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Arenal Volcano - Best Tours & Trips 2019

94 trips to Arenal Volcano tours from 51 tour companies. 347 reviews. 4.8/5 avg rating.
Costa Rica’s 5,400-foot-high Arenal Volcano – still active and given to frequent eruptions in recent decades – forms the centerpiece of a recreation area that dominates the northern reaches of the country. If you love adventure-oriented activities, the Arenal region is the place for you.
All Arenal Volcano tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

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$ 0 $ 10,000+

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Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

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Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Stride Gives Back Stride Gives Back This trip visits a destination impacted by climate change. When you opt in to the Stride Gives Back program, we will donate 10% of our net revenue to organizations that help mitigate climate change in these destinations and across the globe. Learn more

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Colorful Costa Rica

SmarTours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
9 days
$ 211 / day
$ 1,899
From : $ 4,827
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit Tortuguero Village
  • See the Arenal Volcano
  • Explore Monteverde Cloud Forest
  • Visit to Curi-Cancha Forest Reserve
  • See the Oxcart Factory in Sarchi
Visits:
Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
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Costa Rica Adventure Tour

Lost World Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
9 days
$ 239 / day
$ 2,150
From : $ 2,451
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges, a complex of suspended bridges and trails through a beautiful rain forest
  • Cherish the moments in river rafting
  • Explore Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Hike through the trails in the Arenal Volcano National Park
Visits:
Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio National Park, San José, Costa Rica
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Pura Vida in Costa Rica

9 days
$ 377 / day
$ 3,395
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Raft the Río Pacuare, considered by many to be one of the top 10 most beautiful whitewater rivers in the world
  • Zip-line your way through a private rainforest reserve and explore secluded channels by kayak in Tortuguero National Park
  • Take a forest hike near stunning Arenal Volcano and paddle the mystical waters of Lake Arenal
  • Spot a variety of wildlife, including monkeys, iguanas, sloths, toucans, and caimans
  • Enjoy a seamless, flexible, non-stop water park adventure—it's great value and perfect for families!
Visits:
Arenal Volcano, Caribbean, Tortuguero National Park, Costa Rica
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Costa Rica Natural Paradise

8 days
$ 99 / day
$ 1,095
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Enjoy views of waterfalls and the Pacific Ocean.
  • Visit to Costa Rica's most popular park, Poás Volcano
  • Enjoy a scenic drive around Lake Arenal
  • Visit to world famous Manuel Antonio Park
  • Opportunity to cruise on the Tarcoles River and enjoy bird watching and crocodile spotting.
Visits:
Arenal Hot Springs, Manuel Antonio National Park, Pacific Ocean, Rio Frio Cave, Costa Rica
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Central America Explored

35 days
$ 103 / day
$ 3,620
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Relax on an Island getaway in Caye Caulker, Belize
  • Explore the Mayan ruins at Tulum and Tikal
  • Spend a night at our community project Manos Amigos
  • Spend some time in the Bay Island of Roatan in Hondura
  • Explore the Cerro Verde National Park in El Salvador
  • Get active in the Costa Rican cloud forests at Monteverde
  • Free time to explore La Fortuna including visiting the town's famous waterfall and Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Spend the night on Isla Ometepe
Visits:
Antigua, Caye Caulker, Chichen Itza, Chichicastenango, Copan, Granada, Lake Atitlan, Leon, Mayan ruins of Copan, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Ometepe, Playa del Carmen, Roatan, San Ignacio, San José, Tikal, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua
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Islands & Volcanoes of Central America

21 days
$ 109 / day
$ 2,295
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Two days to Explore Antigua
  • Explore the ruins of Copan
  • Spend some time in the Bay Island of Roatan in Hondura
  • Spend a night with a local community project at the Somoto Canyon
  • Explore the Cerro Verde National Park in El Salvador
  • Get active in the Costa Rican cloud forests at Monteverde
  • Free time to explore La Fortuna including visiting the town's famous waterfall and Arenal Volcano National Park
  • Soak up the atmosphere of the colonial towns of Leon and Granada
  • Spend the night on Isla Ometepe
Visits:
Antigua, Copan, Granada, Leon, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Ometepe, Roatan, San José, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua
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Costa Rican Adventure

