Sure the beaches are great but how often do you get to break out your inner-Tarzan?
Though it hasn’t been spouting ash or lava for a few years now, it’s still a volcano. With an elevation of 5358ft above the jungle floor it is quite impressive. Arenal has not spewed smoke or lava since October 2010 but is still an active volcano and may yet have some action in store for us. When it blew in 1968, 3 villages were buried and 87 people died. Just the possible danger factor is exciting and the hiking is excellent.
Arenal Lake Reservoir
At 30 KM long and 5 Km wide at its’ widest, this is one huge puddle of water. For you kilometer challenged it adds up to 33 square miles of aquatic recreation. Wind surfing, wake boarding and, my favorite, just jumping in the water to cool off, are very popular here. Watercraft of all types are available for rent and at a depth of 100-200ft you can be assured there are some fish to be caught as well.
Sky Trek Zip Line
If you have ever tried any zip-lines in the states, now is the time to step it up to the big leagues. Located on the south side of the Arenal volcano, this zip-line flies as high as 200 meters. That’s over 650ft to you and me. That works out to over 60 stories, so imagine Zip-lining off the Republic Plaza in downtown Denver and it’s higher than that. It kind of makes the zip-lines off I-70 look like Kiddie Land. It kind of makes every zip-line in America look like Kiddie Land. This is a must do, unless you’ve just recovered from shoulder surgery and have to settle for the nature hike with the women and children. Trust me; I’ll never live that one down.
This seems like a trip for grandma in the brochures but the jungle shows no mercy. Actually Grandma could probably enjoy it as well but it is a jungle so it is hot, sticky and did I mention, hot? The suspension bridges afford you views of the jungle eco-system you would not otherwise see. You’ll see vines that Tarzan could swing on. If you’re lucky you’ll see some monkeys. If you’re real lucky you’ll see some Viper snakes, one of the deadliest around. If you’re real, real lucky it will be from a distance.
There are numerous hot springs in the area. What makes them cool, or hot for that matter, is they are heated by a volcano. Tabacon is a popular tourist spot but just up the road and across the street is a free site frequented by the locals. They don’t serve you drinks but you can bring your own. Just don’t tell anyone else; we don’t want to spoil it.
La Fortuna Waterfall
The La Fortuna waterfall plummets 200ft to a large, refreshing pool. Located just 5km out of town, this is a gorgeous site well worth the $10 entrance fee. You can hike in for an hour or just pay at the gate and make a knee-crunching trek down hundreds of stairs. The climb back up isn’t as hard as you would think, especially if you are from a high-altitude city like Denver, but the walk down will rattle your knees. It’s well worth it though as you jump into the ice cold water and wash off all that sweat. Did I mention it’s hot down there?
La Fortuna, the Town
Not only is La Fortuna a very, pleasant and safe town, they have pay phones in the park. How Quaint. Although the Arenal Volcano is semi-dormant right now, they do have the Lava Lounge in town where the bartenders are friendly and offer up numerous shots of liquors you’ve never heard of. Come on, you just zip-lined over 200 meters high, trekked through a jungle, climbed down to a waterfall and boiled your buns in a hot spring. What’s a little hangover to you Tarzan?
By Michael Ryan