Considered by many to be one of the most spectacular regions in the country, the Northern Lowlands and Volcan Arenal area are Costa Rica’s hottest tourist destinations. The Arenal Volcano is one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world and presents a truly majestic sight, as it spews molten rocks and ash from its summit on a daily basis. With regular eruptions, you can hear the rumbling and see steam rising as lava flows down the sides of the volcano.
Arenal Volcano in the Morning Light
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One of the best places to take in the Arenal Volcano’s awe-inspiring fireworks is at La Fortuna, a tiny town located near the foot of the volcano. The prefect place to kickback and enjoy the area’s superb beauty, La Fortuna is a touristy place that retains much of its original Tico charm. There are also many natural hot springs here as well as resorts where one can pamper themselves taking a long relaxing soak amidst beautiful orchid gardens.
Spoil yourself at the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort or at any of the surrounding spas in the area for an unbelievable time. And once nightfall sets in, you are treated to a glorious show as red lava rocks tumble down the side of the volcano. As the Arenal erupts so often, you can get surprisingly close to the volcano. However, do not attempt to climb it as the gases from the volcano are fatal.
Across from the Arenal sits the sparkling Laguna de Arenal, a delight for sports fishermen and avid windsurf enthusiasts. One of the best places in the world to go windsurfing as the breeze here is very consistent, this lake transforms into a windsurfer’s paradise from December to April with an unbelievable view of the Arenal in the distance. This lake is also home to many freshwater fish including the Rainbow bass locally known as guapote that can weight up to 4 kg.
For nature lovers, the Arenal region also offers numerous hiking and trekking trails near the volcano where one can see some stunning waterfalls, gushing rivers, and beautiful plant and wildlife. Just north of this area lies the Caño Negro Nature Reserve that is also definitely worth a visit. You can arrange a trip from either Nuevo Arenal or Tilaran, which offer all day tours, where you board a bus and get transported to the river, from where you head downstream along with the guide to see a plethora of animals and birds, including monkeys, toucans, alligators, and much more.