This excellent combination of hiking the Arenal Volcano before luxuriating in the warm waters of one of Costa Rica’s most famous natural hot springs offers the ultimate opportunity to fully immerse yourself in a total volcanic experience. With transportation provided from the beach areas of Flamingo, Papagayo, Playa Grande and Tamarindo, you can sit back and relax in the air conditioned bus looking forward to your day ahead.
Once you arrive at the Arenal Volcano you’ll stretch your legs as you hike into the rainforest canopy surrounded by giant trees draped in hanging vines, lush ferns, orchids and bromeliads. Your naturalist guide will regale you with fascinating facts regarding the adaptation of this wooded wonderland to an active volcano environment with its interesting inhabitants both flora and fauna.
This rain forest is home to many exotic birds, including Toucans and parrots, as well as two species of monkeys: the white faced capuchin and the bellowing howler monkeys. Each day’s sightings are different so there is no way to predict what might be seen, but your experienced guide will be ever alert to the sounds around you to spot and identify any available wildlife.
On your leisurely 40 minute hike you’ll reach the base of the volcano and begin the gradual ascent up to the old lava flows where you’ll traverse the volcano’s west side until you reach the Mirador, or look-out point. From here you’ll see magnificent views of Lake Arenal and learn about its unusual history. Your guide will also show you the geographical features of both the majestic Arenal Volcano and its companion, the Chato Volcano.
Side by side, Chato is an extinct volcano formed 38,000 years ago while Arenal Volcano is still a youngster at only 7,000 years old. Arenal’s last major eruption in 1968 began its most recent active period with regular activity until it entered an indeterminate resting phase in 2010. During this period it was considered one of the 10 most active volcanoes in the world. Volcanologist say they cannot predict its next eruption cycle but agree it could occur at anytime or… maybe not again for several centuries! Currently it is not considered extinct yet is considered safe for tourist exploration.
Lake Arenal’s history is almost as interesting. The government of Costa Rica decided to widen the lake in the 1970s to create a dam that would provide electricity for the growing needs of the country. In doing so they had to build new towns to provide housing for the people who would be displaced by the larger lake. Two old towns are now completely underwater at the base of the volcano which is why you might travel through a town called “Nuevo Arenal” (or New Arenal) en route to your adventure. Today’s 33 mile long beautiful Lake Arenal is surrounded by one of the most scenic roads in Costa Rica.
After your hike, you will then go to Tabacon Hot Springs for a delicious gourmet lunch before relaxing in Tabacon’s warm, river fed grottos in the mist of a tropical rain forest . World renowned for its natural setting it was turned into a wellness spa by an architect who fell in love with the landscape and sought to preserve its intoxicating beauty, complete with waterfalls, to provide an authentic healing encounter with Nature. Here you’ll immerse yourself in the gentle cascading waters and explore warm pools along the riverbed. In this luxurious setting you can also find a swim up wet bar or go for a walk in the beautiful native botanical gardens.
On your way traveling back to your beach lodgings, you will be stopping to dine at a restaurant selected for its authentic cuisine. Depending on traffic and in which beach area you are staying; transportation time can take from 3 to 4 hours each way. This full day adventure is sure to create lasting memories of what makes Costa Rica so captivating.