10 days
$ 330 / day
$ 3,304
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Explore the biodiversity and wildlife of Costa Rica
  • Zipline high up in the rainforest canopy at speeds of almost 60 MPH
  • Lounge on one of the world’s most beautiful beaches at Manuel Antonio State Park
  • See the crocodiles of the Tarcoles up close
  • Ride the rapids of the Sarapiqui River
  • Enjoy the welcoming hospitality and exotic culture of the Tico people
Visits:
Arenal Volcano, Manuel Antonio National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Costa Rica
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Journey along the Spine of the Americas

163 days
$ 85 / day
$ 13,920
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Trek the famous W-Walk in Torres Del Paine National Park
  • Watch Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park
  • Explore scenic Banff National Park and Lake Louise
  • 3 night stay in a community run eco lodge to explore the Amazon Jungle
  • Hike and explore the forest and hills of Jasper National Park
  • Try your luck in glitzy Las Vegas
  • Overnight and explore Lake Nicaragua's volcanic island of Ometepe
  • Visit Antelope Canyon near Page
  • Visit Kenai Fjords National Park and see the massive Exit Glacier
  • Boat trip and night out in the wilds of the Alaskan Wilderness
Visits:
Aguas Calientes, Amazon Rainforest, Anchorage, Antigua, Arches National Park, Arenal Volcano, Arequipa, Banff National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Calgary, Canyonlands National Park, Cartagena, Caye Caulker, Chichen Itza, Chichicastenango, Copan, Cusco, Denali, Denali National Park, Glacier National Park, Granada, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Inca Trail, Jasper, Jasper National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, La Paz, Lake Atitlan, Lake Louise, Lake Nicaragua, Lake Powell, Las Vegas, Leon, Lima, Livingstone, Machu Picchu, Manuel Antonio National Park, Mayan ruins of Copan, Medellin , Mexico City, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Monument Valley, Nazca, Ollantaytambo, Panama City, Quito, Roatan, Sacred Valley, San Cristobal, San Francisco, San Ignacio, Santa Cruz Island, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, United States
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Central America & Northern Andes

66 days
$ 88 / day
$ 5,775
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • 3 night stay in a community run eco lodge to explore the Amazon Jungle
  • Visit the UNESCO world heritage site of Antigua
  • Overnight and explore Lake Nicaragua's volcanic island of Ometepe
  • Go white water rafting, canyoning or trekking in Banos
  • Trek up Santa Ana volcano in Cerro Verde National Park
  • 3 nights on the Caribbean island of Roatan to swim and relax
  • Explore Masaya National Park and its dramatic volcano crater rim
  • 2 nights in La Fortuna with optional excursions to the mighty Arenal volcano
  • Visit the equator monument en-route to Quito
  • Try horse back riding or mountain biking around the stunning landscape
Visits:
Andes Mountains, Antigua, Boquete, Cartagena, Copan, Cuenca, Granada, Leon, Lima, Manuel Antonio National Park, Medellin , Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Ometepe, Otavalo, Panama City, Quito, Roatan, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru
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Ultimate Pan American Overland
Group Tour
Stride climate
This trip visits a destination that is affected by climate change

