Arenal, Costa Rica

Arenal is a big lake and a town, and also a volcano towering over the water with a surounding natural reserve. The town is quite friendly and any Central European long time from home must appreciate the German Bakery with their own German (Czech;-) ) bread and a proper schnitzel mit kartofelsalat :-D.

We’ve chosen the Arenal Volcano Lake hotel. That is in fact a motel, run by an Indian family. We must truly recomend it for they were a great hosts and the rooms are very nice, spacious and clean. They also have half-wild parrots who fly about but come back for food, beautiful birds. One loves bacon and the other one craves coffee 😀

The natural reserve was a bit of a disappointment actually. According to our paper guide there should be a 6h trail to Cerro Chato. It doesn’t figure on the official reserve map though. We asked the ranger about it and he said this trail was actually never there. Some people just ran it illegally some 15 years ago, selling tickets and all. So there is only a short trail to a viewpoint over the volcano, more often than not covered in the clouds. And crowded, so much crowded by flocks from big turist buses mostly. It is also possible to visit the second part of the reserve by the lake. This was a bit nicer, with a lot of birds and really wild flora on the way.

Wild orchid
Arenal Volcano
Another type of orchid
Very old Ceiba tree
Viewing platform on the Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal with the volcano hidden in the clouds

We found the whole Arenal area actually quite touristic, with higher prices, a lot of hotels and resorts, and also a big variety of spas, as it is rich on minerals and natural springs.