Soar through the skies in a hot air balloon

Hot air balloon rides near Arenal
Hot air balloon rides near Arenal

A leisurely ride in a hot air balloon offers visitors to Costa Rica a relaxing yet exciting way to experience the lush landscape of the country from an entirely new perspective.

When it All Began

The hot air balloon was first created in 1783 in Paris, France, where it became the first device able to successfully take people to the skies. Since then, the hot air balloon has become a staple of recreation around the world, allowing passengers to gaze down over the natural landscape as they float slowly along with the wind.

Where to Practice

You can experience flying in a hot air balloon in Costa Rica about 20 miles east of Arenal Volcano, near Muelle de San Carlos. Costa Rica is such a unique place to ride in a hot air balloon where you can hover over dense rainforests filled with birds and animals. You will be able to see all the life above the canopy of the forest, something a canopy tour cannot even offer.

The first step of a hot air balloon journey is the inflating of the balloon itself, which typically takes around 30-45 minutes. Passengers on such a trip can enjoy watching their colorful balloon slowly come to life as it fills with heated air. Balloons usually take off at dawn due to climate restrictions, allowing travelers to view a picturesque sunrise from high in the sky.

Once inflated, hot air balloons are free to explore the countryside as they fly through the skies. Tourists who go on a hot air balloon tour can experience the beauty of the Costa Rican environment from the comfort of their balloon's basket. Some hot air balloons get so close to the treetops in the rainforest that passengers can see monkeys playing in trees' upper branches, while others fly low enough to skim the waters of rushing rivers.If the weather is right, other balloons rise high enough that they can see fiery eruptions of the majestic Arenal Volcano.


When preparing to ride in a hot air balloon, travelers should make sure that they wear sunglasses and a hat to protect themselves from the sun. They should also wear long pants to protect their legs, as they may have to disembark from the balloon in tall grass. Clothing worn on a hot air balloon trip should also dry quickly, as passengers often get wet during their journey.

Safety First

Safety during a hot air balloon voyage is never a concern, as all balloons are frequently subjected to inspections to make sure that they are in accordance with guidelines set forth by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Additionally, hot air balloons are typically piloted by people who have received their balloon license from either the FAA or the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).