Mt Arenal Volcano
Mt Arenal Volcano
Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Mt Arenal Volcano Description
"It looks like the volcano we made in science class!" my kids screamed when we finally saw the top of Arenal, one of the 10-most reliably active volcanos in the world and one of the few of which you can get within a few miles. Sure enough, Arenal is a classic cone-shaped volcano; the problem is that it also has the classic whispy clouds surrounding the cone. The best views are in early morning and at night, when sparks shoot into the dark sky and lava flows fiery orange down its flanks. Take a guided night hike to get the full effect.
Toddlers & Pre-K: Toddlers won't be able to manage a hike to see Arenal close-up, though even little kids will appreciate the excitement. If you want to do a night hike with a little one, a backpack is recommended.
School-Age Kids: Older kids might like a horseback tour with great volcano views; the Don Tobias stables offers a great ride.
- Volcanos do not follow a schedule. We met many frustrated families who planned one-day excursions to Arenal and then didn't see anything but the base of the mountain rising into the mist. Plan on staying at least one night in La Fortuna, preferably two, at a lodge with a view of Arenal so you can set your alarm for an early morning photo op. If your kids are decent hikers, sign up for the guided hike around the volcano, which offers the best likelihood of good views.
- Arenal at Night.There really aren't hours for Arenal, since it's a mountain, but most visitors utilize a guided tour service, and tours can be in the morning, in the late afternoon, or at night. Night tours are really exciting because the lava flows glow at night and you can see the sparks flying up against the night sky.
- Driving tips. Road maintenance is not Costa Rica's strong suit, and all roads tend to be bumpy and rugged. The road around Arenal is fairly good in the dry season, but sections can was out or be blocked by mud in the rainy season. If you're nervous about driving, utilize a local transportation service instead, there are many good ones.
Just the Facts
Hours: Open year round.
Recommended Time: Overnight