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.

 Arenal Hanging Bridges Night Walk

This evening enjoy a guided Night Hike along the trails of the Arenal Hanging Bridges. Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park offers its guests the opportunity to observe the forest in the dark of the night with the Mistico Rainforest Night Walk. The tour takes place in the forest trails and passing through the hanging bridges. The primary forest at night offers a completely different experience compared to what is possible to experience during the day. Costa Rica currently makes up 5% of the biodiversity of the world and allows visitors to have a rich observation of species in its forest reserves. If we compare, for example, the population of butterflies we find that more than 2,000 species of butterflies are diurnal and 4,500 nocturnal. That is more than twice! Something similar happens with the activity of some amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and some species of exotic flowers that only bloom at night. It is also possible to observe animals as frogs, snakes, lizards, mammals such as Kinkajou, coati, caucel or margays, nocturnal birds such as the owl and the barn owl.

 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.

 Spider Monkey Canyoning Tour

Rappel off waterfalls, glide with zip lines through a canyon, jump into cool river pools and/or swim for a refreshing experience. This unique adventure starts with a short drop for a wet landing to get your adrenaline running, continue to the hanging bridge for a great view of the forest canopy. The next rappel is an adrenaline pumping freefall! The tour ends with a walk down a shallow lazy river to your exit point where fresh fruits and drinks await! Bring: water shoes, comfortable fast drying clothes, change of clothes, insect repellent and sunscreen. Includes equipment, local guide and entrance fee.

 Sarapiqui River Whitewater Rafting

On arrival enjoy a Class II-III White Water Rafting Tour at Sarapiquí River, including equipment, local river guide, fruits and Lunch. The Sarapiquí River descends from the central mountains into the Caribbean lowlands passing through lush rainforests and farmlands. This river section is a gentle Class II-III, with sections of flat water and small white water rapids that are fun but safe for rafters with no previous experience. The rafts are for 4 to 6 passengers and guide, and are followed by safety kayakers. The tour will stop at a swimming spot en route where fresh fruits are served. After the tour, you will be driven back to the starting point where you can take a shower and change to dry clothes. Bring shorts or swimming suits, sunscreen, secure footwear that can get wet and change of clothing.

 Danaus Ecocenter

Danaus biological reserve, east of the town of La Fortuna, near Arenal Volcano National Park is a model of conservation. Once open farmland, this reserve has been allowed to revert back to forest and now teems with wildlife. A main trail winds through the forest, where visitors can see a number of the 154 bird species recorded here, including cobalt-blue red-legged honeycreepers. The main trail passes by a small lake, where boat-billed herons and alligator-like caiman reside. Several slow-moving sloths live here too. Tiny native red poison dart frogs can be seen in a little forest ranario (frog farm) and many different species of butterflies flit about the reserve. A nursery on the property propagates native trees for reforestation.

 Arenal Vida Campesina Organic Farm

Arenal Vida Campesina lets you experience life in the Costa Rican countryside with a farming family that grow typical crops and are practicing newer sustainable agricultural techniques. The tour begins with a demonstration of sugarcane juice production using a manually-operated sugar mill. Then continue into the cultivated sections of the farm where visitors will see and learn about common Costa Rican crops such as coffee, bananas, plantains, sugar cane, etc. Also on the farm are various animals, whose organic waste is converted to biogas and an organic foliar fertilizer. At the end of the tour, you will enjoy a traditional lunch with freshly harvested vegetables. Lunch includes a hands-on demonstration on tortilla making!

 Peñas Blancas River Safari Float

Your day of adventure and cultural immersion begins on the Peñas Blancas River Safari Float, the perfect spot for everyone from the very youngest to the very oldest nature lover to get close enough and hear the sounds of the wildlife. After a short drive from La Fortuna to the river dock, your guide will supply life jackets and help you aboard the raft for your two-hour float down the Peñas Blancas River. On this relaxing float down the River, you will move slowly and stealthily so you won’t disturb the ambiance, which greatly improves your chances of seeing the abundant life that inhabit the area, including Monkeys, the Long-Nosed bat, iguanas, Jesus Christ lizards, owls and much more wildlife. After returning to the dock, you will depart for the Doña Mara Tortilla Making Experience, and visit the a local family. You will be welcomed with a tropical drink (pineapple, orange and coconut water) at the "rancho" and enjoy a delicious typical lunch prepared on Doña Mara’s rustic wood-fired stove. While lunch is cooking, you will get an opportunity to try your hand at making tortillas from freshly ground corn “masa.” You will learn how to flatten the dough into perfect circles, ready for cooking – and for the best part – you will get to enjoy the fresh home-made tortillas served with lunch!