Ultimate Pan American Overland

211 days
$ 81 / day
$ 17,190
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Trek the famous W-Walk in Torres Del Paine National Park
  • Watch Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park
  • Explore scenic Banff National Park and Lake Louise
  • 3 night stay in a community run eco lodge to explore the Amazon Jungle
  • Hike and explore the forest and hills of Jasper National Park
  • Try your luck in glitzy Las Vegas
  • Overnight and explore Lake Nicaragua's volcanic island of Ometepe
  • Visit Antelope Canyon near Page
  • Visit Kenai Fjords National Park and see the massive Exit Glacier
  • Boat trip and night out in the wilds of the Alaskan Wilderness
Visits:
Alaska, Amazon Rainforest, Anchorage, Antigua, Arches National Park, Arenal Volcano, Arequipa, Atacama Desert, Banff National Park, Bariloche, Boquete, Bryce Canyon National Park, Calgary, Canadian Rockies, Canyonlands National Park, Cape Town, Cartagena, Caye Caulker, Chichen Itza, Chichicastenango, Copacabana, Copan, Córdoba, Cuenca, Denali, Denali National Park, El Calafate, Glacier National Park, Granada, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Inca Trail, Jasper, Jasper National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, La Paz, Lake Atitlan, Lake Nicaragua, Lake Titicaca, Las Vegas, Leon, Lima, Livingstone, Los Glaciares National Park, Machu Picchu, Manuel Antonio National Park, Mayan ruins of Copan, Medellin , Mendoza, Moab, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Monument Valley, Nazca, Ollantaytambo, Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, United States
View Trip

North, Central and Beyond

128 days
$ 92 / day
$ 11,810
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Watch Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park
  • Explore scenic Banff National Park and Lake Louise
  • 3 night stay in a community run eco lodge to explore the Amazon Jungle
  • Hike and explore the forest and hills of Jasper National Park
  • Try your luck in glitzy Las Vegas
  • Overnight and explore Lake Nicaragua's volcanic island of Ometepe
  • Visit Antelope Canyon near Page
  • Boat trip and night out in the wilds of the Alaskan Wilderness
  • Boat trip to the cloud forests of Monteverde Forest Reserve
  • Visit the beaches and guided tour of Manuel Antonio National Park
Visits:
Alaska, Anchorage, Antigua, Arches National Park, Arenal Volcano, Arizona, Banff National Park, Boquete, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canadian Rockies, Canyonlands National Park, Cartagena, Caye Caulker, Central America, Chichen Itza, Chichicastenango, Copan, Denali, Denali National Park, Glacier National Park, Granada, Grand Canyon, Grand Tetons, Jasper, Jasper National Park, Kenai Fjords National Park, Lake Atitlan, Lake Louise, Lake Nicaragua, Lake Powell, Las Vegas, Leon, Livingstone, Manuel Antonio National Park, Mayan ruins of Copan, Medellin , Mexico City, Moab, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Monument Valley, Ometepe, Otavalo, Palenque, Panama City, Quito, Roatan, San Cristobal, San Ignacio, Santa Cruz Island, Seward, Tikal, Whitehorse, Wrangell, Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, United States
View Trip

Discover Costa Rica

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
16 days
$ 209 / day
$ 3,349
From : $ 4,521
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Unrivalled wildlife viewing — Howler monkeys, caiman and sloths 
  • Visit the beaches and waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Verdant rainforest, lush mangroves, lava fields and serene cloud forests
  • Wonderful naturalist guides who will share their love of Costa Rica with you!
  • Relax on idyllic Pacific coast beaches 
  • Stay in comfortable eco-friendly lodges and hotels
Visits:
Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
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Costa Rica Coast to Coast

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
14 days
$ 286 / day
$ 3,999
From : $ 5,399
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Travel from the Caribbean to the Pacific coast
  • Day walks to waterfalls through diverse scenery
  • National parks, forests and volcanoes
  • Comfortable eco-friendly lodges and hotels
Visits:
Guanacaste, Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
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Active Costa Rica

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 168 / day
$ 2,879
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Get your adrenaline pumping on this mixed activity trip - whitewater rafting, canyoning, kayaking and zip-lining included!
  • Experience rainforest, volcanoes and coastline of this diverse ecological paradise
  • Sea kayaking around Manuel Antonio's coastline and snorkel in the Pacific
  • Optional visit to the thermal waters of Ecotermales Hot Springs near Arenal Volcano
  • Stay in comfortable hotels and eco-lodges with the majority of activities included
Visits:
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica
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Natural Highlights of Costa Rica

