One big National Park, Costa Rica is filled with natural beauty, wildlife and this region is heaven for outdoorsy types. With its impressive waterfalls, La Fortuna is the jumping-off point on route to the very much live Arenal volcano, one of the absolute highlights of a trip to Costa Rica. This colossal mountain is only visible if the weather conditions are in your favour, so while it is always a gamble as to whether Arenal will be shrouded in mist, on a clear day the mountain is simply stunning, with plumes of smoke hovering above it.

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Why we think you’ll love it

  • Arenal National Park is an exciting hub of eco- activities. You can take to the trees to discover its famous hanging bridges and zip wires, as well as hike, horse ride or mountain bike through the forest below. The bountiful hot springs in the area are the perfect way to end a day of exploration and soothe tired muscles

The Detail on Costa Rica's Volcanoes & Cloud Forests

For the obvious safety reasons it's not possible to scale the Arenal volcano itself, however there are a number of hiking trails around the base that can be explored on foot or horseback. Lava flows are sometimes visible in the evenings on the slopes of the still eminently active Arenal, which makes for a spectacular view. The National Park is also home to thirteen hanging bridges boasting spectacular views, and the more adventurous can explore the canopy by zip wire. Rafting, canyoning and mountain biking are just a few of the other activities that you can do in the surrounding area - and the best way to finish off an action packed day is to relax in Arenal's thermal waters - Original Travel can recommend the best spot for this so you're not having to share your hot spring with the masses. Near the volcano is the largest lake in Costa Rica, Lake Arenal, big enough for windsurfing, kayaking, boating and fishing. A 30 minute trip in a small motorboat across the lake followed by a car journey brings you to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve which was set up by the Quakers who settled here in the mid 20th Century. This high elevation forest offers miles of trails, walkways and hanging bridges with excellent opportunities for bird watching; the resplendent Quetzal can be spotted up here between January and July. Alternatively you can explore the trails around San Ramon, closer to the Central Valley, which is one of the most outstanding wildlife sanctuaries in the tropics. Here you can see the cigar making process in action - at one point this used to be one of the main exports in Costa Rican history.


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Original Highlight

Arenal volcano lava

Arenal Volcano is still eminently active - if you’re lucky enough to witness an eruption, the most magical sight is at night, when you'll see the glowing lava flowing down its slopes.

Saskia, Original Traveller

A note on price

Costa Rica is such a small country that it’s easy to explore different pockets for relatively good value. A two week holiday starts from £3,500 per person including international flights. Learn more about our pricing

Weather in January January February March April May June July August September October November December
  • Average Temp. — 22°C / 71°F
  • Rainfall — 1cm / 0.4 inches
Flight from London

10:30 hrs

Time Difference

GMT -6 hrs


Top picks for Volcanoes and Cloud Forests

Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel

Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel

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Located in Alajuela in north-central Costa Rica, Villa Blanca offers access to some of the country’s pristine cloud forest.

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Canopy Tours

Canopy Tours

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Swoop through the cloud forest with the greatest of ease on a zip-wire, and discover the rainforest from a hanging bridge high up in the canopy.

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Riding Safari in Costa Rica

Riding Safari in Costa Rica

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Undoubtedly the most scenic and fun way to travel between Arenal and Monteverde is on horseback, crossing straight over the old mountain trails which separate the lake from the cloud forest.

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Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens

Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens

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Located four miles from Fortuna on the lower slopes of one of the world’s most amazing volcanoes, Nayara Hotel, Spa & Gardens has some of the best views of the smoking crater of Arenal.

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Monteverde Lodge

Monteverde Lodge

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Monteverde Lodge is the best option for comfort in Monteverde.

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Arenal

Arenal

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Although the perfectly conical volcano Arenal is spectacular to admire from afar, it’s best to get a bit closer to the action with a visit to the Parque Nacional Volcan Arenal.

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An excellent start - Everything has gone perfectly.

Thank you for your letter and for all the arrangements. As always everything has gone perfectly since we arrived and we have thoroughly enjoyed our first day with our guide who is absolutely delightful.

Mandy

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