Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National Park is one of the most popular and largest parks in Costa Rica. Located in the northern central part of the country, the park is comprised of 7,212 acres, and was established in 1994. Until recently, Arenal was the most active volcano in the country with mini, lava spewing eruptions at regular intervals. It was also one of the top 10 most active volcanoes in the world.
In addition to Arenal, there is also a second inactive volcano within the park – Cerro Chato. Cerro Chato has been inactive for 3,500 years – about the same time as the creation of Arenal. A strenuous 2 hour hike will take you to the top of the collapsed crater of Cerro Chato which is now an aquamarine lake. Lake Arenal is a large lake at the base of Arenal Volcano and is a favorite fishing spot, with several species of game fish.
Arenal Volcano National Park is a primary tropical rain forest with abundant flora and fauna and wildlife, including howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, wild cats, toucans, and hummingbirds. A great way to end a day of bird watching, hiking, rappelling, zip lining, rafting, or horseback riding would be soaking in one of the many soothing hot springs in the area.
Arenal Volcano National Park is located about 80 miles north of San Jose (about a 2 ½ hr trip by car) and near the village of La Fortuna. GPS coordinates: latitude 10.46825, longitude -84.66239
The average temperature is 75 – 90 degrees F, with the dry season running from January through April. This is the best time of year for viewing Arenal. The area has an annual rainfall of 195″ and can be chilly in the higher elevations in the evening.
As you just read, Arenal Volcano National Park can be a cool and damp area at times, so plan to pack a rain jacket, long pants, and hiking shoes. And don’t forget your camera, binoculars, and batteries!
Although Costa Rica national park entrance fees do change often, plan on $10 park admission fee – open 8am-4pm Tuesday through Sunday. The fee does not include a guide. We highly recommend a guide to thoroughly get the most out of the natural flora and fauna and wildlife that you almost certainly will not see on your own.