 Arenal Rainforest Chocolate Tour

With the view of the majestic Arenal Volcano, enjoy the sweetest rainforest experience, discovering the ancient secrets of chocolate: from its discovery and use, to the processing of the product we know and enjoy today. Considered as a gift of the Gods, the cacao tree was very important to the ancient culture, it was not only used as a ceremonial drink, but its seeds were also used as currency because of its economic value. In this 2 hours hands on program, you will have the opportunity to learn interesting aspects of cocoa and chocolate participating in all the production process, from the harvesting of the fruit, drying and grinding of the seed, also the developing of the traditional drink of our ancestors.

 Maleku Indigenous Reserve

The Maleku Indian Reserve is located in the northern region of Costa Rica. The reserve is home to three different towns, known as Palenques Margarita, Tonjibe y El Sol, all within the 2993 hectare territory. The population is 1000, and 80% speak the native dialect called MalekuJaica. The purpose of this tour is to allow us to learn the way of life of these indigenous groups in the present day and what they have done to keep their customs and traditions alive. After a 1 hour drive from La Fortuna, through the northern plains, we will arrive at the Indigenous community Palenque Tonjibe and be warmly received by their people. After a short presentation, we will begin a hike through the village to observe many important aspects of this special place, such as the way they bury their dead, the antique type of home structures, and their art work and craftsmanship which currently provide a means of income, the use of cocoa in their farming, and the creation of their clothing. Later we will continue our hike through a trail in the forest in order to learn about medicinal plants that our ancestors used, and how they are currently benefitting from them. Here we will also observe some antique HUACAS or indigenous tombs. Finally we will pass through a Palenque were we will be treated to a dance presentation with dialogue in the native Maleku language and customary dress, followed by a traditional Maleku meal.

 Arenal Observatory Lodge Nature Hike

Arenal Observatory Lodge lies in the heart of one of Costa Rica’s largest natural areas. Howler monkeys call from the forest and the rich volcanic soil supports primary and secondary rainforest teeming with butterflies, mammals, reptiles and 400 species of birds. Seven miles of manicured, well-marked walking, bike and horseback riding trail system traverses the property and provides safe, easy access to breathtaking natural beauty. The trails are never crowded. There is a hanging bridge, waterfall, Cerro Chato crater lake or hardened lava flow to explore! Your guide will help interpret the lush landscape and stop along the way to discuss the volcano, flora and fauna.

 Sky Wild Biking and Kayaking

Sky Wild Bikes provides high quality bikes with excellent suspension. The tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours, on a 13-kilometer tour along the Arenal Lake. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the area, the adventure of crossing rivers and enjoying the peace of nature.

Nature, freedom and emotion come together to take the scenic beauty of the area on Wild Sky Kayaks. Experience the scenic and beautiful Arenal Lake from the unique perspective of a kayak. This tour gives you the opportunity to do a trip across lake on a personal or double kayak. The tour is conducted with a naturalistic guide. Your guide will teach you the history of the town of Arenal, its culture, ecosystem, ecology, geology, and natural and human history along the way. Paddling with the prevailing winds and currents will allow you to explore and have fun. The scenery is remarkable!

 Asis Wildlife Rescue Center

The tour begins with an explanation of the importance of the center’s goal of preserving wildlife populations in the face of illegal hunting and natural habitat destruction. Asis works with non-profit organizations and environmental agencies to save animals, return them to the forest, and educate the public about multiple species in danger of extinction. After the introduction, you will walk the trails around the facilities, learning about the animals and where they come from. Afterwards you will have the chance to do some volunteer work with the rescued animals! Includes naturalist guide and entrance fee.

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Arenal Tours and Excursions

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Pack as little as possible and wear layers when travelling.
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