There are many things to do near Arenal Volcano. This area of Costa Rica offers hot springs, volcanoes, wildlife, and waterfalls. Arenal is located in central Costa Rica. It takes about 3 hours to drive from the San Jose International Airport. This is the first stop on this suggested two week vacation.
Things to do near Arenal volcano
Most people vacation to Arenal to relax and enjoy the natural hot springs. The majority of the hotels have hot spring fed pools. There are many off the beaten path hot springs as well but those will take a little more research to find. This is also a popular destination for birdwatching.
This is a MUST SEE when visiting Arenal Costa Rica. Stunning panoramic views can be seen from the top and they are just as amazing as the views from the bottom. There are bathrooms, gift shop, and a restaurant at the top.
Warning! Extreme leg workout!..and very cold water! It is 400 steps down to the base of the fall and then back up! At the bottom of the falls, people are all around trying to get the perfect picture. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes for climbing on the slippery rocks. Take a detour from the main attraction and let the kids play in the river before hiking back up.
Town of La Fortuna
Take a taxi into the closest town of La Fortuna. This is such a charming town buzzing with roadside sellers, tourists, and locals hanging out in the park. Barter with local farmers for their fresh produce, such as water apples! There is a small pizza joint (La Parada) in the main square that is delicious!
Our kids’ favorite thing to do in a new place is to try all the different candy and drinks. We stopped into a local market to buys a few treats and that is where we found a crate of machetes for sale!
Arenal Volcano Observatory
Learn more about the volcano at the Arenal Volcano Observatory. This is the best place to view the volcano even though it can be seen from almost anywhere within the area (weather permitting). They also offer lodging and would be a great place to stay.
Most hotel grounds offer some easy hiking trails. Coatimundis, toucans, snakes, and exotic bugs will most likely be seen while walking. We were hoping to see some monkeys, but that didn’t happen until we went to Manuel Antonio.
Where to stay
We stayed at Hotel Los Lagos for 3 nights which was loaded with naturally fed hot spring pools. Some had water slides for kids…and adults. Other pools have swim up bars for drinks and food. Then there were lots of small private hot spring pools, but good luck snatching these up before all the love birds.
The hotel also had some wildlife exhibits with crocodiles, frogs, and leaf cutter ants. There was also a quaint butterfly garden that is educational and worth strolling through. There are a lot of butterflies but nothing compares the witnessing the monarch migration in Mexico. We visited these everyday that we were here.