The Arenal Volcano National Park, one of the popular tourist attractions/locations in Costa Rica, attracts about 100,000 visitors per year, comprises hot springs, lake Arenal, La Fortuna Waterfall, diverse wildlife and plants, and two volcanoes, with the Arenal Volcano being the most popular and well-recognized active volcano in Costa Rica.
The 1657m high conical andesitic stratovolcano is the youngest and one of the most active stratovolcanos in Costa Rica.
The volcano, though beautiful, is famous for the large explosive eruption in 1968 that threw incandescent bombs to a distance of 5 km, from the vent, killing several people.
Tourists are prohibited from ascending the active Arenal Volcano, as it is not safe to climb. But tourists and visitors can climb the nearby extinct Cerro Chato volcano.
Tourists are free to observe the volcano from the closest safe observation points, which are the perimeters that not within the high-risk danger zone.
These safe perimeters vary in distance from the volcano because of the geographical features that make certain areas, in the event of a large eruption, more prone to danger than others.
The average safe observation perimeter is between 1 – 2 kilometers But this does not apply to park officials and scientists, who are permitted to get closer to the volcano.
It is recommended that visitors/tourists stay in one of the “observatory” type lodges, and rise with the sun, as the clouds, which can obscure the view of the volcano tend to move in soon after sunrise. Many hotels and resorts and spas abound around the volcano that visitors can avail themselves of.
Arenal Volcano National Park Wildlife and Plants
The Arenal Volcano National Park also consists of diverse wildlife and plants. The wildlife includes jaguar, deer, coati, the white-faced capuchin monkeys, and snakes like the fer-de-lance and parrot snake.
While the plant life varies from, for example, orchids, heliconias, ferns, laurel, cirri, guayabo de monte, palms, bromeliads, and strangler figs to mention these few.
Tourists to the Arenal Volcano National Park can also enjoy ziplines, hanging bridges, and horseback riding.