 ½ kilometers from the town of La Fortuna. You can walk or horseback ride the 2-3 kilometers to the falls, which is 70 meters (200 feet) high. At the base of the waterfall, there is a natural “pool” where you can swim. The descent to the falls is very steep, along a rocky trail with a cable handrail, and ascends from the falls canyon via the same trail. It takes about 1 hour driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 15 minutes from La Fortuna.

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 Lake Arenal Fishing

Freshwater fishing on Lake Arenal by boat is available for half day fishing tours. The favorite fish of the lake is the “guapote,” the Rainbow Bass, an incredible fighter. This superb game fish can be caught with light tackle, both by casting and by fly fishing. Other lake fish include machaca, tilapia and in the dry season, Tiger Bass (“guapote pinto”). This tour is catch & release only. This tour is available year round. It takes about 20 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 20 minutes from La Fortuna.

 Rio Frio Fishing

This full-day boat fishing tour begins with a pre-dawn pick up at your La Fortuna area hotel. You will arrive on the Rio Frio River near the Nicaraguan border at dawn, about 6:00am. The favorite fish at this destination tends to be the tough fighting Tarpon (Sabalo Real). Gar fish (gaspar) and the small Tiger Bass (guapote pinto) are also popular game fish in the river. This tour is catch & release only. The return time to your La Fortuna hotel is around 4:00pm. It takes about 2 hours driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 1 hour 30 minutes from La Fortuna.

 Pure Trek Canyoning

You will trek through the forest on trails that lead to some of the most spectacular waterfalls in Costa Rica, a place very few people get to experience. Along the way you will have the chance to discover the secrets that lie hidden deep within the canyon.

Your trip begins with a 30-minute 4x4 drive into the tropical rainforest outside the town of La Fortuna, in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano. From the first waterfall you will rappel from the top into the beautiful and pristine canyon below. The adventure includes five rappels, four of which are along waterfalls and one on a dry rock face. After just a short trek out of the canyon, we will jump back in the vehicles and head back to the base camp. Lunch is included.

 Rafting Rio Balsa

Located only 45 minutes from La Fortuna, the Rio Balsa offers exciting whitewater action very close to the Arenal Volcano. The river banks are full of birds, rainforest wildlife, and views of the Volcano. This is an ideal half-day trip for those with a sense of adventure on beautiful class 2-3 rolling rapids. Although no previous experience is required, you should know how to swim. It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 45 minutes from La Fortuna.

 Rafting Rio Toro

You will be picked up in the morning from your hotel to begin this trip. The put-in on the river is only a 1 hour drive from La Fortuna, and after a short briefing and safety talk, you will proceed down the river.

The Río Toro explodes with a series of over 45 continuous class 3-4 rapids, along more than 16 kilometers of deep-canyon gorges and waterfalls. Along this section you may see sloths, monkeys, and tropical birds. We will stop along the way for a tropical fruit break. After take out, enjoy a typical Costa Rican “casado” lunch. You will return to your hotel in the Arenal Area in the late afternoon. It takes about 1 hour 30 minutes driving from the Arenal Observatory Lodge and 1 hour from La Fortuna.

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Arenal Tours and Excursions

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Travel Tips
Snacks such as nuts, granola, or jerky go a long way, whether for the airplane journey or to share with guides or new friends.
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