Exodus Travels
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 205 / day
$ 2,049
From : $ 2,766
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit multiple wildlife habitats in one week: verdant rainforest, lush mangroves, lava fields and serene cloud forests
  • Abundant wildlife viewing with sightings of monkeys, birds and sloths expected
  • Discover the tranquil waterways of Tortuguero, an important nesting site for Green turtles
  • Comfortable eco-friendly lodges and hotels throughout 
  • Two boat trips included at Tortuguero and a boat safari in the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge 
Visits:
Costa Rica
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Top Arenal Volcano Experiences and Attractions

Top Arenal Volcano Experiences

Getting your first glimpse of the beautifully symmetrical volcano, which dominates Costa Rica’s northern landscape

Braving Class IV rapids on a whitewater rafting river trip

Hiking through the rainforest and past lava fields in Arenal National Park

Horseback riding along a forest trail

Relaxing in geothermal hot springs at the base of the volcano

Making your way across a hanging bridge over a deep canyon

Canyoneering down tropical waterfalls

Viewing birds and other wildlife (monkeys, crocodiles, sloths) while floating down a gentle river

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Arenal Volcano Trip Reviews

347 Arenal Volcano Tour Reviews - Summary 99% Recommend

4.8 out of 5
Excellent 286
Great 50
Average 9
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.8
Guide
4.8
Activities
4.8
Lodging
4.8
Transportation
4.8
Meals
4.8

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Cultural and Wildlife experiences.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Educational. Exhilarating. Demanding. Cultural and Wildlife experiences. Friendships. Amusing.

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Operator Dragoman

Our trip through in Central America was great

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Our trip through in Central America was great, fun, interesting and allowed a lot of learning about the different countries. Tony and Louise were always kind. Both are excellent drivers! They were very competent in all the support during the trip.

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Operator Dragoman

I enjoyed it all.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I enjoyed it all. Central America is amazing!

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Operator Dragoman

Thoroughly enjoyed

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Thoroughly enjoyed my 11 weeks on the road through Central America and Colombia.

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Operator Dragoman

Enjoyed the culture of the old Mayan ruins

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Every country was an adventure. Enjoyed the culture of the old Mayan ruins as well as the biodiversity of Costa Rica and Colombia. Highlights were snorkeling in Caye Caulker, seeing the native frogs in Costa Rica, sleeping in hammocks and standing on the equator line in Ecuador.

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Operator Dragoman

Incredibly enjoyable trip

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Incredibly enjoyable trip saw amazing sites and national parks and crew were absolutely brilliant.

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Operator Dragoman

Arenal Volcano Tours and Travel Guide

Arenal Volcano Attractions & Landmarks Guide

Costa Rica’s 5,400-foot-high, symmetrically shaped Arenal Volcano – still active and given to frequent eruptions in recent decades – forms the centerpiece of a recreation area that dominates the northern reaches of the country. Whitewater rafting, waterfall viewing, hiking, birding, caving, horseback riding, canyoning and soaking in hot springs are all popular adventure-oriented pursuits in and around the Arenal region.

Arenal is one of Costa Rica’s six major volcanoes. Dormant since 2010, it was the country’s most active volcano for more than 40 years before that – and could erupt again at any time. Tours to Costa Rica very often feature Arenal, but know that due to several accidents that have occured over the years involving tourists, hiking is around the perimeter only.

Volcanic Activity at Arenal

Arenal literally exploded into the news back in 1968 with a violent eruption after lying dormant for some 450 years – destroying three nearby villages and killing more than 80 people. It was the largest eruption in Arenal’s long history.

For much of the next 43 years, it remained Costa Rica’s most active volcano, spewing lava, ash, smoke, and rock in often spectacular fashion. While it has been inactive since 2010, it is definitely not extinct.

While witnessing a volcanic eruption can be memorable, visiting Arenal in its resting phase – and no one knows how long that will be – means you can enjoy more activities there, while still savoring great views.  

