Adventure activities in the Arenal region PDF Print E-mail

The Canopy Tour

Traveling through the treetops while being held only by a harness and a cable is also possible in this area, since Eco-Lodge, located 10 minutes away from Nuevo Arenal, is offering this type of attraction. In this place you can rent the necessary equipment and they will provide you with a two hour tour inside their private reserve.

Arenal Canopy Tour Costa RicaThis zone has the advantage of being located between two types of forests, the drier one that is characteristic to the Pacific area and that of the Atlantic, greener and more exuberant. As explained by Gerardo Cháves, one of the guides, "the canopy tour is completely safe and the equipment that is being used can hold up to 3 tons of weight, so there is no risk whatsoever". Also the adventure will be complete because after watching many species of the Costa Rican fauna and flora, you will experiment, under the supervision of the guides, a 21 meter (approximately 63 feet) high free fall.

Hiking

Since this region is highly diverse and little explored, almost all the hotels in the region will offer you different hiking options. In some places these tours do not require of specialized guides since they already have well defined paths or routes, while in other places it is necessary to go along with somebody who knows well the region. Prices also vary depending on the area, the services they include (food, drinks, etc.) and the length of the hike. For example, Eco-Lodge has different hiking options with ranging prices, while the Arenal Observatory Lodge has some hiking tours included in their lodging rates.

Mountain Biking

This is another major attraction in Arenal since the geography of the area is ideal for those wishing to practice the sport: there are small rivers and streams, natural paths and waterfalls. Almost all around the place you will find bicycle rentals and many enthusiasts riding them. If you would like to participate in an organized event, the "Arenal Lake Tour" takes place on February second weekend every year.

Bird Watching

This activity can be carried out practically anywhere in the area without having to pay for a tour or guide, since there is a large variety and quantity of birds that can easily be found just by resting and waiting while sitting on a rock. Since the area is an intercontinental forest, Arenal has the advantage of keeping one of the most varied habitats, containing several bird species such as caracara (Ibycter americanus), humming birds, storks and even eagles. But if you prefer the expert advise, some places offer the option of tours to different parts of the Arenal area including the explanations of professional guides. You can also find independent local guides who can offer you lower rates.

Boat Rides

If you really want to see the Arenal Lake, don't forget to take a boat ride. There are different places that will provide this service and at very different rates. From Marina Tilawa you can hire a boat ride around the lake or you can hire them to get faster to a different point on the shore. In a small town called San Luis, located on the shore of the lake, and between Tilarán and the Tilawa Hotel, you will also find boat services provided by locals who in the weekend can give you a four hour tour in the Lago Arenal for about US $12.00 per person. Also if you would like to see a different place, Lago Cote is another option for a boat ride. This lake is not as windy as the Arenal, so the tour will be more relaxing than exciting.

Kayaks

Kayaling in Costa RicaThis activity can be practiced in different areas of the Arenal and Cote Lakes around to Arenal Volcano; nevertheless it is infrequent to see people practicing it, even more in the Arenal because of the strong summer winds. This sport is more common in the Cote Lake but some persons practicing kayaking in Arenal Lake.

Fishing

Sport fishing is another attraction in the area and it can be practiced on both lakes or in one of the neighboring rivers. There are boats that can be hired for this purpose or you can join the tours organized by the hotels. Some of the locals say that in the lakes you can find a fish called "guapote" (big mouth bass) that can weight up to 3 and a half kilograms (7.7 pounds). In some of the hotels and restaurants of the area you can see the bones of this fish acting as decoration.

Rafting

The Corobicí river is used for this type of activity. It is almost 40 kilometers long and goes from the Arenal Lake down to the Gulf of Nicoya and its main attraction is that it goes through forests where you can see the native species of the area. This river is not very turbulent, so the ride itself could not be considered a total adventure, but the fauna and landscape observed during the ride are a great reward. There are some hotels offering this tour for different rates, but they always subcontract with the same company to carry out the tour: Safaris Corobicí.

Horseback Riding

Horses are a common mean of transportation in the area, because of their ease to go into the wilderness. Tours are normally offered for a very low price. One of the most interesting ones might be the visit to the aeolian (wind) energy project of the region or a tour around the foothill of the Arenal Volcano.

Hot Water Springs

When going from Arenal Volcano to La Fortuna you may find different places offering tourists the relaxing pleasure of dipping into hot water springs. One of the most popular ones is Tabacón, which has several hot water pools and artificial waterfalls where you may rest sitting under the falling hot waters while receiving a natural back rub. This place provides you with shower and restaurant services until 10 p.m. The admission fee is of approximately US $6.00.

Water Skiing

ImageThis sport can be practiced both in the Arenal and Cote Lakes; nevertheless neither of these areas offer equipment rental possibilities, not even the hotels. But if you have your own gear, both lakes will give you a good chance to enjoy a wonderful skiing experience in Costa Rica lakes.

Various Tours

Most hotels in the region offer tour services either to Arenal (Lake or Volcano) or to natural reserves or parks in the area. The Tilawa Hotel offers tours to neighboring beaches including Bahía Salinas for Windsurfing, horseback riding, hiking, fishing and boat rides.

Safaris Corobicí offers different types of rafting services depending on your desires. Mystica Resort also offers trips to the Arenal Volcano, the hot water springs, the Venado Caves, Cote Lake and boat rides. The Rock River Lodge specializes in mountain biking, horseback rides, fishing, birdwatching and of course Windsurfing.

Eco-Lodge provides tours to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, Cote Lake, Caño Negro Natural Reserve, Palo Verde National Park and Venado Caves among others.

The Arenal Observatory Lodge, on the foothill of the Arenal Volcano, provides you with a magnificent view and night tours to see the massif, hikes inside the Arenal National Park, bird watching and different trips to beaches and other interesting places in Guanacaste.

A few tips

It is recommended to use a four by four vehicle if you would like to drive on unpaved roads, both in the dry or rainy seasons, since in the summer the dust is not stable and the cars may slip. Sport shoes with good traction or boots are recommended for some activities such as hikes inside the mountain. Insect repellent and special medicines for those who need them are also a must, since there are few drugstores in the area and they are located in towns such as Tilarán, Nuevo Arenal and La Fortuna. And of course, do not forget your binoculars, camera, sun block and to be ready for all types of action.
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