Awesome Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica

Awesome Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica

April 15, 2021 7 By Kerry

Arenal, Costa Rica, is located in the La Fortuna region, infamous for being an adventure seekers’ hot spot. Some even go so far as to call Arenal the adventure capital of Costa Rica, attracting those in search for exhilaration. Despite its popularity among tourists for its diverse attractions, Arenal maintains an authentic atmosphere, it still has the vibe of a bustling local town full of Tico’s living Pura Vida (pure life).

With the plethora of adventure activities available, it is no surprise that La Fortuna features high on travel itineraries when visiting Costa Rica. This essential travel guide will help you discover the best things to do in Arenal, Costa Rica. So get ready for an adrenaline-fueled journey like no other!

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Adventurous Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica

If you’re looking for action, adventure, and plenty of excitement, then you’re probably going to enjoy several of the excellent activities in Costa Rica’s Arenal area.

La Fortuna, Costa Rica, is a popular vacation destination with stunning natural surroundings. Numerous activities are available, and the natural landscape abounds with opportunities for exploration. If you are lucky, you can see the local wildlife in its natural habitat.

To fully immerse yourself in the wonders of Arenal’s attractions, it is recommended to allocate at least half a day for each activity. For an unforgettable experience, plan to spend 2-3 days in this captivating area. Keep in mind that the dry season spans from January to May while September and October b-3 days in the area will allow you to benefit from them entirely. The dry season runs from January to May, and the rainy season is at its most torrential during September and October.  

If you’re looking for somewhere to stay nearby, check out the Arenal Costa Rica hotels. 

1) Take a Mountain bike ride to Catarata Rio Fortuna waterfalls

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to visit the awe-inspiring Cataratas Arenal, an absolutely breathtaking waterfall! Situated in the heart of La Fortuna national park, there are shops nearby where you can choose to rent a mountain bike to take a thrilling cycling adventure to reach it. Whatever way you get to the waterfall, brace yourself for an uphill journey, but fear not as you can always opt for a taxi. However, by doing so, you would be depriving yourself of the exhilarating experience of zooming back down!

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Catarata Rio Fortuna waterfall (also known as La Fortuna waterfall) ) as it blends seamlessly with its lush rainforest surroundings. On a clear day, prepare to be mesmerized by the striking view from atop this magnificent cascade. Unfortunately, mountain biking is not allowed in this area, but fear not as you can easily take a short hike down to the bottom of the waterfall. Alternatively, if you’re feeling adventurous, consider exploring this natural wonder on horseback or include it as part of a comprehensive tour package.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush like no other, one of the must-do activities in Arenal is taking a thrilling zip line over the La Fortuna waterfall. If you dare to push your limits and embrace your adventurous side, this is an experience that will leave you breathless!

2) Rappel La Fortuna Waterfalls with a Canyoning / Canyoneering experience

things to do in arenal costa rica - canyoning in la fortuna waterfalls

An unforgettable experience to include in your bucket list is Canyoning in Arenal. The rich and diverse rainforest in La Fortuna serves as the ideal backdrop for natural canyons and waterfalls, making it one of the most exciting activities to do while exploring Arenal, Costa Rica. This thrilling twist on abseiling, also known as canyoneering, is an absolute must-try activity. Imagine descending down a waterfall and plunging into refreshing freshwater below? Tempted? Be sure to check out the Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping Extreme Canyoning tour.

3) Zipline and Swing Like Tarzan in the Arenal Rainforest

Experiencing the thrill of ziplining in Costa Rica is an absolute must. Without a doubt, one of the most exhilarating activities in Arenal is gliding through the treetop jungle on zip lines. If you’ve ever fantasized about channeling your inner Tarzan, I cannot stress enough how much I recommend this fun outdoor adventure.

Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica - Tarzan Swing in La Fortuna
Tarzan Swing at Eco Glide park in Arenal Costa Rica

Ecoglide Arenal Park has 12 zip lining cables, 13 platforms, and the option of a Tarzan swing. Better still, this experience is in the heart of the lush rainforest of the Arenal Volcano. What better way to see the rainforest than gliding through it like a gibbon? Ecoglide is also the only tour provider where you can get a rush from ziplining at night!

4) Brave the Hanging bridges of Arenal Park

Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica - hanging bridges in La Fortuna

If you’re good with bridges or want to conquer your fear, head to one of the popular Arenal tourist attractions, the Mistico hanging bridges in Arenal Park. The hanging bridges are located within a vast natural park, so you will see plenty of wildlife and fauna while crossing nine fixed and six suspension bridges across the forest canopy.  

I don’t know about you, but I find these activities terrifying but oh so fun! A certified naturist guide leads the Arenal hanging bridges group tour with Get Your Guide, so you will be sure to learn about the native animals of the area.

Don’t hang about; grab your tickets for a self-guided tour of Mistico Park. 

