Take A Direct Shuttle To La Fortuna
Best option for you if you have a larger budget and want to get there quickly without worrying about driving.
Direct shuttles can be booked through your hotel or hostel and will usually pick you up. The price is around $54 per person and the journey takes roughly 4 hours. Direct shuttles will not stop along the way like the local buses, so you will arrive more quickly. They are usually large vans with air conditioning and will stop for a restroom break along the way.
Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort
The Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort sits west of downtown La Fortuna along Road 142.Approximate drive time from downtown La Fortuna to the Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort: 7 minutes
Feeling out of place in down-to-earth La Fortuna but welcome nonetheless is the Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort, a fancy, five-story hotel that towers over other properties in the vicinity. Luxury here isnt understated its apparent in the shiny, porcelain floors that anchor the modern rooms and suites the top-floor bar thats outfitted in red leather furniture the grand hot springs, sauna, and spa and the executive-style restaurant where a complimentary breakfast is served. Architectural design elements, art, and sculptures supply additional class, and the buildings curved construction ensures each rooms balcony faces the Arenal Volcano.
What we love best: This hotel provides what would otherwise be missing from the mix of La Fortuna hotels: a stately highrise that splashes the region with opulence.
Tip: The view of the volcano is better from the top of the hotel, so ask for a room on the highest floor possible.
Choose the Royal Corin Thermal Water Spa & Resort if you want to stay at a ritzy hotel around Arenal.
Vista Grande Guest Room
These 915 sq. ft. , Extra-Large rooms with over 12 ft. ceilings and Enhanced Volcano Views feature a King-Size Bed, Oversized, Marbled Bath with Jacuzzi, a Twin Bed and a Full-Size Pull-Out Sofa. The large balcony is furnished with one Hammock, Rocking Chairs and Table seating. There is Elevator Access to these rooms.
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Explore El Castillo Town
Tucked away just south of Lake Arenal is the cute little town of El Castillo that often times gets overlooked by the adrenaline-seeking visitors. Youll need a 4×4 vehicle to get here , but cars are easy and cheap to rent in Costa Rica.
On a clear day, you can drive up the hill in town and look out over the lake for a stunning view. There is a butterfly conservatory and many small B& Bs that would be perfect for a relaxing stay to get way from the crowds in La Fortuna.
If you do go, be sure to eat lunch or dinner at La Ventanita, which has the best burritos and smoothies in Arenal .
Another nice spot is the quaint La Gavilana Herbs and Art Café, which gets its name from a plant with many medicinal properties.
You can order food and try their homemade hot sauce, or you can relax with a cup of local coffee or tea while checking out the artwork on display. Open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
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Soak In Arenal Volcano All
Soak your adventurous muscles in thermal pools of water. Arenal is also home to several hot springs. Formed when water is heated underground and bubbles to the surface, Costa Ricas mineral waters have been used as therapeutic baths for more than two hundred years to treat rheumatism and other ailments. These natural wonders tempt even the most experienced traveler for a good reason! What could be better than a relaxing warm bath, surrounded by jungle and shadowed by the beauty of the volcano after a day of adventure?
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Best Hotels & Lodging Near Arenal Volcano Costa Rica
Some of the best hotels in Costa Rica are located near Arenal Volcano. Although Costa Rica is home to over a dozen volcanoes, Arenal, which towers above the town of La Fortuna, is the most famous by far. Few volcanos in the world claim such a perfect conical shape, and few have delighted so many visitors.
It all started in 1968, when Arenal erupted after lying dormant for nearly 500 years. For the next four decades the volcano spewed out a steady stream of lava and hot rocks, attracting a steady stream of tourists who watched the glowing eruptions safely from afar.
Then, in 2010, Arenal went quiet. The eruptions stopped, and as of this writing its officially considered inactive. According to scientists, the last time Arenal stayed inactive for this long, it stayed inactive for several hundred years. Is the party over? Not necessarily. The volcano could rumble back to life at any moment.
Discover The Forest Canopy By Aerial Tram Or Zipline
With incredible views overlooking the forest canopy, Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal, and the Talamanca Mountain Range, its no surprise that Arenal is one of the most popular destinations for ziplining and aerial excursions in Costa Rica. Take an aerial tram to the top of an observation point overlooking the scenic landscape for panoramic views of the region. From the observation point, set off on a zipline adventure for an unparalleled birds eye view of Arenal.
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Where To Eat Near Rio Celeste:
If you visit Rio Celeste in the morning, youll likely arrive back in the vicinity of town around lunchtime. Before getting back to La Fortuna though, wed recommend stopping at Restaurante Victorino. We ended up splitting a grilled fish, but if youre pretty hungry wed recommend getting your own. It comes with 2 sides , and the fish was fantastic!