It is a beauty to behold – with a 5,479-foot-high summit and 7,000 years in the making, Arenal boasts the classic conical shape that a volcano seemingly should have. And it’s only about 55 miles northwest of San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital and largest city.

Beware though! The volcano is often encased in fog, and your chances of glimpsing the lava spewing portion of Arenal can be hit or miss. That said, the Arenal experience is far more than just volcanos. There are several outdoor activities to enjoy and if you limit your vacation to just seeing the volcano you will be missing out.

Adventure Activities Around Arenal Volcano

Come prepared for adventure. Some of the outdoor activities you may encounter on your Arenal Volcano tour include:

1. Rainforest hikes

Arenal Volcano is surrounded by Arenal Volcano National Park - 46 square miles of beautiful rainforest, with ample hiking trails, and the volcano visible from almost everywhere. You can also spot it from the canopy if you choose to do the Arenal Hanging Bridges hike. This is one of the best opportunities to spot Arenal wildlife up close.

2. Rappelling down waterfalls and into canyons

Waterfall rappelling is one of the most exhilarating adventure travel activities, and gaining popularity. In Arenal, you’ll take a hike through the forest to the waterfall, making this a very active day, but extremely rewarding.

3. Rafting or floating on three local rivers, ranging from Class I-2 gentle rapids to Class IV whitewater.

Costa Rica is home to some of the world’s most intense whitewater rafter - another tick in the box of why it is is a classic adventure travel destination. The consistent and heavy wet season rains make for year round steadily flowing rivers - the perfect conditions for whitewater rafting.

Near Arenal, three main rivers lend themselves to distinct rafting levels. So don’t worry if you’re not super into the adrenaline pumping kind of rafting. You can enjoy a leisuring floating experience down the Peñas Blancas River, which travels through the gorgeous Tilarán Mountain Range. This is the perfect rafting trip for wildlife spotting.

The other rivers near Arenal are the Balsa River and Toro River. Balsa will involve class II and III rapids, as well as nice stretches of calm waters. This is the perfect river for beginner whitewater rafters, as well as those more experienced who are looking for a well rounded rafting day.

Toro River is a full on advanced whitewater river, where some previous skill and experience will greatly help your enjoyment level. Mainly class III and class IV rapids, the river eventually empties into the Caribbean Sea, after passing through miles of forest and canyons.

4. Soaking in geothermal hot springs

After all that activity, you’ll want to relax. Luckily, Costa Rica is not only an adventure destination but provides ample opportunities for calming revitalization as well.

The geothermal activity from Arenal Volcano makes this a natural destination for hot springs. Enjoy the intensity of the day fading away as you prepare for another day of incredible activity and discovery tomorrow. There are several hot springs throughout Arenal, some public and some private.

(Tip! Hot springs are also a great activity to plan right before you leave - they get you nice and relaxed before your flight).

5. Horseback riding

Exploring the rainforest on horseback feels like traveling back in time as you experience the environment as early explorers would have. Ride to the beautiful La Fortuna Waterfall, which allows for a full day of canyon exploring, swimming, hiking, and enjoying the idyllic rainforest atmosphere.

Most horseback tours in Arenal cater to all different experience levels. The ride is typically about a half hour through the rainforest.

6. Cave exploration

The Venado Caves are located just forty minutes outside of La Fortuna. Beautiful in their own way, caves are an underground world of eerie wildlife, unique rock and limestone formations from the ground and ceiling, and ancient echoes of wind and water.

Thought to have been formed between 15 and 20 million years ago, these caves were first  discovered by indigenous tribes of the area. Bats fly overhead, enormous spiders crawl lazily up the walls, frogs, and other insects make themselves known.

This tour (as is the case with most cave tours) is not recommended for those that get claustrophobic. The water levels fluctuate, but you will most certainly get wet, muddy, and dirty as you crawl through tight spaces. Prepare for an earthy day! 

