Outdoorsy types will love the Arenal Volcano and Monteverde areas for their devotion to nature. The primary attraction here is a nature reserve, so there are plenty of nature sites, hiking trails, hanging bridges and animal exhibits to see. The Monteverde area is famous for its conservation efforts and tourism industry centered on nature. Similarly, the Arenal area is concentrated around the Arenal Volcano’s giant stature, which creates a picturesque backdrop and thermal springs for its nature-minded resort areas below. The unique landscape of these sites combined with the rich amount of natural beauty they offer make this region an adventurer’s paradise. Go exploring through the region by biking, hiking or horseback riding—your choice. This is nature you can’t miss.
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Eco-friendly explorers enjoy the Arenal Volcano/Monteverde area for its hiking tours, thermally heated rivers and amazing forest views. On the other hand, beach lovers are at home in the Guanacaste Beach Region, which offers gorgeous turquoise water and powdery white sand for an experience in paradise. The Gulf of Nicoya region is made up of fun-loving beach towns with surfers and adventure seekers breaking waves, exploring the forest and partying on the beach. And San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica is home to the country’s cultural dedications, offering authentic shops and the coolest of the country’s youth.
The Costa Rican Cloud Forest
You've probably heard of a rain forest, but a cloud forest? While rain forests grow at lower altitudes, cloud forests grow as high as 8,000 feet above sea level. The high elevation produces cool, mystic air that creates an incredibly diverse environment. And, they're rare. Cloud forests of the world only cover one percent of the earth's woodlands.
Try out the cloud forest experience for yourself inside the 25,000-acre Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve. There's no place better to see so many different types of plant and animal species. Bird watchers travel from all over to seek out the endangered Resplendent Quetzal and Three-Wattled Bellbird, who call the cloud forest their home. Cat lovers search for jaguars, ocelots and pumas. And everyone loves catching glimpses of the colorful toucans and playful howler monkeys.
Zip Away on a Canopy Tour!
Zipping through a forest is like a rite of passage for visitors to Costa Rica. You can start your adventure in the treetops at the foot of the Arenal Volcano. From there, zip lines take you on exciting rides soaring through the sky on 12 different platforms.
For a bit less of an adrenaline rush, you can try the hanging bridges tour near the volcano, where you’ll walk across the canopy of the forest while a guide fills you in on the secrets of its history.
For an in-depth adventure in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, take the canopy tour with 21 platforms and more than 2 miles of cable completely inside the forest.
Butterfly and Frog Exhibits
Maybe you like only the prettiest of insects and the most adorable of amphibians, and don't want to venture too deep in the forest to find them. Then for you, butterfly and frog exhibits are the way to go.
The Ranario in Monteverde (rana means frog in Spanish) is home to more than 25 different frog species, including Costa Rica’s signature red-eyed tree frog. Hop on over to the Ranario to see it and other little cuties. To find fluttering mariposas, (butterflies) you’ll want to visit the Monteverde Butterfly Garden in the daytime to see these beautiful and colorful creatures in action.
Have you ever relaxed in a Jacuzzi? Now, imagine that feeling, except you’re in a natural waterfall and river of deliciously soothing water. That’s the magic of volcanic activity.
Thermal springs only exist near volcanoes because they're created when magma and minerals rise to heat rainwater in natural bodies of water. So after you unwind in the hot springs near Arenal Volcano, you'll get to go home and impress your friends with your new volcano knowledge too.
There are tons of places to take advantage of these awesome hot springs. The Royal Corin Hotel even has thermal pools right on its property. But no matter where you stay in the Arenal/Monteverde area, you can take excursions to experience nature's Jacuzzi in person. Just ask us and we'll show you the way. You can thank Mother Nature when you get there.
La Fortuna Waterfall
On your visit to the Arenal Volcano National Park, you should definitely make your way toward the Catarata Rio Fortuna, as it's called in Spanish. The gorgeous waterfall cascades down a massive cliff through lush, green trees and jungle.
The La Fortuna Waterfall streams at the foot of the smaller Chato Volcano inside the national park, just southeast of Arenal. Take the visit on a horseback riding tour for the most scenic and breathtaking views of the forest and wildlife.
As you get closer to the falls, you'll be so impressed with the beauty of the cascading water funneling down to the natural pool at the bottom. Make sure to pack a swimsuit so you can enjoy the refreshing water at the end of your tour.
The Colon. U.S. dollars and major credit cards are widely accepted.
The outlets are 110 V, with standard U.S. two-prong plugs.
A valid passport is mandatory to enter Costa Rica.
The water is potable, but bottled water is recommended in areas surrounding the coast.
Central Standard Time (UTC/GMT -6 hours)
Dry Season, December- May