Costa Rica: Arenal

My second visit to Arenal within a year. Arenal is a great area for all types of adventure activities but also offers a lot in terms of nature and wildlife.

aavtravel arenal volcano costa rica

The Arenal Volcano is spectacular and source of the hot springs which can be found on many hotel properties. Some of the best hot springs belong to the Tabacon Resort. Access can be purchased in form of a day pass if you are not staying at the hotel. I would recommend visiting in the evening when the crowds are gone. It is wonderful to dip in the natural hot springs, enjoy a drink, and relax below the volcano.

aavtravel arenal costa rica hot springs

Arenal’s main town, La Fortuna, is charming and offers a little bit of everything. Shopping, restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream… It is a great place to mingle with locals and soak in some Costa Rican culture.

Whilst in the area we visited several of the resort properties but stayed at the Arenal Kioro. This family run hotel sits closest to the volcano and all rooms boast spectacular views. They also offer a very nice, cascading hot spring area on site. We were personally welcomed by the owner, his son and grand-daughter which was very touching. This is the view from our room:

View from Arenal Kioro Resort

During my stays I had the opportunity to experience several activities. My personal highlight was the waterfall rappelling which was really exciting. The first rappel was down a straight wall of 168ft. Looking over the ledge was very taunting. As you go along you will rappel down more walls, sometimes in a waterfall, sometimes next to it. It was real fun and I can definitely recommend it. The hardest part probably was getting out of the canyon. It is a steep walk up the side cliffs in the middle of the rainforest. The guides made sure we were safe and took very good care of everybody.

Arenal area waterfall rappel

The Hanging Bridges are one of the area’s major attractions. A scenic walk in the middle of the rainforest, crossing different hanging bridges. We were accompanied by a guide who pointed out plants and wildlife. This area is great for snakes, birds, spiders, frogs, and also monkeys. I would classify the walk as moderate, however, there is a fairly steep finale.

Arenal Hanging Bridges

Penas Blancas River Float is a very relaxing activity with 6 people sharing a small boat. It’s a great activity to do with smaller children. You are likely to see birds, lezards, monkeys, and other wildlife, whilst floating down the river.

Arenal Penas Blanca River Float

From a vacation concierge standpoint I would recommend Arenal to anyone who wants to do plenty of adventure activities, see an impressive live volcano, and relax in hot springs. There are plenty of different resorts in this area and I would recommend trusting a specialist to help you choose the right one.

Posted by: Stefanie Pichonnat can be reached at 812-917-2149 or

Pura Vida! – Costa Rica -Nature Makes it Hard to Leave

I had very high expectations for Costa Rica. Oftentimes when you travel, high expectations are not necessarily rewarded. In this particular case however, Costa Rica exceeded anything and everything I imagined. As a lover of lush, green nature I was more than compensated. The country is small and versatile and within a week you can experience several different regions and micro climates. It is an instantly gratifying place as there is always something to see or do.

What probably surprised me most was the friendly and ease-going people. Having traveled to quite a few so called 3rd world countries, I not once felt harassed or unsafe.

The country is surprising on many levels. Earlier this year, Costa Rica welcomed its first female president, Laura Chinchilla. They have not had an army since 1949. Independence from Spain in 1821 wasn’t won during a bloody fight. As a matter of fact the King of Spain simply sent a letter granting them their freedom.

arenal hanging bridges costa ricaCosta Ricans understand that they are only as rich as their nature and are very much into protecting the environment. Everywhere you go, recycling is top of mind. The country’s people are very aware of the nature surrounding them and make a sincere effort to protect it. Costa Rica has very strict rules on cutting a tree and animals are highly protected. They are re-educating their children, teaching them to respect nature and wildlife.

During my 8 day visit I had the opportunity to experience different areas of the country, and I will be writing separate blog posts covering Tortuguero National Park, Arenal as well as Guanacaste.

From a vacation concierge standpoint I would recommend this country to anyone who loves nature, likes to explore and be active, and feels comfortable meeting a different culture. It is an excellent destination for couples, families and adventure travelers. Different areas offer different things to do and there is a perfect itinerary for everyone. However, I do recommend contacting a specialist to make your travel plans since it is easy to underestimate travel logistics and infrastructure.


Posted by: Stefanie Pichonnat can be reached at 812-917-2149 or