Lake Arenal is Such a Popular Destination

When you think of Costa Rica, your first thought may be about sandy beaches and clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. But perhaps you didn’t know that Costa Rica’s natural beauty extends much further than just its coastline. Inland, there are many treasures to discover, and if you love watersports you don’t need to be by the ocean – Lake Arenal is the perfect destination if you’re thinking of booking a trip to this unique Central American country.

Read on for more reasons why you should add Lake Arenal to your ‘must visit’ list.

A stunning natural area

The area around Lake Arenal has excellent hiking trails and can be explored on foot, mountain bike or even horseback. The lake itself is of impressive proportions, measuring at nearly 85 square kilometres (33 square miles). In fact, it is so large that it comfortably accommodates a number of water taxi companies which transport tourists from one side to the other. While the lake is to a large degree man-made, having been tripled in size by the building of a dam in the 1970s, it’s nevertheless quite deep – up to 60 meters depending on the season. The watersports experts at can get you out on those glistening waters for an unforgettable experience.

But the real superstar of this area is, of course, the Arenal volcano itself. It has been Costa Rica’s most active volcano for almost half a century, but don’t worry – it is currently in a resting phase. This giant of the volcanic world is what is known as stratovolcano, which means that it is a symmetrical and tall volcano built layer upon layer of solidified lava, ash and rock. Arenal has been sleeping since 2010, with much decreased activity, making right now a particularly safe (although somewhat less dramatic!) time to visit.

Fantastic biodiversity

Costa Rica is a country immensely proud of its natural beauty and resources and it is committed to preserving them. It’s internationally renowned for its conservation work and eco-friendly policies. After a total revamp of its approach to sustainability, it now obtains 99% of its energy from sustainable sources and its once depleted rainforests have doubled. Incredibly, the country is home to 10% of the world’s butterflies and 1400 species of orchids! Overall, it hosts more than 500,000 different species which is approximately 5% of the total biodiversity on the planet. Not bad for a small country of less than 5 million people!

Lake Arenal, which is part of UNESCO’s Agua y Paz (Water and Peace) Biosphere Reserve, is home to a rich biodiversity of plants and animals, including more than 100 species of mammals, around 300 species of birds and a huge variety of fish.

Other attractions

There are other must-see attractions in this area, notably the hot springs (which are often a feature of volcanic landscapes) and the famous Fortuna River Waterfall. The hot springs are a source of gentle rejuvenating power, while to reach the legendary waterfall you must climb down over 500 steps, but don’t worry because there are refreshment spots on the way.