Arenal Volcano National Park



We arrived in the Arenal Volcano area about 5 pm Mon. Feb. 16th, 2004. The first photo was taken from the road just past down town La Fortuna. The 2nd photo was the next day on the way to Arenal Volcano National Park. The Volcano was partly clouded over, but it frequently is, we were pleased we saw as much of it as we did.



Our view of Arenal from Suite 508 at Tabacon Resort and Hotsprings. It took on really pretty colours at sunset.

fogOur second night it started raining about 9 pm. It rained all night. Our view in the morning was complete FOG! So thus why we were happy with our previous days views, they were great, compared to this non- existent view! We never did see any red falling lava.

This was Wednesday, our 3rd day and we were leaving at 1:30 pm. We spent the morning in the Hot Springs where it certainly didn't matter that it was still raining, since we were sitting soothing hot water!

path to volcano

mark on path to volcano

Our second day we went on the Volcanic Hike Tour starting about 8:30 am. A van / bus picked us up at Tabacon. Above photos are from the beginning of the path of Arenal Volcano National Park. As our previous experience at Poas Volcano, it too started raining lightly here. We put on our handy dollar store ponchos. Luckily it was a quick rain, maybe only 10 min.

rain forest path to
The path took us into the rain forest. Lush tropical plants everywhere. Leaves bigger then me!

cool leaf

gren leaves


The leaves above close when you touch them. Pretty pink flowers.

                    orchid orange
                    orchid white

A lovely variety of striking Orchids are found everywhere in the Park.

lava rock
                    & rockAfter hiking through lush, secondary rain forest, you  come upon the stark contrast of lava, from a 1992 lava flow.

The fabulous view of Arenal Volcano and dark lava rock for about as far as you can see, is a magnificent experience!

 mark among lava rock
carla lava
                  rockYou feel like you are walking on a different planet! Its quite a unique thrill. Good shoes certainly make this part of the hike easier, as it is quite rugged.

The Volcano was silent for more than 400 years. Then on July 29, 1968 it suddenly and violently erupted and blew a huge hole out the side of the mountain killing 87 people and buried 3 small villages. It has remained active on almost a daily basis since 1968, but major eruptions forcing an evacuation are not common.

us and
Us infront of the partially clouded over
Volcano. It is one of the most visited attractions in Costa Rica, with more than 200,000 visitors a year. Among the World's most active volcanos, it grows by about 20 feet every year.

us by Lake
Another highlight is the spectacular hilltop view of Lake Arenal. This is the largest lake in Costa Rica. It was enlarged to 3 times it's original size to form a basin for the hydroelectric project that now produces 70% of Costa Rica's electricity with an area of 85.5km (33 sq. miles).


We only heard birds while we were in the rain forest part, we didn't see any animals, but ones that have been seen are
monkeys, wild boars, toucans, coatis, golden eyelash vipers, boa constrictors, white-tailed deer and poison dart frogs.

 I don't know what this bizarre plant is called but it certainly looks alive!

                    crossing Our tour was arranged by Tabacon's tour desk. It was with a company called Jacamar. The hike itself is excellent, going through the rain forest region, to lava flows and back around in a new direction through the rain forest again is fabulous. Since we had a mix of English (6) and Spanish (2) speaking people on the tour,  our young guide kindly provided commentary in both languages. Unfortunately the guide didn't shorten his speeches (10 min. of volcano history turned into 20 min., and so on for each topic), which drastically cut into our 3 hour tour time.


us at end of tourWhen ever Mark and I stopped to take a quick photo in the rain forest we literally had to run to keep up with the rest of the group because the guide had no time to stop after his lengthened speeches.  We think the guide should have been more prepared. Laminated pieces of paper would have helped to save time that was wasted as our guide attempted to explain the history of the volcano by drawing (and redrawing the same) pictures in the DIRT! These diagrams could have been passed around the van before we even got to the National Park. The tour was $30 each, water and juice provided. It is recommended as you'll probably get a better guide then Gustov.

Arenal Volcano - how it works

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