The Most Visited Attraction in Costa Rica with Viator
One of the ten most active volcanoes in the world, Arenal, is the number one attraction in Costa Rica.
As recently as 1968, Arenal erupted most suddenly and violently, resulting in a Pompeii type of destruction, killing 87 people and burying 3 small villages. Viator offers a visit to Arenal and the adjacent Tabacon hot springs on a fun-filled, fabulous, educational trip from San Jose.
We were picked up at our hotel on time, as scheduled. Our native Costa Rican tour guide fired away tons of information from the get go. He knew so much about the country’s agriculture, coffee industry, culture, history, economy and daily life, turning this tour into much more than a day to visit the volcano.
The 3-hour drive went by quickly, as we listened to our ace of a tour guide and watched the scenic surrounding landscape. On the approach to Arenal, we stopped at an eatery where we were given the choice of fish, meat or vegetarian dishes, all prepared on the premises, using local ingredients and recipes.
Upon arrival at Arenal, we took an easy one hour hike on a hardened lava rock trail. We were surrounded by nature at its best, with exotic birds, butterflies, coatis, monkeys and lizards. The site of lava rocks from the 1968 eruption, was a powerful, awe inspiring sight, looking out onto Lake Arenal.
Baldi Hot Springs – An Oasis for Healing
Just a few miles away from Arenal, lie the Baldi hot springs. These are the largest hot springs in the world, with 25 thermal water pools amidst the tropical rainforest. This was a perfect complement to our morning scenic drive and visit to the volcano.
The waters of each pool vary in temperature from extremely hot to relatively warm. Baldi, which is great for all ages, is in part spa and in part water park. Those water slides will keep children happily busy for hours. With the surrounding jungles and serenading birds, Baldi offers scenic beauty, typical of Costa Rica. To top it all off, we enjoyed a lovely all you can eat buffet dinner on the property, showcasing some of Costa Rica’s best local foods.
Choose your climate
The variation in climates between San Jose and Arenal can be significant. In Costa Rica, one can easily choose their climate by changing their altitude. This is a country with vastly different terrains, and accordingly, one may experience very different changes in temperature on any given day. At lower altitudes, such as the city of San Jose, the climate can be warm, swimming pool weather, while just 3 hours away in Arenal Volcano National Park, the temperature dips. It’s common to have a major downpour at Arenal that may last an hour or two. Hopefully this comes at the end of the day, as it did for us.
Interesting Facts We Learnt Along the Way:
Most coffee pickers in Costa Rica are actually from Nicaragua. Coffee pickers earn approximately US $150/month.
Costa Ricans eat only 5% of pineapples produced in the country, with the remainder going to export.
Costa Rica may cover only .03% of the planet’s surface, but is the natural habitat for as much as 5 -6% of the world’s bio-diversity. Costa Rica leads the world in meaningful preservation efforts of its natural habitat.
- Consider staying overnight and taking advantage of the many attractions near Arenal. Viator can arrange an overnight stay to suit any budget.
- Layer your clothing so as to be ready for the change in temperatures due to altitude.
- Bring bathing suit and flip flops for the hot springs.
- Although you can expect to eat well for both lunch and dinner, it can’t hurt to bring a snack and water.
- Ask the tour guide to point you in the right direction for the hike in Arenal National Park that gives a unique, scenic vantage point from which to view the volcano. An additional nominal fee of $10 applies that is paid directly to the park.
- Try to plan the volcano tour on a clear day, as clouds can get in the way of great views.