Lake Arenal

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Lake Arenal: Our most recommended tours and activities

La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

1. La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

Escape into the nature of the La Fortuna on a guided hike. Walk by the river and follow a trail to a panoramic viewpoint. Have a delicious lunch at a Maluku Indian village and trek through forest, lava fields, and farmlands before relaxing at a natural hot spring resort with a drink. Be collected at your accommodation and be driven to the beginning of the forest walk. Trek on the easy track along the crystal clear La Fortuna river. En route, hop on a tractor cart uphill to a panoramic viewpoint. Spot the next location from a distance then begin the return walk down a jungle staircase. Halfway down is a high suspension bridge to cross. The trail leads further down the huge canyon, which was shaped by a volcanic mega-eruption. Encounter the spectacular La Fortuna waterfall. Be amazed by the lush vegetation on its 70-meter high walls, the huge volcanic rocks at its foot, and the water splashing down in its massive pool. Bask in its beauty or even take a refreshing dip. Return to the viewpoint then walk down to the little village of the Maluku Indians. Seated in their Palenke (main house), enjoy a rest while listening to an interesting story about their culture, art, and history.  After being active for a few hours, the time has come to relax and enjoy a typical hot lunch. Next to the restaurant is a butterfly garden and frog pond that you can explore until your food is served.  Reenergized, take a 15-minute ride to the park at the foot of the Arenal volcano. Being the trek through the primary forest where you can see huge trees with giant roots. Besides a variety of birds, the forest is host to monkeys, sloths, and coati. Leave the forest and each the highest viewpoint that exists around the volcano and absorb the most spectacular panoramic views of Lake Arenal, the jungle, the valley, the lava fields, and most of all the Arenal that towers over you.  Conclude your tour at the natural hot spring resort. Relax in its soothing warm water for about an hour and enjoy a volcanic mud facial and a complimentary cocktail. Afterward, you will be taken back to your accommodation.

Boat Transfer between Monteverde and La Fortuna

2. Boat Transfer between Monteverde and La Fortuna

Add a little adventure to your transportation needs between Monteverde and La Fortuna and avail of a transfer that includes an informative boat tour across Lake Arenal. Get spectacular views of Arenal Volcano and the cloud forests of Monteverde as you travel by van and boat. Choose from a morning or afternoon departure in either direction to suit your schedule, and relax in the knowledge that your luggage will be taken care of on every step of the journey. Depart La Fortuna and travel to Lake Arenal by van. Then, take a 30-minute boat ride to the town of Río Chiquito before continuing to Monteverde by van. For departures from Monteverde, travel to Lake Arenal by van. Cross Lake Arenal on an enlightening 30-minute boat ride to the earthen dam, and then continue to La Fortuna by van for drop off at your hotel.

Lake Arenal and Volcano Mountain Biking (Moderate)

3. Lake Arenal and Volcano Mountain Biking (Moderate)

Costa Rica has amazing natural features and the tranquil countryside is ideal for mountain biking in Costa Rica! You'll ride on trails that run through farmlands, close to the jungle and along the base of mountains and hills - this Arenal Volcano mountain bike tour helps you explore Costa Rica's diverse natural environment with the help of your knowledgeable Costa Rica bike guide. As you bike along Lake Arenal at the base of the Arenal Volcano, you'll pass rainforest, rural farmlands, and wildlife. You'll have the chance to see different kinds of monkeys, toucans, coatimundis and more! Make a stop along the way and have a nice snack while cooling off in a river or in Lake Arenal. You will bike on a gravel road connecting Lake Arenal to the Arenal Volcano National Park which stretches 8.3 miles each way. As you ride toward the Caño Negro river, in the small town of El Castillo, you'll be surrounded by lush rainforest. You'll be amazed by the friendliness of Costa Rican country folk, who are bound to smile and wave at you, as you pass by beautiful landscape. Then return to your hotel with unforgettable memories of this fun Arenal adventure tour!

