Jonathan Gregson

Arenal & Around

Whether you approach from the west or from the east, the drive into the Arenal area is spectacular. Coming from Tilarán in the west, the road hugs the northern bank of Laguna de Arenal. The lake and forest vistas are riveting. On either side lovely inns, hip coffeehouses and eccentric galleries appear like pictures in a pop-up book. Approaching from Ciudad Quesada (San Carlos), you’ll have Volcán Platanar as the backdrop, and if the weather cooperates, the resolute peak of Arenal looms in front of you.

The volcano may be dormant, but plenty of adventure still awaits you here. There are trails to hike, waterfalls to rappel down, and sloths to spot. No matter what your preferred method of exploring – hiking, biking, horseback riding, ziplining – you can do it here. And when your body says it’s had enough, you can ease into a volcano-heated pool to soak your aches away.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Arenal & Around.