Top things to do

Top Choice International in Nuevo Arenal

Gingerbread Hotel & Restaurant

Don’t miss the chance to eat at one of the best restaurants in northwestern Costa Rica, right on the lake. The larger-than-life, New York–trained Israeli chef turns out transcendent meals from the freshest local ing…
Cafe in Nuevo Arenal

Tinajas Arenal

With glorious sunsets and a dock for boat access, this is a hidden gem. The chef – who works in tandem with his talented mom – has created a menu of traditional favorites and new surprises, using fresh seafood and o…
Soda in San Luis & Tronadora

Brisas Del Lago

If you don’t mind a little detour, here is your lunch stop between Monteverde and Arenal. Simple Tico fare is done with panache at this dressed-up soda. They marinate chicken breasts in their own BBQ sauce, skewer T…
Italian in Nuevo Arenal

Los Platillos Voladores

The plates really do fly out of this carry-out joint right in the center of Nuevo Arenal, which gets raves for its homemade pasta, roast chicken and fresh salads. It’s mostly Italian – the eggplant Parmesan is delec…
Cafe in Nuevo Arenal

Moya’s Place

Murals, masks and other indigenous-inspired art adorn the walls at this friendly cafe. Take your pick from the delicious sandwiches, well-stuffed wraps and burritos, and tasty thin-crust pizza. This place is a sort …
Brewery in West End of Laguna de Arenal

Lake Arenal Hotel & Brewery

If you like beer, consider staying at the only hotel (that we're aware of) that has a microbrewery onsite, mixing up the hops and barley to bring you delicious and unusual beers, such as the LAB chili lager and piña…
Barbecue in West End of Laguna de Arenal

Equus Bar-Restaurant

Follow your nose to this authentic stone-built tavern, 14.5km west of Nuevo Arenal, where the meat is cooked in an open fire pit, producing decadent, delicious aromas. Take a seat at a wooden-slab picnic table and d…
Cafe in West End of Laguna de Arenal

Café y Macadamia

We should start by acknowledging that $4 is a lot for a muffin, BUT these banana macadamia nut muffins are irresistible, especially when accompanied by a cup of Costa Rica coffee and a spectacular view over Laguna d…
Bakery in Nuevo Arenal

Tom’s Pan

Better known as the ‘German bakery,’ thanks to the signs that litter the lake road, this landmark is a famous rest stop for road-trippers heading to/from Tilarán. Its breads, strudels and cakes are all homemade, and…
Soda in Nuevo Arenal

Las Delicias

A cheap and cheerful soda near the top of the hill as you approach town, with ample wooden-table seating. It does Western-style breakfasts, pasta dishes, quesadillas and grilled steaks on the cheap, but it’s known f…