The Best Things to Do Near Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna

Outdoor adventures abound in the area around Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano. In the evenings, the nearby town of La Fortuna provides perfect places to eat, drink, and rest up for the next day’s adventures.

Located near Costa Rica’s verdant Arenal Volcano National Park, the 3.2-mile Mistico Hanging Bridges Park hiking trail takes visitors through a series of six suspension bridges within a private rainforest reserve. The trail allows for close encounters with some of the country’s most famous flora and fauna, including red-eyed tree frogs, boa constrictors, and more than 300 species of birds. The tour can be self guided, but you’ll want to go with a guide. The nearby resort Nayara Springs offers some of the area’s best private tours, where a naturalist will help you interpret the different plant and animal species along the way.
9 Km Oeste y km 4 Norte del centro de la Fortuna, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, 21007, Costa Rica
The 165-acre Springs Resort & Spa sits 1,000 feet above the Arenal Valley, higher than any other resort in the area and affording each one of its 47 polished-wood guest rooms commanding views of the Arenal Volcano and surrounding countryside. Impressive as those vistas are, the luxury resort’s biggest draw is its 28 mineral thermal pools, which wind through four lush acres. The setting is undeniably romantic—the resort was featured in an episode of The Bachelor—but families are welcome, with activities for kids of all ages. Club Rio, on the resort’s half-mile of river frontage, offers tubing, kayaking, mountain biking, and horseback riding; there’s also a wildlife preserve for rescued native animals, including monkeys, ocelots, jaguarundis, sloths, and a puma. Five restaurants (and five bars) mean there are plenty of options, from casual poolside dining to tasting-menu elegance.
Provincia de Alajuela, San Carlos, Costa Rica
Get down and dirty on an unforgettable spelunking experience at the Venado Caves, 45 minutes from La Fortuna. The caves were formed some 15 to 20 million years ago by tectonic shifting and erosion from underground streams. In them, you’ll see stalagmites and stalactites galore, and get the chance to check out colorful frogs and fascinating marine fossils and learn about the bat communities hanging right over your head. The experience is real (and really humid)—so wise adventurers bring insect repellent, knee pads, and an extra change of clothes. Waterproof your camera, too.
702 road 21007, Provincia de Alajuela, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Tucked within a green corner next to Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano National Park, Nayara Springs is a haven for wellness seekers in the middle of the rainforest, with natural hot springs baths in each villa and healthy, farm-to-table-inspired menus in its restaurants. And if you want to take your wellness journey up a notch, be sure to spend some time at the idyllic spa, where open-air treatment rooms face the surrounding tree canopy inhabited by everything from toucans to howler monkeys. They’ll be the soundtrack to your experience, whether you’re getting a hot stone massage or a wrap treatment sourced from local ingredients, including volcanic mud, organic coffee, or chocolate.

With a view of the Arenal volcano the surrounding verdant rainforest, Mis Amores has one of the best vantage points at Nayara Springs. The restaurant’s menu is casual by day (fresh-caught fish and pizzas made in a wood-fired oven), and shifts to more sophisticated fare by night try the tuna carpaccio and the braised short rib). You might want to bring your binoculars for wildlife sightings between courses: the restaurant sits at the tree line, and many of Costa Rica’s 300 bird species can be spotted, along with the occasional three-toed sloth.
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