5) Bath in the natural Hot Springs in La Fortuna

If you’re wondering what to do in Arenal La Fortuna, the Hot Springs must be on your list. The Costa Rica Hot Springs provides the perfect way to take a relaxing soak in the sublime waters from the thermal pools. Heated by the natural thermal energy from the Arenal volcano, there are many hot spring resorts to consider. 

I visited the Baldi Hot Springs Resort and Spa, which has several hot and cold water pools, slides, and pool bars. The Baldi Hot Springs also has a beautiful garden and stunning natural scenery. Better still, the hot springs are one of the few options that save a rainy day. Imagine floating in beautifully warm water with a drink in your hand as the cold rain hits your face. Devine.

Please look at the different hot springs resorts in Costa Rica as each has other spa and catering options. Of course, you can book the hot springs separately and enjoy the day in hot water bliss. But, you can also include the hot springs in a package tour if your action-packed itinerary means you can only spare a few hours.

6) Discover the Wildlife and Beauty of Lake Arenal Costa Rica

Immerse yourself in the vastness of Lake Arenal, the grandest body of water in Costa Rica. Spanning over 33 square miles, this majestic lake offers plenty of activities that can occupy your entire day. Enveloped by a spring-like climate, the breathtaking scenery sets the stage perfectly. So why not try your luck at spotting exotic wildlife? You can expect to see a variety of colorful birds, hear the chorus of the jungle frogs, and see many exciting animals.

things to do in la fortuna costa rica - visit arenal lake

If you’d like to keep active on your visit to Lake Arenal, you can also do a kayaking and mountain biking tour. Another fun Lake Arenal activity is paddle boarding. It’s not often you get to do water activities like this with the backdrop of a beautiful volcano!

7) Take a Hike up the Arenal Volcano

Still wondering what to do in Arenal? Well, the Arenal Volcano is the centerpiece of it all. If you visit Arenal Costa Rica in the dry season, the spectacular views atop Arenal volcano will set a mesmerizing backdrop to this beautiful city. Standing at over 1,600 meters, the Arenal Volcano will undoubtedly grab your attention. However, if you’d like to get up close and personal, there are two main Arenal Volcano hiking trails available:

  1. Arenal volcano national park
  2. Arenal 1968 trail

The green lagoon in the center of Arenal volcano is not to be missed. Bring your swimsuit as you can swim and jump in the water! If you’d like to hike to a vantage point that gives you one of the best views of the volcano, visit the Arenal Observatory lodge. Or you could go off the beaten path and follow your unique trail.

Costa Rica Itinerary - one of the best things to do in Arenal Costa rica is hike arenal volcano

While you can book each of these things separately, you can combine these experiences and have your transport, lunch, and guide covered. In addition, many trips conclude with a visit to a hot spring to relax those aching muscles. Check them out here.

Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica at Night

La Fortuna is a popular place for tourists on an adventurous getaway, so there is no shortage of bars and restaurants to relax in after you’ve had an action-packed day. You can expect smaller restaurants that are a favorite for the locals and bigger establishments that cater more to tourists. Try both as you will get the authenticity from the local eateries and meet like-minded travelers from the more prominent restaurants.

Things to do in Arenal - two women with their heads through a picture making it look like they are in traditional german outfits drinking steins

Most bars and restaurants in Arenal are close to the Parque de La Fortuna, so this is an excellent place to start and work outwards. If you’re looking for great vegetarian options, try Chifa La Familia Feliz, which is Chinese/Peruvian. However, most places will have veggie options, and it will be amiss not to try some authentic Costa Rican food; Gallo Pinto and Cassardo.

There are many different bars in Arenal, Costa Rica. Still, my favorite is the La Fortuna pub, which played good music, had friendly local staff, and served some delicious cocktails. There’s a backpacker vibe around this area, and you can choose from chilled, relaxing bars to the more rowdy ones, depending on your mood.

Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica in summary

The Arenal Area in La Fortuna is a fantastic destination. It has excellent public transport links to and from San Jose and the rest of Costa Rica, so you can easily include Arenal in your itinerary. The most challenging part will be deciding what to do in Arenal La Fortuna! Does a dip in the natural hot pools take your fancy, or would you instead hike or mountain bike? If you’re adventurous or outdoorsy, I advise you to save up and do as much of it as possible.

Now I’ve whetted your appetite for a day of adventure, take a look at the tour options that await you.

If you’re not ready to book, looking at the packages will still help you plan your Costa Rica itinerary. You can gauge the prices and make some of those tough decisions. In addition, doing some research into the Arenal activities now will help you customize your perfect experience.

Do you have a more extensive trip planned? If so, read about the 10 top adventurous things to do in Costa Rica. This travel blog will give you a broader idea of activities you can do across Costa Rica, which will help you plan your ultimate Costa Rica itinerary. I also recommend a visit to Torgugero from San Jose to experience the turtle conservation activities.

Love the sound of all this adventure but want someone else to plan it all for you?

InteleTravel Travel Agent - VeggTravel

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