Hotel Lomas Del Volcan
Youll feel like Arenal volcano is in your backyard as the Lomas del Volcan sits at the base of Arenal. Stay in a bungalow with a Jacuzzi or balcony and let the sounds of nature surround you. Since the hotel is located off the main road and not close to town, its very quiet and peaceful.
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Nuestro Sello De Propiedad
Cada artículo en el Blog de Viajes Costa Rica refleja nuestro propio trabajo, viajes, y lecciones aprendidas. Nos esforzamos por la calidad, no por la cantidad, y nunca llenamos nuestro blog con información general sobre Costa Rica que esté ampliamente disponible en otros lugares. Escribimos solo lo que creemos o en lo que elegimos creer, y ni una palabra más.
The Springs Resort & Spa
Sitting 1,000 feet above the Arenal Volcano, visitors get one of the most stunning views of the volcano from every inch of the boutique Springs Resort & Spas property. Their hot spring section is absolutely gorgeous! They have pools down by the river with beautiful river views and a lagoon like area closer to the hotel with a swim up bar, views of the volcano and a waterslide for kids.
Personally for us, the hot springs at The Springs are our absolute favorite. Additionally, the property is very big so you dont ever feel too crowded in the hotel or hot springs.
Though this resort is also a favorite for honeymooners, it is also a top pick for business and family travelers. They have on-site activities at the Club Rio Outdoor Center on the same property as the hotel so you dont have to go far to enjoy hiking, horseback riding, tubing and kayaking. Kids will love the Springs Wildlife preserve, created to take care of injured animals.
When it comes to the best hotels in La Fortuna, The Springs Resort & Spa is definitely in the top three. Theres no question as to why its a favorite for celebrities from all around the world! Many futbol stars from Costa Rica, Spain and Europe vacation at the Springs, famous people like Will Smith and Bill gates have stayed here, The Bachelor was filmed at The Springs and whether you love or hate them, the Kardashians stayed there too.
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In La Fortuna: Budget Accommodation & Convenience
View from our stay at Arenal Backpackers Resort in the town of La Fortuna
If youre on a budget, your best bet for cheap accommodation is going to be in the town of La Fortuna itself. Though the town of La Fortuna itself is quite touristy and not all that noteworthy, it is a great jumping off point for all sorts of adrenaline-pumping activities and epic journeys around the Arenal National Park.
Luxury Hotel: Hotel Magic Mountain Massive pool, spacious rooms, on-site bar and restaurant, this hotel has everything. Select rooms have stunning views of Arenal Volcano and the staff can help arrange all your activities in the area. Check prices on Booking.com and Agoda.com.
Mid-Range/Couple Hotel: Hotel Monte Real Best hotel you can find right in the heart of the city. Perfect location for couples or friends looking explore during the day and go out at night. Check prices on Booking.com and Agoda.com.
Budget/Social Hostel: Arenal Backpackers Resort Known for its massive pool and large gathering area, this backpacker resort has nice clean rooms and good WiFi throughout the complex. Check prices on Booking.com and Agoda.com.
Plan Your Trip To Costa Rica
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Read more on Costa Rica:
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Go Hiking Around Arenal
There are a few places to go hiking around Arenal. Depending on how much time you have and how much of a sweat you want to work up, theres definitely an option for you!
Arenal Volcano National Park: With mostly flat, well-groomed trails, we wouldnt consider this truly a hike, so to speak. Its more of a nature walk amongst the lava rock formations. You can take the short loop that offers great views of Arenal Volcano, when the weather is clear, and is suitable for all ages and abilities. The long loop includes the short loop and a section around a small lake.
Cerro Chato: This used to be a popular route for hiking enthusiasts and adventure seekers, and offers a great view of a crater lake at the top. However, this trail has been recently closed for safety reasons. We try to abide by rules when traveling and decided not to do this hike, though we knew of other people who did this trek. Do some research yourself and make an informed decision. And if you choose to hike, be prepared for quite a climb and bring plenty of water.
How Many Days In Arenal
Two days in Arenal are enough for most travelers. In two days, you can visit hanging bridges, take a wildlife watching tour, take an adventure tour, spend some time in the hot springs, walk to the waterfall, or do some shorter hikes.
Three days in Arenal are more than enough, and you will enjoy the area at a way more relaxed pace.
If you have only one day in Arenal, don’t despair. In one day, you can have a very similar itinerary as if you were staying two days, but you need to plan it more carefully to avoid rushing things.
Also, you can consider taking a combo tour to make your life easier, and you don’t have to worry about missing someplace due to poor planning.
On the other hand, we believe that three days is the maximum length of stay in Arenal without getting bored.