Arenal Volcano National Park

The national park, which borders Lake Arenal and protects the volcano and its surroundings, offers both excellent viewing of Arenal itself as well as good hiking trails through the area’s rainforests. The long-dormant 3,740-foot-high Chato Volcano is also within park boundaries.

Unbelievable scenic views can be found on a drive around the lake’s perimeter. There are many places to stop and enjoy the stunning scenery along the way.

What to Wear for Arenal Volcano

When you visit Arenal Volcano, you will be doing a lot of hiking and walking through sometimes rough terrain.

Close toed shoes are going to be essential for scrambling over lava rocks, or if you’re going horseback riding. You’ll also want long pants for horseback riding.

Many of the activities around Arenal will have you getting wet, so dressing in quick drying synthetic materials is advised. Packing an extra lightweight change of clothes is a good idea, as long as it doesn’t add too much bulk to your day pack.

Tours in Arenal tend to be full day excursions, so make sure you leave in the morning with everything you’ll need (camera, water, sunscreen, layers).

For caving, wear clothing you really don’t care about getting dirty.

Top Arenal Volcano Travel Companies

Things to Know Before You Go

10 Interesting Arenal Volcano Facts

  • Arenal Volcano’s rock has been carbon dated to be 7,000 years old
  • Arenal Volcano has had the 33rd most deadly volcano eruption in human history
  • There are 200 volcanoes in Costa Rica, and Arenal is 1 of the only 5 active ones.
  • Arenal’s first eruption was in 1968, killing 87 people and completing burying 3 villages in lava. Luckily, Arenal has remained dormant since 2010, and all current buildings are built a safe ways away from the volcano.
  • 75% of all of Costa Rica’s bird species can be found in the Arenal Volcano National Park.
  • It is the 3rd most perfect conically-shaped volcano in the world.
  • Some of the water heated by the volcano is funneled into the Arenal Lake Reservoir, which provides 40% of Costa Rica’s hydroelectric power.
  • 3 different kinds of rainforests have been identified in Arenal National Park.
  • There have been several reported UFO sightings over the volcano.
  • The nearby volcano, Chato, is considered to be the “little brother” of Arenal.

Arenal Volcano Weather

Temperature in the Arenal Volcano National Park is consistently warm. The temperature is usually around 75 degrees Fahrenheit, though at higher altitudes the weather is a little bit cooler, averaging between 60 degrees Fahrenheit. It generally becomes a little windier in the region during the winter, which may make things feel cooler. It is recommended that you pack layers.

Annually, Arenal receives around 195 inches of rain, so consider bringing a rain jacket on your visit!

9 Best Activities at Arenal Volcano

  1. Zipline for miles through the jungle canopy

  2. Hike the hanging bridges through the rainforest

  3. Canyon a waterfall

  4. Raft some of the best whitewater rafting water in the world

  5. Go for a relaxing swim in the Volcano-heated hot springs

  6. Take a rafting safari on the Peñas Blancas River

  7. Take a leisurely hike to get the best volcano views

  8. Paddle board, swim, or canoe in Lake Arenal

  9. Explore caves around the National Park

Hotels & Lodging at Arenal

Because of the destination’s popularity, there are plenty of options for accomodation around the  volcano, especially on its Northeastern side. Most hotels are resort-style lodging, and some even have direct access to the volcano’s hot springs.

If you are a traveling on a budget or basic trip, then you might expect to spend a couple nights in one of the various chain hotels in the area. These lodgings are comfortable and practical, but may lack some of the authenticity and complementary features of nicer lodging.

One of the benefits of going on a group tour is that you may also have the option to do a homestay on your trip of Costa Rica. Living in a local family’s home while on your Arenal vacation will greatly enhance your immersion into Costa Rican life.

You may be served a bona  fide Costa Rican breakfast, taken on a tour of your host’s working farm, and you will have unlimited opportunities to ask any questions you may have.

All Arenal Volcano tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages. Average rating of 4.8 for all Arenal Volcano trips.

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