Lake Arenal Day 1 – Costa Rica
Fortuna is the town and surrounding area next to the volcano. You’d call it that too, if you weren’t hit when the volcano erupted in the 1960’s. It is a short charter flight to the area from San Jose, or a shuttle can be arranged as well. Just remember, there are not that many main roads and traffic can be an issue. Our group tour met in San Jose and then took a quick charter flight to the area.
We stayed at the Arenal Kioro Hotel which is the closest hotel to the volcano. Our room was fantastic for a family of five since we all got to sleep in a regular bed. Each room has a hot tub inside the room that faces a wall of windows with a view to the volcano. When I booked our trip in July of 2010, the volcano went off (rumbled, spewed some harmless ash, or sprayed lava straight up) about every 20 minutes. That October, it turned off. Seriously. So is it dormant now? Or is it building up pressure and gonna blow?
Even without the volcano activity, this area is not to be missed. They are trying to shift their tourism focus to adventure, and doing a great job of it. Lake Arenal is a stone’s throw from the volcano.
You can take beautiful boat rides across the lake, but it was raining. Despite the light rain our group chose to take a 10 mile bike ride along the road from a local hotel to the bridge that crosses Lake Arenal. With gorgeous views of the lake, we saw howler monkeys and coati along the ride.
The great thing about this area, is that the hotels blend in with the landscape, no giant high rises. The signs to the adventure activities are small and unassuming. Capitalism’s bright lights haven’t shown up here yet, and it makes the experience even more enjoyable.
The area closest to the volcano is a national park, with great trail hikes and scenic views of the volcano. I’d highly recommend a short guided hiking tour. The hotel can help set that up for you. Ours was about two hours and full of information and wildlife that we would not have seen without our Tico guide. They look for the “restaurant tree” as they call them. Find one of those and you might find some of these….
Again, all of these pictures are real animals taken in the wild. Love it!! While the adults took the hike, the kids had an adventure of their own. Our boys love snakes, and were excited to visit the serpentarium with all the group tour kids. That way if you miss anything, they’ve got the rest. They have lots of snakes, praying mantis, gorgeous tree frogs, etc.
After that action packed day we were ready for that hot tub in the room!! But the hotel has an awesome dinner selection with walls of windows facing the volcano. Lucky for you, a beautiful breakfast buffet is in the same room in the morning if you just can’t make it to dinner. Rest up! Adventure ahead on Day 2 in the Arenal Volcano area!!