Travel Guide to Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano

arenal volcano

The beautiful and active Volcán Arenal in La Fortuna, Costa Rica is truly a sight to behold. The drive from the city  of San Jose was about three hours long and I must say the roads were unbelievably steep and winding. I recommend flying to Liberia Airport which is a closer option especially if you decide to stay in the area. I , however, went to Playa Jaco for the rest of the week so it made sense to fly in Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose. I stayed in Costa Rica during the last week of October, which is low season for tourism. I absolutely loved the fact that the hotels and parks were not crowded.

Some of the most important things to keep in mind when going to Costa Rica are:

  •  TRANSPORTATION – Transportation is key in Costa Rica! If you know how to drive manual transmission, I suggest rent a car. But for those who do not, renting automatic cars are almost triple the price. I specifically suggest renting a car once in La Fortuna and not from the airport because of the long drive and steep, winding roads. The other option is pay for private shuttle, which my friends and I did. It can get expensive especially if you plan to go from once place to another.
  • HOTELS – There are a lot of hotels in the area, ranging from renting cheap rooms to treehouses to luxury hotels. I initially opted for the Tree Houses Hotel ( but this hotel only has limited houses and it can get expensive in the end. Also this is farther away from the volcano area. But nevertheless, it would still be cool to stay in one of these tree houses! I stayed at the Volcano Lodge & Springs (formerly Volcano Lodge & Gardens) ( I highly recommend this place. Great view, great food, great staff…I love this hotel!

hotel lodge

  • EXCURSIONS – There are a lot of activities and vacation packages available. It can be booked online before the visit or at the hotel. Excursions are also available outside the hotel zone in the town of La Fortuna itself. As a traveler, I don’t usually spend money on expensive packages. I  like figuring activities and places out as a local and there are always cheaper alternatives or free activities.

One of my favorite part was visiting the Arenal Hanging Bridges at the Volcan Arenal National Park.  This is also why I suggest renting a car in La Fortuna. Every thing is within driving distance from the hotels. Lake Arenal, Hanging Bridges,  Arenal Volcano, and hot springs. I was only in La Fortuna for three days and it is not enough. I admit, when I was planning my trip I was more focused on the latter part which is four days in Jaco beach. Looking back now, I can say Arenal Volcano was the highlight of my trip and I have fallen in love with it.

arenal hanging bridge


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Jen is a Chicago-based traveler and a full-time Director of Development for an arts & culture organization. Originally from Connecticut, she created JetsettingJen as a place to share her travel stories and photos with friends and family. Now, it is a place for adventurers, explorers and dreamers. Its purpose is to inspire and encourage people to see the world and achieve a better work-life balance.