Best Things to do at Arenal Volcano

TopTen Quick List: Hot Springs | Rafting | Canyoning | Hanging Bridges | La Fortuna Waterfall | Safari Float | Cerro Chato | Arenal Volcano Hike | Venado Caves | Lake Arenal

The most difficult part of writing a top 10 list of things to do at Arenal Volcano is limiting it to only ten!  There are so many activities, points of interest and beautiful places in this area that narrowing down the list took longer than writing the article!  Take a look, enjoy, and share your favorite things to do at Arenal in the comments section below.

Top Ten Things to do at Arenal

Wash the day away at the hot springs

Arenal Volcano Hot Springs
Quite possibly the most popular attraction in Costa Rica, the hot springs at the base of Arenal Volcano provide a soothing and relaxing way to reflect on the day’s adventures. There are hot springs for every budget, starting with the free springs at Tabaconcito and all the way up to the luxurious Tabacon hot springs in the photo above.


Whitewater rafting for beginners or old pros

Whitewater rafting at Arenal Volcano
There are many great whitewater rafting rivers in Costa Rica, but no other area boasts the variety of rivers that Arenal does.  Adventurers can raft everything from class II – V rapids on four different rivers in the Arenal area. The class II and III Rio Balsa in the photo above, is the most popular and only 20 minutes from town.

Step out of your comfort zone on a canyoning adventure

Canyoning at Arenal Volcano
If you like adventure and waterfalls, you’ll love canyoning!  Imagine rappelling down rainforest waterfalls and scrambling through a jungle lined stream bed!  There are several awesome courses in town to choose from including the La Roca course featured in the photo above.

Explore the rainforest canopy at Arenal Hanging Bridges

Arenal Hanging Bridges
Over 75% of the wildlife in Costa Rica lives in the rainforest canopy and there’s no better way to explore it than at the Arenal Hanging Bridges. A short 20 minutes drive from town will bring you to this jungle lined hillside where monkeys, sloths, and exotic birds are spotted daily.

Take a swim beneath La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall
You’ll have to make your way down several hundred steps through the jungle to reach the base of La Fortuna Waterfall, but you’ll be rewarded with a refreshing and incredibly scenic swimming hole beneath the towering 75 meters waterfall.  Just keep in mind that what goes down must come back up!

Go on a safari float tour on the Rio Penas Blancas

Safari Float
If you’re looking for a fun alternative to walking through the jungle in search of wildlife, try a safari float on the Rio Penas Blancas.  The tour will take you on a whitewater rafting boat on class I (not really) rapids to spot wildlife on the rivers edge.  Locals often refer to this excursion as the “monkey tour” as you’re all but guaranteed to see them.

Go on an extreme hike to the crater of the extinct volcano, Cerro Chato

Cerro Chato
Located next to Arenal Volcano, the extinct volcano, Cerro Chato provides a challenging and muddy hike to the mesmerizing green lagoon crater lake. To top it off, on clear days, you’ll be treated to amazing views of Arenal Volcano from the top.

Take an easier hike at the base of Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano Hike
There are several groomed trails to choose from at the base of Arenal Volcano that lead to old lava flows or through rainforest.  While the main focus of these hikes is the natural history of the volcano, you’ll have pretty good odds of spotting wildlife such as monkeys, toucans, peccaries, iguanas, or tayras.

Go spelunking at the Venado Caves

Venado Caves
The limestone caverns of nearby Venado provide a fascinating way to discover spelunking on a half day trip.  You’ll see and learn about stalactites, stalagmites, fossils, and cavern dwelling critters including quite a few bats!




Enjoy the beauty of Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal
The beauty of Arenal Volcano is only matched by the lagoon of the same name.  Lake Arenal is surrounded by gorgeous emerald green hillsides providing one of the most picturesque landscapes in Central America.  Plan on spending a few hours making your way around the lake stopping at local art galleries, European influenced restaurants, the German Bakery, and other local points of interest.















Honorable Mentions

Strolling around La Fortuna – One of the coolest little towns in Costa Rica, La Fortuna offers many restaurants, shops, night life, internet cafes, and more.

Canopy zipline – With seven different zipline courses at all price points, speeds, lengths, and heights, Arenal is one of the best places in Costa Rica for this thrilling adventure activity.

Sport fishing on Lake Arenal – Bass fishermen beware!  Lake Arenal is home to lunker-size Guapote (aka: Rainbow Bass).

Horseback riding – Saddle up for a ride to either La Fortuna Waterfalls or the base of Arenal Volcano.  Several operators offer horseback rides to these top attractions on well-cared for, healthy horses.

Eco Centro Danaus – Located on three hectares of natural terrain, Eco Centro Danaus is a nice stop for nature lovers.  Visitors will have a good chance of observing sloths, caimans, toucans, frogs and more.

Whitewater tubing the Rio Arenal – Originating at the Lake Arenal Dam, the Rio Arenal snakes it’s way through a scenic canyon behind the resorts and town of La Fortuna.  There are several operators, including the Club del Rio at The Springs Resort, that will take you on an unforgettable tubing adventure along several stretches of this gorgeous river.

Arenal Oasis Night Walk – This is the tour to take if you want to get up close and personal with some of Costa Rica’s most colorful amphibians!  You are all but guaranteed to walk away with photos of red eyed leaf frogs, glass frogs, and a poison dart frog or two.

….And there are plenty  more things to do at Arenal Volcano!  Use the comments box below to share your favorite activities.



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