Lake Arenal: Kayaking and Biking Combo Tour

4. Lake Arenal: Kayaking and Biking Combo Tour

Explore and discover Costa Rica by water and land with this combo tour of Lake Arenal. Enjoy the unique experience of mountain biking through lush forest and gliding across the mystic waters of the Arenal lake all while reveling in the extraordinary beauty of the Arenal Volcano.    First, enjoy a 2-hour kayak across Lake Arenal and its surrounding islands. Keep an eye out for local birds such as ospreys, kingfishers, and neotropic cormorants. You will also have the opportunity to spot wildlife such as howler monkeys, spider monkeys, white-nosed coatis and sloths. Once you are finished kayaking, relax lakeside and enjoy a light fruit and power bar picnic before setting out on your mountain biking adventure through natural paths, traditional Costa Rican neighborhoods and small rivers.

Lake Arenal: Sunset Cruise with Moonshine

5. Lake Arenal: Sunset Cruise with Moonshine

Don't miss the opportunity to witness the sunset over Lake Arenal. After getting picked up from your hotel, head to the small town of El Fosforo. Here, board your cruise boat and cruise around the edges of the lake to spot kingfishers, egrets, herons and more. Discover quiet coves, amazing birdlife and great views of the Arenal Volcano, all while learning more about the area from your passionate guide. Then, sit back and admire the spectacular sunset over the lake and watch as the Arenal Volcano is illuminated by the night sky. Sip on some Costa Rican moonshine and munch on local snacks such as fresh chips and cheese as you witness this natural beauty. At the end of your tour, get dropped off back at your hotel.

Lake Arenal Kayaking Tour

6. Lake Arenal Kayaking Tour

Discover Central America’s second largest lake on this 2-hour kayaking tour of Lake Arenal. This trip gives you the best views of the Arenal Volcano and you’ll get to see the fantastic Costa Rican wildlife from your boat. Observe different species of birds such as flycatchers, kingfishers, great blue herons, hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and toucans. This tour is ideal for any amateur or experienced birdwatcher. You may also hear howler monkeys calling from the rainforest. The rainforest ecosystem that encompasses Lake Arenal is hugely diverse. There are over 2000 species of plants, 300 types of bird, and 120 mammals including jaguars, tapirs, and quetzals. This tour is ideal for those who wish to see Costa Rica’s diverse flora and fauna.

La Fortuna: Arenal Lake Airboat Combo Tours

7. La Fortuna: Arenal Lake Airboat Combo Tours

Feel the adrenaline pumping as you embark on an airboat tour across Lake Arenal. Spot the birds and other wildlife that inhabit the area and see the incredible Arenal Volcano from a unique viewpoint. Listen to the history and interesting facts about the lake from your expert guide. Hear the story of the original town of Arenal, which now lies abandoned at the bottom of the lake after it was expanded in 1979. Create your own ideal tour by adding a local activity from the list below: 2-hour Airboat Tour: Enjoy an airboat tour across Lake Arenal 4-hour Airboat and Biking Tour: after the airboat ride, take a 90-minute bike ride through the zone of “El Castillo”. Follow paths close to the lake admire the local nature. 9-hour Airboat, Horse Riding, Trekking, Local Farm, and Lunch Tour: after the airboat ride, go horseriding through the mountains to a traditional house. There you will enjoy a traditional lunch. After lunch, trek through the jungle to 2 beautiful waterfalls and stop to go swimming. Finally, visit a local farm and see animals such as cows. 9-hour Airboat, Trekking, Local Farm and Lunch Tour: after the airboat ride, go horseriding through the mountains to a traditional house. There you will enjoy a traditional lunch. Now that you’re energized, visit a local farm and go trekking through the jungle. Visit 2 beautiful waterfalls and stop to go swimming.

La Fortuna: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Arenal

8. La Fortuna: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding on Lake Arenal

Experience the best way to explore beautiful Lake Arenal — go stand-up paddling and get amazing views of the colossal Arenal Volcano. You'll feel like you're walking on water as you cross the lake from one side to the next. This activity is perfect for all adventure enthusiasts, including beginning paddlers. Venture to Costa Rica's largest lake and hop on board a private boat. Meet your friendly captain while your adventurous guide provides you with all the necessary gear. As you embark on your journey out to the middle of Lake Arenal, you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty of Arenal Volcano. When you reach the middle of the lake, your guide will give you plenty of safety instructions and plunk your board into the water. Paddle out on your knees, and when you are ready, stand up, find your balance, and begin crossing the calm waters. About halfway through the tour, make a short stop on an island for amazing scenic views.  After 2.5 hours of paddling, finish your day at the new Pedal and Paddle Adventure store located in the small town of El Foforo on the other side of the lake. Change into dry clothes and fuel up with a refreshing and well-deserved snack before heading back to your hotel.

