I believe there are only five active volcano’s in the world which are safe to visit. And that is why Arenal in Costa Rica, one of the most active, continues to attract such a large number of tourists – all of whom are there to see her majesty as she smokes gracefully by day and throws out red molten lava rocks by night. A constant reminder of her presence is the low, deep rumbling sound of the lava as it rolls down the volcano. It’s a humbling experience.

The direction in which the volcano’s lava rolls changes from time to time and its therefore important to check what the current state of play is. It was four years ago, that nature decided it was time for a change and who knows when things will shift again. Right now, the Arenal Observatory Hotel high on a ridge on the south side has the front row seat. Alternatively, you can drive down a dirt track to the South side and join the hundreds of other cars as they wait patiently for the Arenal show to begin once the sun goes down. Everyone gets out the car and stands by the river – best position – and ooohs and aaaahs on cue.

The other key reason to come to Arenal is the invigorating Hot Springs. I can’t think of a more relaxing evening than spending a couple of hours in the hot spring pools surrounded by the natural paradise of tropical gardens, with a cocktail in hand. (they have some of the largest and most dramatic mangrove trees you will ever see which when subtly lit at night are incredible). You can do this at either The Tabacon Resort or The Springs Resort & Spa.

Arenal also offers world class whitewater rafting, mountain biking, kayaking, rainforest canopy tours and zip wire sky trekking and horse riding, all in the shadow of an erupting volcano! We absolutely loved the zip wiring – you get much better panoramic views than when you do it at Monteverde (which is much more enclosed and dense rainforest).

We stayed at the Arenal Volcano Lodge

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