General Information about Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano is a 1,633 meter (5,300 feet) high mountain, which is perfectly conically shaped with a crater of 140 meters. Arenal Volcano is geologically considered a young volcano and its age is estimated to be less than 3,000 years. Local residents also refer to the Arenal Volcano as “Arenal Peak” , “Pan de Azúcar”, “The Canaste Volcano”, “The Costa Rica”, “Río Frío Volcano” or “The Guatusos Peak”.
The volcano was asleep for hundreds of years and exhibited a single crater at its summit, with minor fumaroles activity, covered by dense vegetation. In 1968 it had an eruption that destroyed the small town of Tabacón. Due to the eruption three more craters were created on the western flanks of the volcano but only one of them exists at present.
Arenal is considered one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes and has been studied by seismologists from around the world for many years, and although the activity nowadays is less pronounced, you can still see daily columns of ash emanating from the crater of this majestic conically shaped behemoth. The volcano is located in the northern zone of the country, fifteen kilometers southwest of La Fortuna in San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica. The temperature varies between 16 degrees Celsius (60.8 degrees Fahrenheit) in higher altitudes to 24 degrees Celsius (75.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in the lower altitudes and the annually rainfall is around 5,000 mm (195 inches).
The Arenal Volcano area is an important watershed for the Arenal Lake Reservoir. Water from the Arenal Lake is used for hydroelectric power, with the purpose of satisfying the electricity demands of the inter-connected national system and the Guanacaste irrigation projects.
Although the main attraction is the Arenal Volcano; the area offers much more. Next to the volcano is the Arenal Volcano National Park with a wide variety of flora and fauna and a great view of the volcano. Furthermore there is La Fortuna, which is the nearest town to the Arenal Volcano. In addition, there are several other activities and interesting places that can be visited in the area.
First of all, the main attraction; as mentioned above, is the Arenal Volcano. One can often be treated to breathtaking views, including the opportunity to watch the volcano in action, with plumes of smoke emanating from its´ crater.
For a scenic hiking trail and views of the volcano, you can visit the Arenal Volcano National Park. There is an observatory site located in the park from where you have a spectacular view of both the volcano and the Arenal Lake. There are also several hiking trails which you can explore on your own. La Fortuna, as mentioned above, the nearest town to the Arenal Volcano is very user friendly as it is ever more focused on satisfying the needs of the visitors of the Arenal Volcano. In this town you will find ATMs, supermarkets, a post office and internet cafes. You can also find restaurants and hotels of all price ranges.
If you want to do something more adventurous or you want to see other places of interest in the area, you can go on one of the many half day and full day trips that are being offered. These range from adventurous rafting and horseback adventure tours to a relaxing visit to the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge or the La Fortuna Waterfall. In short, there is enough to see and to do in this fascinating and beautiful region to keep you coming back for more.