Arenal Forest: Bird Observation & Photography Tour

9. Arenal Forest: Bird Observation & Photography Tour

If you are a lover of birdsong and enjoy the beautiful colors of these feathered creatures, this tour and outing amongst nature is for you. Enjoy a gentle walk through the forest with the purposes of observing and photographing these incredible animals. The areas around the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal are fantastic for bird watchers. An expert bilingual naturalist and birdwatcher guide will help you find a wide variety of species such as toucans, parrots, orioles, colorful tanagers, parakeets and many more. Birds are most active early in the morning and in the late afternoon as the day cools into evening. For more experienced birdwatchers, you can focus on seeing Royal Flycatchers, White-Fronted Nun birds, Cinnamon Woodpeckers and other less commonly seen species.

From La Fortuna: Arenal Kayaking, Mistico Park & Cerro Chato

10. From La Fortuna: Arenal Kayaking, Mistico Park & Cerro Chato

Kayak on the lake Arenal while you enjoy stunning views of the Arenal Volcano and the Cerro Chato. Lake Arenal is a lake which is situated in the northern highlands of Costa Rica. It is currently the largest lake in Costa Rica at 85-square-kilometre. Its depth varies between 30 and 60 meters seasonally. Admire the Arenal Volcano while paddling through the lake. Afterward, hike the slopes of the Arenal Volcano which is surrounded by beautiful gardens, where you can observe, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, lots of birds, and various species of trees. Explore the forest's stunning vegetation, 2 viewing points, and labyrinth. Enjoy the rainforest while walking through Mistico Park, with 16 bridges (6 hanging and 10 stable). This experience allows you to hike in the heart of the rainforest.

Other Sightseeing Options in Lake Arenal

Want to discover all there is to do in Lake Arenal? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Lake Arenal

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 22 reviews

Great tour, informative and helpful throughout the day and generally made an atmosphere of fun. strange situation with a different company trying to enforce payment to get to the waterfall which our tour guides said was illegal and immoral, a relatively new development with them which means you have to walk round a small island either on rocks or up the river to get to the waterfall but it's still accessible, and beautiful when you get there. the walks aren't for the faint of heart, bit difficult if you're not used to hiking, but we did it in our closed toed sandals so was all good. would recommend these sandals for the waterfall. the guides also went out of their way to find a sloth which we did in the end! the walk up the side of the volcano was pretty chill, great views and got lucky to see the peak. ended the day in what seemed to be fabricated hot springs, not so natural as we would have hoped but did the job. had a great day anyway so Pura Vida!

I have been telling everyone I know about this tour. The guide Mauricio was extremely educated about the plants and animals, was highly energetic and cared a lot that we were content with the activities. There are many moments that I will never forget, like when he got a fellow tourist to climb a tree and shake it so fresh guavas would fall for us. This tour involves a LOT of hiking. We did 19,000 steps. Some parts of the hikes are slippery. You HAVE to wear sneakers or hiking boots. Bring a granola bar and a banana. It’s a 10 hr trek and we had lunch halfway through. With that being said, the lunch was a huge plate and was delicious!

Super fun and memorable tour that we highly recommend to anyone wanting to make the most out of their Costa Rican vacation! How many times do you get to hike close to a scenic volcano, experience the refreshing mist from an enormous waterfall, and take a quick dip in relaxing thermal springs…all who led by an incredibly adventurous and passionate tour guide! Please take this tour if given the chance as you won’t regret it!

The guide and the driver were so friendly! They even bought and cut fruits for us to enjoy during our activities! The guide knows very well the area and the most perfect spots to have a spectacular view.

We had an amazing experience! Isaac was a great tour guide, very knowledgeable and shared great stories. The day is packed with tons of activities and is definitely a must do when in La Fortuna.