Popular Things to Do in Arenal Costa Rica Itinerary

Pura Vida! Costa Rica has a particular spot in my heart because we spent our honeymoon here! It was an incredible adventure mixed with exploring the wildlife, bathing in the natural hot springs, eating exotic food, and relaxing under the tropical sunshine. Since we are a couple who loves to make the best of our time, we decided to split our vacation days. We stayed four days in Arenal for all the natural adventures and then headed to the more romantic part of our trip in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. In this post below, you will find our favorite and most popular things to do in Arenal, Costa Rica.

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Arenal Volcano Area

Arenal is Costa Rica’s most popular Volcano. It is located in the La Fortuna district in the province of Alajuela and is known as one of the country’s most active Volcanoes. The volcano last erupted in 2010 and is currently Dormant.

The Arenal Volcano area is considered to be Costa Rica’s adventure capital. If you love to explore Volcanoes, hike through wild forests, zipline, and visit the largest waterfalls, you will certainly love visiting Arenal, Costa Rica. Keep reading for a four-day Itinerary in the area.

Where to Stay In Arenal, Costa Rica

If you want to enjoy hot springs throughout your stay in Arenal, consider staying at the hotels with hot springs. Here are some of the options.

We stayed at the Arenal Springs Resort and Spa. This resort is located just outside of La Fortuna, in the province of Alajuela. It has private access to hot springs. The resort offers beautiful junior and master suites. Each room has a private terrace and a stunning view of the Arenal Volcano. We honestly could not get enough of this view! In addition to spacious rooms and beautiful views, the resort offers a lot of privacy for couples or families. Since we were on our honeymoon, we enjoyed all the quiet moments the world could provide weddings with.

Hotel guest suit at Arenal Springs resort and Spa
Pools and hot springs at Arenal Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica

If you love practicing yoga, you are in luck. The yoga studio in this resort resembled a small peaceful hideaway in the tropics. I had one of the best yoga practices here. The resort also offers on-site restaurants. It offers a buffet-style breakfast and a La carte for lunch and dinner.

Outdoor yoga studio located at the Arenal Springs Resort and Spa, Costa Rica.
Yoga Spot

In regards to the cleanliness, the hotel was spotless. If you know me, you already know this is my top priority when choosing where to stay. We had a different towel decor on our bed and rose petals in the bathroom every day! So adorable! Remember that regardless of the clean rooms, you may have some uninvited tiny lizards hanging out on the walls and bathroom glass doors. But what can you do? You are in the tropics, so embrace the environment, right?! Haha.

Below I am listing the most popular things to do in Arenal, Costa Rica, during your stay.

Hotel's towel decoration at Arenal Springs Resort and Spa in Costa Rica

Day 1. Soak Into Natural Hot Springs

Arenal, Costa Rica, is home to several all-natural hot springs. Yes, you heard me. ALL natural! I am always so amazed by mother nature. The Arenal volcano is producing all the heat when in contact with the underground water. It then transfers the pools into natural hot waters around it. Soaking up water-rich with mineral salts and ions is a beautiful way to start or end your day in Costa Rica. In fact, this is one of the best things to do in Arenal, Costa Rica.

Resort view at At the Arenal, Costa Rica.

Day 2. Plan A Guided Adventure In The Rainforest

There is no better way to explore Arenal’s wild side than visiting one of its rainforests. Rainforests are one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica. On top of their natural beauty, rainforests play a massive part in climate improvement. They are home to many different animals and plants. If you do not mind hiking on a wild trail, exploring the rainforest should be on your itinerary in Arenal, Costa Rica.

I highly recommend signing up for the guided tour. We went with Sky Adventures. The team was highly knowledgeable about the area, different species of plants and birds and made our trip a lot more enjoyable. Not to mention I felt a lot safer knowing the wild forest that well could better handle unexpected guests. If you are lucky, you may spot monkeys and sloths in the forest. We went to explore 2 hanging bridges, a waterfall, and the wild forest.

Walk on the hanging bridge in Rainforest;  Arenal, Costa Rica.
Things to do in arenal costa rica

Ziplining Tour

Zip Line over the Rainforest. Besides active volcanos and rainforests, Costa Rica is the most famous of its ziplines. If you sign up for the Sky adventure tour, it comes with the zipline combo. What you will sign up for is an unbelievable experience of the gondola ride and then 8 miles of ziplining above the rainforest.

I admit this was my first and, so far, the only ziplining experience. As much as I cannot put into words how much fun it was, I was still very nervous during the process. I mean, I was hung somewhere in the middle of the jungle. I am proud of myself that I was able to experience it and feel all the emotions. If you are looking for some adventurous things to do in Arenal, Costa Rica, ziplining should be on your list.

Rainforest landscape in Arenal, Costa Rica.

After such an adventure-filled day, head to those natural hotel springs to relieve the muscle pain and reward yourself with the best end-of-the-best day treatment in Arenal.

What to Bring To the Rainforest Adventure

Regarding day adventures, we like to keep our backpacks as light as possible. However, there are some essential items besides wearing skimpy clothes and comfortable shoes to carry, especially when visiting the rainforest in costa rica.

  • Water and snacks
  • Whistle
  • Pocket knife
  • Travel-size first-aid kit
  • Bug repeller spray
  • Thin rain poncho
  • Layers for cooler weather
  • Camera
  • Waterproof case

Day 3. Head to The La Fortuna Waterfall

On day 3, head over to the La Fortuna Water Fall. Hands down to the most beautiful waterfall I have ever seen. La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the top attractions in Costa Rica. Since it is located just nearby the Arenal Volcano, it is an absolute must-see when in Arenal. Getting here is very easy. You will need to hike down the 500 steps of stairs to the waterfall, which takes nearly 15 minutes. But it is an easy hike as the stairs are well maintained. Also, you may sign up for a horseback ride tour to experience a more exotic walk. We opted for stairs.

Bathing in La Fortuna waterfall in Arenal, Costa Rica

The waterfall is picture-perfect. It rises 70-75 meters high, and the surrounding area is breathtaking. We would have probably stayed there longer if not for a fearful incident. Keep reading.

On our way down the stairs, someone who was already on his way up told us that they had spotted a pretty big black snake down there, like 10 feet big. We still made the trip down to the waterfall, and I even got into the water to take pictures (as you can see!), but I was scared the whole time and could not stop looking for the unwelcoming host.

We never saw the snake, but the trip did not end without pain. As I was being super brave, taking pictures in the water, I injured my knee a bit. I was rushing out of the water, thinking about that snake and tripping over a rock. LOL.

Climbing stairs on the way up from La Fortuna Waterfall in Arenal.

Day 4. Dinner with a view of the Arenal Volcano

Compliment your trip with the dinner overlooking the Arenal Volcano. There are a few options to choose from. However, our favorite was the Italian Restaurant Que Rico Arenal. Our table was reserved right in the center of the view, and it was simply incredible. The food was terrific
. And the service is even better. I remember our waiter tried so hard to get that picture of us through the wine glass. He did not mind being creative at all. I am not including that picture here because it is NOT good. However, it will always remind me of a great experience, and that is what the primary purpose of travel is most of us will agree. This place was an excellent way to celebrate our anniversary in Arenal before heading to our next destination in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. I will be publishing this post soon, so make sure to check back.

Have you visited Arenal, Costa Rica, or do you plan to stay? Tell me about your Arenal adventures in the comments below.

Big Lizard on the rocks of Arenal Resort
Arenal Costa Rica Flower
butterfly sitting on the leaf in Arenal Hotel

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