In northern Costa Rica, you'll find the country's beloved Arenal region with its main town, La Fortuna. Of all the regions in Costa Rica, many adventure-seeking travelers choose Arenal/La Fortuna, as it offers an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities. The area's highlight is surely the Arenal Volcano, a cone-shaped mountain with Lake Arenal, Costa Rica's largest lake, at its base. The volcano and lake alone offer exciting excursions, including standup paddleboarding, hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Although the volcano is the region's draw, you'll find even more unique experiences to enjoy, such as hiking across a turquoise river to a beautiful lagoon, whitewater rafting, or rappeling down a waterfall. In addition, you can ride the tram, fly across zip lines, and trek across hanging bridges to explore the jungles. And if you need a day to rest, there are plenty of other things to do in Arenal/La Fortuna, plus lots of delicious eateries in La Fortuna town.
With so much coastline to enjoy, you might not set your sights on the country's inland for water sports. But in Arenal/La Fortuna, you can standup paddleboard at the base of a volcano, rappel down waterfalls, and enjoy some of the most thrilling whitewater rafting in Costa Rica.
Standup Paddleboarding (SUP) on Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal is Costa Rica's largest inland body of water, set beautifully under the gaze of the Arenal Volcano. After a quick SUP lesson (or a refresher for seasoned paddlers) enjoy plenty of time to paddle on the lake, explore islands, and find waterbirds. Before you head back to the boat, be sure to enjoy the special spot near the center of the lake, where you get direct views of the volcano. Read More
Whitewater Rafting on the Sarapiquí River
The Sarapiquí River features over 30 Class III and IV rapids, making it an ideal location for some thrilling whitewater rafting! However, this stretch also offers calm areas to savor the river's beauty and stop for a picnic lunch with traditional Costa Rican food. Altogether, you'll paddle roughly seven miles downstream. Read More
Partake in one of Costa Rica's most popular adventure sports: waterfall rappelling. You'll start with a picturesque hike into the rainforest. Then, after strapping into a harness, you'll learn how to rappel down a waterfall, enjoying a different perspective of the country's famed cascades of Arenal. After a few rounds, enjoy a refreshing splash in the pool below! Read More
Hike, Bike, & Horseback Ride
When not enjoying the water, Arenal/La Fortuna offers just as many exciting on-land experiences, including some of the most beautiful trekking, horseback riding, and mountain biking in Costa Rica.
Sky Tram, Zip Line, & Bridges Walk
Enjoy a unique exploration of Arenal's rainforests with a trip on the sky tram, a ride on zip lines, and a hike along the skywalk hanging bridges. Start with a ride on the open-air gondola with 360° views of the surrounding landscape. Then, fly through the jungle on a series of zip lines that reach 660 feet tall and over 2,000 feet long. End the excursion with a hike across hanging bridges, where a naturalist will help you identify the famed flora and fauna of the region. Read More
Trekking to Laguna de Hule
Set at the Cerro Congo Volcano base is one of Costa Rica's most impressive sites: the Hule Lagoon. To get there is half the fun, as you'll trek through rainforests and grassy plains filled with beautiful flora and fauna. Keep an eye out for birds, sloths, and monkeys as you pass several other lagoons and waterways, eventually ending at Hule for a picnic lunch. Read More
Mountain Biking at Lake Arenal
Join the locals for one of Costa Rica's favorite pastimes and ride a mountain bike around the scenic Lake Arenal. After getting acquainted with your equipment, your guide will take you across one of the best mountain biking routes in Costa Rica, cycling through farmland, woods, and rivers. As you ride, enjoy views of the Arenal Volcano and keep an eye out for wildlife, including monkeys, birds, coatimundis, and more. Read More
Horseback Riding at Arenal Volcano
Enjoy an epic excursion of the Arenal Volcano on horseback. After getting to know your horse, saddle up and head out on ancient trails that pass through several ecosystems, including forests, farmland, and lagoons. The highlight of the ride is the exceptional view of the volcano. Along the way, your guide will point out the area's flora and fauna and reveal the geologic history. Read More
How to Craft the Perfect Active Itinerary in Arenal/La Fortuna
Because Arenal/La Fortuna's main attraction is its outdoor recreation, crafting an itinerary filled with exciting adventures is easy. How many days you spend in Arenal/La Fortuna depends on how much you want to do. You can accomplish quite a bit in just 24 hours, but you could also easily fill 2-4 days in the region.
Many travelers prefer to combine Arenal/La Fortuna with other regions, which prompts the question: how many days should you spend in Costa Rica as a whole? Because it takes time to travel between areas, and there's so much to experience in Costa Rica, try to give yourself at least one week. Just 7 days in Costa Rica can mesh beaches and mountains with adventures, wildlife, and rainforests. Plan for at least two weeks if you'd like to see more, such as hop from one national park to the next and traverse the country.
Past kimkim travelers have enjoyed the following itineraries that include active experiences in Arenal/La Fortuna: