Arenal Area Attractions
Small villages characterize the area around Lake Arenal. The lake and villages can be seen in a day tour, while some choose to stay overnight in this area that offers excellent views of the Arenal volcano.
La Fortuna, Costa Rica
The official name of this small town is La Fortuna de San Carlos, and it receives many visitors due to its close proximity to the Arenal Volcano. Lying 250m/820ft above sea level, La Fortuna offers excellent vistas of the volcano that is only 6km/3.7mi to the west.Several tour companies in La Fortuna offer excursions to the many natural attractions in the area, including night tours of the volcano. Many visitors to La Fortuna choose to rent or horses or bicycles for enjoyment when exploring the area.
Waterfall of La Fortuna
This narrow waterfall is one of the most visited attractions in the La Fortuna area. A trail (where birds can be spotted) leads first to an overlook of the falls. From here there is an excellent view of the long falls cascading down a steep, forested canyon.An entrance fee is paid to continue the steep trail downwards to base of the falls where there is a swimming area. The fees are used to maintain the trail and build steps in the steep sections, since the walk uphill is very steep. Some visitors choose to take a tour to the falls (offered by companies in La Fortuna) or ride a horse to get there.
La Fortuna Surroundings
Several popular natural attractions are found just outside of La Fortuna.
Tabacón Hot Springs
There are several bathing facilities for the Tabacón hot springs. Good views of the exploding Arenal Volcano can be seen from the hot, mineral water pools.
Arenal Volcano National Park is home to the highly active Arenal Volcano. Lava flows down the mountains side and is an impressive sight as it glows in the darkness of night.
Arenal Lake Area - Arenal Lake
This artificial lake was created when a dam was built (flooding small towns) for hydroelectric purposes in 1793. Today, it is Costa Rica's largest lake and provides the region and the Guanacaste province with water.Strong, steady winds provide good sailing and windsurfing opportunities. The lake is also a prime sportfishing location, and huge rainbow bass have been reported by anglers.
Arenal, Costa Rica
Also known as Nuevo Arenal (New Arenal), this village replaced the original that was flooded when Lake Arenal was formed in 1973. The small village offers simple dining and accommodation options, as well as a disco and live music on the weekends.
Arenal Botanical Garden
Founded in 1991, the Arenal Botanical Garden features well maintained trails through primary forest and a small butterfly garden. The garden has 1,200 varieties of tropical plants from Costa Rica and other parts of the world.
Tilaran, Costa Rica
Tilarán is an attractive and pleasant mountain village lying on the northern end of the Cordillera de Tilarán. The town is found at 550m/1,804km above sea level and is only 5km/3mi away from Lake Arenal, the area's principle attraction.As in other towns and villages in the Guanacaste province, cattle farming is the most important industry. A popular rodeo and festival (Días Cívicas) takes place annually on the last weekend in April. The climate is Tilarán is pleasant and comfortable.