The Arenal region of Costa Rica is a tourist hotspot attracting nature lovers and eco-tourists who are among the millions of visitors every year that come to take in the expansive mountain, lake and volcano views, and also bask in the lands natural beauty
- Spoil yourself at any of the surrounding spas/hot springs in the area
- The lake attracts world class windsurfers from all over the globe
- Try Bird Watching for parrots, hummingbirds, white hawks and toucans
Located next to Arenal Lake and at the base of Costa Rica’s most active volcano, is the popular and charming town of Nuevo Arenal providing its guests with grocery stores, mini-markets, restaurants, hotels, resorts, bars, banking services, a health clinic and plenty of souvenir shops. There is a relatively active nightlife and an eclectic mix of people who visit and live in the area.
In 1973 when a dam was built in the region, Nuevo Arenal or New Arenal came into existence when the waters of the lake rose and the former town of Arenal disappeared underwater. Built on higher safer ground, Nuevo Arenal is a small town with all the basic necessities that one would need. Nuevo Arenal lies on the north east side of Lake Arenal and is approximately 30 minutes from the town of Tilaran. You can also access this tiny town through La Fortuna de San Carlos following a scenic road along the lake. With an altitude of 620 meters above sea level, the weather in this area is comfortable as the climate remains cool and fresh all year long.
The best way to get to the Arenal region is to either fly to the San Jose International Airport or the Liberia International Airport and then drive out by rental car, taxi or private tours. The primary attraction here is the Arenal Volcano as it is one of the top ten active volcanos in the world. It presents a truly majestic sight, as it spews molten rocks and ash from its summit on a daily basis. With these regular eruptions, from the right location you can hear the rumbling and see steam rising as lava flows on the volcano.
Lake Arenal or Laguna de Arenal, is an ideal destination for any outdoor enthusiast because of its varied activities. Plenty of good sports fishing can be had as this clear and pristine lake is filled with fresh water fish, South American bass and the Rainbow bass – locally known as guapote that can weight up to 4 kg. The lake also attracts world class windsurfers from all over the globe due to its consistent breeze, and in December through April the lake is transformed into a windsurfer’s paradise due to the strong winds. The Arenal region offers numerous hiking and horse riding trails near the volcano and lake where one can see stunning waterfalls, gushing rivers, ancient caves and multiple types of flora and fauna. Try Bird Watching for parrots, hummingbirds, white hawks and toucans, and be sure to keep an eye out for animals such as Howler & White Faced Monkeys and Coatis.
For a truly rejuvenating trip, go ahead and spoil yourself at the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort or at any of the surrounding spas/hot springs in the area. Arenal Volcano erupts so often that on a clear night with a minimum amount of cloud cover you can be treated to a glorious show as red lava rocks tumble down the side of the volcano.
Just north of this area lies the Caño Negro Nature Reserve that is well worth the visit. Your trip can be arranged from either Nuevo Arenal or Tilaran, both of which offer day tours. On the way out of town, try to visit the lovely butterfly farm and Arenal Botanical Gardens, some 4 km east of Nuevo Arenal.
There is a small public park on the lake with a nice pavilion. The Guapote fishing is pretty good at the end of the point.
Like most of the Northern Region, Nuevo Arenal enjoys temperatures that hover between the upper 70s during the day and the lower 60s at night. The wet season runs from May through June and September through November, with the heaviest rains experienced in September and October.
You’ll also find a delightful selection of restaurants in Nuevo Arenal, including some of the best dining options in Costa Rica.