In our opinion, four or five days in Arenal are way too much, though if you have a budget for it and can afford to stay in a lovely lodge or visit hot springs every day, then why not.
But believe us, Costa Rica is a wonderful country full of mesmerizing places, and we would spend those extra days somewhere else.
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Manuel Antonio Where To Stay In Costa Rica For Couples
Often the best place to stay in Costa Rica for first-time visitors is the Pacific beach town of Manuel Antonio. Much of the area is covered by Manuel Antonio National Park, which includes rainforests, beaches and off-shore coral reefs. There are many hiking trails in the park, making it a great place to stay for active travelers who seek adventure on their vacation.
Manuel Antonio is a great choice for where to stay in Costa Rica with family, as its easy to get around, fairly close to the San Juan International Airport, and offers many activity choices, as well as hotels and restaurants. With some of Costa Ricas most romantic resorts, Manuel Antonio may also be the best places to stay in Costa Rica for couples.
How To Get To La Fortuna
The Arenal area is a similar distance from either the Liberia or San Jose airports. The roads there are windy and narrow. If you plan on getting a rental car and driving, be sure to allow plenty of time prior to dusk. We made the mistake of making the final part of the drive on a dark and rainy night. I wasnt quite prepared for single lane bridges, nor could I see the right of way signs in the dark. In addition, people and dogs wander the roads and cars even just park right in the middle of the road.
We have heard it recommended to hire a driver. I would drive again. But I could see how that would not be a good fit for many. My time on icy and snowy Colorado winter roads has given me enough practice at keeping my heart rate down on treacherous roads.
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Best Time To Visit Arenal
The best time to visit Arenal is in the dry season, but we would argue that you can explore it year round due to the nature of activities and things to do in the area.
Arenal area has two distinct seasons. The dry season is from December to April, and the rainy season starts in May and ends in November.
Arenal Volcano is often covered in clouds, and seeing it is not guaranteed, quite the opposite. Not even in the dry season. The average annual temperature is 23 Celsius.
We visited Arenal in April, and it was windy, cloudy, and rainy so that we couldn’t see the volcano during our stay.
Arenal is located in Costa Rican lowlands, so you don’t need to worry about altitude sickness in this area.
Weather in Arenal is not the only factor you should consider before you go. The dry season is at the same time a peak season in Arenal, and the place is buzzing with international tourists.
The rainy season receives a lot of precipitation, but thinner crowds, and some people prefer this time of the year over the high season.
If you arrive solely to spot the volcano, then you have better chances in the dry season. However, hot springs are amazing during the rain, and waterfalls more impressive.
Is Arenal Worth A Visit
Arenal is a beautiful place in Costa Rica, but that’s not very surprising as every place we visited there was beautiful.
The more important question is whether you should visit Arenal or not. And that’s not so simple to answer.
Some people love Arenal area as they say it’s the most beautiful place they visited, some oppose it’s too touristy and expensive.
The truth is somewhere in between, and we hope our article answered some of the questions you had before you started reading our blog post.
We can’t deny that Arenal has an excellent tourist infrastructure, it’s one of the safest places in the entire country, and the scenery is breathtaking. It’s also a great place for responsible travelers.
So what do we think about Arenal ourselves?
We are leaning towards the latter group, as Arenal really is expensive, and we believe that there are other places in Costa Rica where you can see more for far less.
That doesn’t mean that Arenal is not worth a visit.
In fact, we believe it’s a perfect place to visit for first-timers to Costa Rica, especially for families with kids who are also new to the whole continent of Central America.
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Bonus: The 6 Best Beaches In Costa Rica
There are so many things to see in Costa Rica but the beaches are well known, and I dont want you to miss any opportunity to find all the right spots for either surfing, tanning or some good old Instagramming, so heres a top of the best beaches in Costa Rica.
I highly recommend renting a car as that is the easiest way to get around. Plus you can find some good on budget hotels in these parts of Costa Rica, so if you are planning a longer trip or want to experience some more off the beaten path destinations, these areas are some great choices for where to stay in Costa Rica. Whether you choose to stay nearby or not, here are the best beaches in Costa Rica!
1. Playa Bahía BallenaThe name is not ordinary, from an aerial view this coastal park looks like a whale tail and if that wasnt enough, humpback whales come to breath every year from August through October and December through April! If youre a photographer or whale fan looking for where to stay in Costa Rica you should check out this beach! It is also situated nearby the and is a nice family friendly place.
2. Playa LangostaPlaya Langosta is located in the northwestern Costa Rica area just 160 miles from San José. There are domestic flights and buses that are available to take you to the town but renting a car definitely gives you the most freedom.