Three Day Itinerary to Arenal
Last time I visited La Fortuna, it was to admire the volcano nearby. Arenal was known to spew out lava and produce beautiful fiery night skies. Each night, we would hope the volcano was not covered in clouds so we could watch the show.
Arenal has been dormant since 2010 yet La Fortuna remains to be one of the top destinations around Costa Rica. Perhaps it is because there are several volcanic hot springs to relax in and a plethora of activities to indulge in. Arenal is also just a majestic sight to look at!
We spent three nights in the area. Tropical Suites, a set of villas attached to Brisas Arenal was our base. We had a secluded cabin equipped with a private hot tub. Plus, there was stellar view of Arenal and an adorable dog, Sammy, living there!
We spent the first morning on a “jeep-boat-jeep” transfer from Monteverde. When I made this transfer 14 years ago, there were certainly 4x4s involved. Today there just seems to be busloads of tourists getting from one end of the lake to the other. That said, it is still quicker than driving around the mountains.
Upon arrival, we spent the afternoon wandering around the backpacker town of La Fortuna. The town is filled with restaurants, bars and shops selling tours to everything from caving to white water rafting.
The Lost Canyon
We decided that we would put our rock climbing skills to use and go for a waterfall rappelling trip. The tour took us into the jungle where we got harnessed up and hiked through the rainforest to check out some waterfalls. There was a bit of down climbing along the canyon walls and a lot of walking through river boulders to get to the falls. The rappels themselves were quite small but it was a nice day of beautiful scenery and a bit of adventure.
La Fortuna Waterfall
There are waterfalls all around the area, but an easy to get to one is La Fortuna Waterfall in Arenal National Park. It’s 70 meters high and there are about 500 steps down to the base, making it easy to access. We woke up early one morning and decided to check it out before the crowds came. Easy and worth a couple hours for a few photos. Plus potentially a quick swim in some cold, but refreshing waters.
Eco Termales Hot Springs
After all of our adventures, we decided to spend one of our last days soaking in the hot springs. In 1968, Arenal’s eruption created thermal hot springs. There are dozens in the area and the options range from free to luxurious so it’s not easy to choose where to go.
We ended up visiting Eco Termales primarily based on availability – it was the most luxurious available for our dates. This location is known as the only true natural hot spring in the area as it feed directly from the waters heated by Arenal. Hard to say if that’s true or not, but it’s a nice property with thermally heated pools ranging from 99F to 106F and a couple cool pools as well. There’s a restaurant and bar onsite and it’s a great location to relax and lounge around for a day.
Rafting on the Sarapiqui River
We rafted our way into the new year by taking a trip down the Sarapiqui River.
This trip started in the town of San Miguel and we experienced about 40 rapids over 22 kilometers of the rainforest. It was considered class 3 and 4 although it felt more like class 3. We went straight from this trip to San Jose to head home!