See the natural side of Costa Rica at Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano Smoking
Arenal Volcano Smoking

Travelers heading to Costa Rica have plenty to explore in the Central American paradise. Yet while sipping tropical drinks on an idyllic beach or shopping in the streets of San Jose may sound like the perfect holiday to some, more adventurous travelers like to get away from cities and see some of the natural wonders that the small nation has to offer. For those travelers seeking a bit of excitement on their vacation while witnessing one of the most beautiful and unique sites in the country, the Arenal Volcano National Park may be the ultimate destination.

Active Arenal

Located near the small town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano is an active andesitic stratovolcano, meaning it has formed into a large cone shape from years of hardened lava and volcanic ash buildup. Though very young by geological standards (only 7,000 years old), Arenal used to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world until 2010, erupting an average of 41 times a day, much to the delight of the scientific community and local tourists. Today the volcano is still considered active but there have been no visible eruptions however it is still very much alive with gas coming out of the crater and the temperature of the surrounding hot springs remaining just as hot as years back.

Boasting a crater 460-feet across and a height of 1670 meters (5479 feet), the volcano is a significant landmark in Northern Costa Rica, and can be seen for miles around. This was particularly true at night prior to 2010, when throngs of tourists gather around the park and nearby resorts to watch as the majestic volcano illuminates the sky with festive eruptions that look almost like fireworks against the night air.

One site that has been attracting attention for eruption viewers since the eruptions shifted directions in 2005 is the local village of El Castillo, but the truly adventurous travelers will join tours of Arenal, which hold nightly viewings of the erupting behemoth from El Mirador, a spot some travelers believe to be the best place to see the volcano. Travelers would be advised to bring a jacket as, though the lava may be burning bright, it can get a bit chilly at night.

Lake Arenal

While the volcano may be the main attraction, it is far from the only thing to do in the park. The beautiful Lake Arenal offers up both world class fishing and windsurfing opportunities for travelers who have their sea legs, and those travelers who are tired from hiking through the lush rainforests that surround the area can take a relaxing dip in the nearby hot springs.

There are also numerous shopping opportunities, fantastic restaurants and cultural sites littered throughout the area, making Arenal an excellent place to explore.

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