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What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

Takoma Park...
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What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

I've been researching a while about Costa Rica, in anticipation of our trip there Easter Week 2012. (Yes, we know it will be busy.)

We have girls 9 and 12 who like a lot of adventure. Arenal has plenty of activities - zip lining, bridge, cave, rafting and some hiking on the trail. It also has some pretty nice spas/hotels, but we aren't interested in that.

Can someone tell me what Arenal does best? What is the must-see attraction or activity in Arenal that you can't do (or can't do as well) anywhere else in Costa Rica?

I'm tempted to skip it and spend time elsewhere, but it's obviously a popular destination for a reason. But it's hard from the guidebooks (Moon, Lonley Planet) to figure out why it is the main place for tourism.

Thoughts?

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Arenal Lodge
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1. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

The best thing about Arenal is the Lava show, seeing as it has been quiet for some time now, the second thing would be the hot springs, and the third thing would be Lake Arenal, one of the only real lakes I know of in the country.

Aside from that, you can do pretty much anything you find there elsewhere. Taking lava out of the equation takes a lot from the area. But you never know when the old boy is going to wake up, could be tomorrow, could be in 6 months...

Cheers

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Arenal Lodge
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Lake Arenal
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2. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

The volcano is the only real show-stopper there. It's very impressive even without volcani activity. There are hot springs in the area, but they are more of a "thing to do while there" than something that would justify a visit.

What are your priorities/hopes for the trip? That could help answer whether it's a place you should visit.

We've been there twice (mainly because of the Arenal Observatory Lodge) but could easily see someone skipping it on a first trip to Costa Rica.

Edited: 22 November 2011, 22:35
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Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa
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3. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

the sky tram is a good thing to see in arenal, tabacon springs also

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4. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

I find that considering the drive there - Arenal is just too far away IMO.

I would do Manuel Antonio and then Monteverde. Or if landing in Liberia, I would do Flamingo/Conchal and Bijagua/Monteverde.

You can do hot springs in Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste and go to Rio Celeste if staying in Bijagua. Monteverde has equal or better zip lining using Sky Trek and you get to see true rainforest there. Arenal is not really a rainforest area.

You can't go wrong by going to Manuel Antonio or Flamingo/Conchal.

Another plus for Monteverde: You can see Arenal volcano from there. You are doing the Sky Trek zip line you get an awesome view of it.

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5. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

Dear Creeck...

According to yor information Arenal is not for you...maybe Rincon de la Vieja...even Monteverde...Arenal is not for you guys!

roadadvisor

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6. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

What Arenal does best is provide a wide range of adventure activities in 1 destination. Some of the best ziplines in the country and Hanging Bridges are both great in Arenal (and Monteverde) and better than most other locations. Caving, whitewater rafting and float trips, canyoning, hiking or horseback rides to waterfalls, kayking on the largest freshwater lake, volcano hikes and hot srprings. You can do any one of these activities elsewhere but it's hard to find so many of them in 1 place. Whether it makes sense to include it in your trip plans given that you have 2 adventurous kids, depends on where else you are headed this trip. Combining Arenal with a beach stop gives you access to a wide range of dventurea for a one-week trip.

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Arenal Lodge
Arenal Lodge
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Monteverde
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Kathmandu, Nepal
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7. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

What can yo do in 3 days if you land in Liberia? never been here, but wanted to see(want a beach and zip lining with Volcano).

Staying in Airport, will it do good to make

1day to beach

next day to Arenal

3rd day ..your choices whichever fits best.

Thanks

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Liberia
Liberia
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Arenal Lodge
Arenal Lodge
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La Fortuna de San Carlos, Costa Rica
Takoma Park...
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8. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

Thanks everyone! Great helpful stuff.

We are definitely going to Drake/Corcovado for 3-4 days and we have 11 days total.

We want to do beginner surfing for at least 2-3 days somewhere, maybe Uvita.

I definitely want the rest of the time to be in the Cordilleras, I'm just not sure how much Arenal/Monteverde will be in the mix. Yes we'd like to do the best zipline/hanging bridge canopy tour, so if those are there we will make the stop. Canyoneering would be great as would a 2/3 river raft somewhere.

But we also would love to get to Rio Celeste, the geothermal hike at Rincon de la vieja, and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall.

(We aren't afraid to move quickly and pack in the activities. We can rest when we get home. :) )

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Takoma Park...
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9. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

Or Tamarindo for surfing.

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Tamarindo
Tamarindo
Province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
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10. Re: What is 'must-see' about Arenal?

Arenal sounds like a good fit for you, after reading your interests. I would recommend the AOL, since it will give you both a mountain and rain forest feeling and experience.