Awesome Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica
Arenal, Costa Rica is located in the La Fortuna region which is infamous for being an adventure seekers hot spot. Some even go so far as to call Arenal the adventure capital of Costa Rica. While the attractions in Arenal make it a popular tourist area, 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. W
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Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica – Quick Links
Adventurous Things to do in Arenal Costa Rica
If you’re seeking action, adventure and a lot of thrills, then you will love the attractions in Arenal. The majority of the Arenal activities will take at least half of your day, which is why you will benefit from spending at least 2-3 days in the Arenal area. If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Arenal then check out the Arenal Costa Rica hotels.
If you enjoy being surrounded by nature, wildlife and all things green, then you will love the many fun things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica. The La Fortuna region has it all. You can expect breath-taking scenery, spectacular views and if you’re lucky, an abundance of wildlife you can see in its natural habitat.
Whether you’re looking for unique adventures, or a brush with nature and wildlife, you will be sure to leave La Fortuna exhausted, but totally exhilarated. So find out what to do in La Fortuna Arenal for an exciting vacation.
1) Take a Mountain bike ride to Catarata Rio Fortuna waterfalls
Caterata Arenal, Costa Rica is a brilliant waterfall that is a must visit! Located within the La Fortuna national park, If you like cycling, or just don’t want to walk, rent a mountain bike and cycle to it. The ride to Catarata waterfall is all uphill, so you can of course grab a taxi or walk. However, you’d miss out on an exhilarating ride back down.
Catarata Rio Fortuna waterfall (also known as La Fortuna waterfall) is beautifully immersed within the rainforest and on a clear day you will see the striking view from the top of the waterfall. You can’t mountain bike in the area, so take a short hike down to the bottom of the waterfall. Alternatively, you have the option of horseback riding, or including a visit to this waterfall in a broader tour package. You can even choose to zipline over the La Fortuna waterfall if you dare!
2) Rappel La Fortuna Waterfalls with a Canyoning / Canyoneering experience
Costa Rica Canyoning in Arenal is a thrilling experience that you must add to your bucket list. The diverse rainforest in La Fortuna creates the perfect ingredients for natural canyons and waterfalls and is one of the more unique things to do in Arenal Costa Rica.
Canyoneering is an adventurous twist on abseiling and is a thrilling experience that needs to be on your bucket list. What better way to get your kicks, than repelling down a waterfall into the fresh water below? Check out the Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping Extreme Canyoning tour if you want to try this Arenal activity out for yourself.
3) Zipline and Swing Like Tarzan in the Arenal Rainforest
Ziplining in Costa Rica just has to be done. There is no two ways about it, one of the fun things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica is jungle ziplining. If you’ve always wondered what it is like to feel like Tarzan, then I highly recommend this activity!
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 rainforest of the Arenal Volcano. What better way to see the rainforest than gliding through it like a gibbon? This is also the only tour provider where you can get a rush from ziplining at night!
4) Brave the Hanging bridges of Arenal Park
If you’re good with bridges, or would just like to conquer your fear, then head to one of the popular arenal tourist attractions, the hanging bridges in Arenal Park. The hanging bridges are located within a huge natural park so you will see plenty of wildlife and fauna while crossing 9 fixed and 6 suspension bridges.
I don’t know about you, but I find these types of activities terrifying but oh so fun! The Arenal hanging bridges group tour with Get My Guide is led by a certified naturist guide so you will be sure to learn about the native animals of the area.
5) Bath in the natural Hot Springs in La Fortuna
If you’re wondering what to do in Arenal La Fortuna, the Hot Springs have to be on the top of your list. The Costa Rica Hot Springs provide the perfect way to take a relaxing soak in the sublime waters from the warm waters. Heated by the natural thermal energy from the Arenal volcano, there are many hot springs to choose from.
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 actually saves a rainy day. Imagine floating in beautifully warm water with a drink in your hand as the cold rain hits your face. Devine.
Take a look at the different Arenal hot springs in Costa Rica as each of them have different spa and catering options. You can book the hot springs separately and enjoy the full 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
Lake Arenal Costa Rica is the largest lake in the whole of of the country. At over 33 square miles, there are many things to do in Lake Arenal Costa Rica, so you can make a full day of it.
Complemented by the spring-like climate, the beautiful landscape provides plenty of fun Lake Arenal activities. Why not try your luck at spotting exotic wildlife? You can expect to see a variety of colourful birds, hear the chorus of the jungle frogs and see a plethora of interesting animals.
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. Its 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
The Arenal Volcano is the centrepiece of all the best things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica. If you are visiting Arenal Costa Rica in dry season, the spectacular Arenal volcano will set a mesmerising backdrop to this beautiful city. Standing at over 1,600 meters, the Arenal Volcano will certainly grab your attention. However, if you’d like to get up close and personal, there are two main Arenal Volcano hikes available:
- Arenal volcano national park
- Arenal 1968 trail
The green lagoon in the centre of Arenal volcano is not to be missed. Bring your swim suit 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, then visit the Arenal Observatory. Or, you could go off the beaten path and follow your own unique trail.
Whilst, you can book each of these things separately, you can combine these experiences and also have your transport, lunch and guide covered. A lot of trips conclude with a visit to a hot springs 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 a action-packed day. You can expect smaller restaurants that are a favourite for the locals and bigger establishments that cater more towards tourists. Try both as you will get the authenticity from the local eateries and meet likeminded travellers from the bigger restaurants.
Most bars and restaurants in Arenal are close by the Parque de La Fortuna so this is a good place to start and work outwards. If you’re looking for some great vegetarian options, then try Chifa La Familia Feliz which is a chinese/peruvian. However most places will have veggie options and it will be amiss to not try some authentic Costa Rican food; Gallo Pinto and Cassardo.
There are many different bars in Arenal Costa Rica, but my personal favourite is the La Fortuna pub as it played good music, had friendly local staff and served some delicious cocktails. There’s definitely a backpacker vibe around this area and you can choose from more 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 great transport links to and from San Jose and the rest of Costa Rica so you can easily include Arenal in your itinerary. The most difficult part will be to decide what to do in Arenal La Fortuna! Does a dip in the natural hot springs take your fancy, or would you rather hike or mountain bike? If you’re adventurous or outdoorsy, my advice is save up and do as much of it as you can.
Now I’ve wet your appetite for adventure, take a look at the tour options that await you.
If you’re not ready to book yet, 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. Doing a little bit of research into the Arenal activities now will help you customise your perfect experience.
Do you have a bigger trip planned? If so, then 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.