Most tourists who travel from Monteverde to Arenal travel by shuttle bus around Lake Arenal. We chose to cross Lake Arenal by boat. This transfer was shorter and the boat trip was nicer than a long bus trip.
When we arrived in La Fortuna we first explored the village. What mainly attract us in La Fortuna were the bars and restaurants. Furthermore we saw many souvenir shops.
La Fortuna is a perfect place to do excursions. The activities we chose were an ATV tour, volcano hike and visit to Baldi Hot Springs with dinner. Some other Arenal Tours that are available are the hanging bridges, rafting, a canopy tour and a visit to Cano Negro.
We only had one full day in La Fortuna, but we chose for one day full with activities. So we started with the ATV-tour in the morning. We stayed in Lomas del Volcan and the ATV-tour started at the end of the entrance road to the hotel. Nonetheless we had a transfer which was included. After an instruction about how to drive an ATV we did some practises near Hotel la Pradera del Arenal. When everyone was able to drive the ATV the real tour started and we drove northwards. On a hill we had a short stop to make some photos. After that we continued to La Guaria and the river Rio San Carlos. There we again had a break and could walk around. Most of the track is unpaved and by that very suitable for ATV’s. After the tour we enjoyed lunch in Hotel Pradera del Arenal.
Our second Arenal tour started after a couple of hours in the swimming pool. We were brought to the north side of the Arenal Volcano. From the parking lot we walked in about 45 minutes to the 1992 lava flows. Meanwhile we got information from the guide about the volcano and we saw some animals like large ants and a coati. Volcanic activity appears to become rare because latest explosions were reported in 2010. Nonetheless the mountain is impressive although we couldn’t see the top which was covered in clouds. Besides having a great view to Arenal Volcano you also have a wonderful view over Lake Arenal!
From the volcano we were brought to Baldi Hot Springs. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect about this. I thought about natural hot springs, but it appears to be a swimming pool that is heated with warmth of the volcano. Furthermore it is very touristic with restaurants and pool bars. We started with dinner which wasn’t very special. They offer a wide choice of food, but not so much meat or fish. Taste is average, so I won’t recommend the dinner. Despite this small disappointment we enjoyed our time. Baldi Hot Springs has 25 hot water pools with temperatures ranging from 20 to almost 50 degrees. Going uphill the temperatures of the pools slowly rise. There you also find some slides. We were used to slides in Holland which are fun and safe, but after one slide we felt bruised and wondered what happened in the dark slide. Feeling the big seams of the slide at your back and even hitting the roof of the slide … Later on internet we red reviews from several people who got serious injured, so ask yourself if you really want to do this.
Below is a list with Arenal tours which can be booked at the front desk of hotel Lomas del Volcan. The price of the tours is from early 2014.