There are so many activities to do in Arenal and La Fortuna that it can be difficult to narrow down which ones are the best to do. If you’re only in the area for a couple days, you can maximize your time by joining a combination tour where you visit multiple destinations and attractions.
Here is one of the best combination tours in Arenal that we did with Jacamar Naturalist Tours.
It consisted of:
- The hanging bridges trail
- The La Fortuna waterfall
- Lunch on a local farm
- The national park hike
- Hot springs
The first activity we did on the Arenal Volcano Combo Tour was visit the Mistico Hanging Bridges private reserve. The bridges sit on 600 acres of private land developed purely for eco-tourism.
16 static and hanging bridges were built to allow for more visibility of wildlife. It is an easy 3.1 km trail that goes all around the the forest so is the perfect length for visitors to see many animals and plants, learn about the geography and land of Arenal and enjoy the rain forest.
As we started off for the first bridge, one of the guides set up telescope pointed at a frog that was hiding in the leaves. Then another guide pointed out a pair of tent bats sleeping under the banana tree.
Our guide, Jairo has worked as a tour guide for 9 years and he has seen the transformation of the land, the town and the volcano first hand. He taught us how to listen for certain creatures and notice the intricate structure of the vegetation in the canopy.
He next spotted this eyelash pit viper hanging out along one of the bridges (this is why they tell you not to touch anything!). It was fascinating to learn about the snakes in Costa Rica, as the Arenal area is a hot spot for snakes.
The second to the last hanging bridge is 60 meters above the canopy floor and being that high up gives you sense of really being in the jungle. We got a nice view of the volcano and I saw the biggest and most beautiful butterflies I’ve ever seen.
La Fortuna waterfall
Next stop, La Fortuna waterfall. It is one of the treasures of this area and although the path down is pretty steep with 450 steps, it is completely worth it.
This waterfall lies at the bottom of the Cerro Chato dormant crater and drops about 75 meters into a bright emerald pool.
Downstream, there is a lovely pool that is much calmer if you want to stick your feet in. It’s not deep enough to go swimming but it’s a nice place to cool off and rest a bit after the walk down.
The hike back up can be a little difficult if you’re not used to steps but you can always take your time and rest. They have now built a very nice platform to make it a lot easier.
For lunch, they took us to a local finca or farm. This farm was created by the government for poorer families to build houses and grow crops on. Additionally, when tourism grew in La Fortuna, they were able to incorporate tourism by inviting tourists to learn about local Costa Rican farming techniques and the agriculture.
For lunch, we had casados, a traditional Costa Rican dish with either chicken or beef and starfruit juice.
After our lunch, the owner gave us a small presentation of the different crops he grows such as pumpkins, a type of orange and one fruit that is poisonous but good for sinusitis. We pressed a sugar cane using a traditional machine, drank the juice and tried his cacique which is made at a nice ole 70% alcohol!
Arenal 1968 Hike
It started raining during the beginning of our hike through Arenal 1968, a private reserve right next to the Arenal Volcano National Park but I didn’t mind. We went on the Lava Flow 1968 trail which took us through lava fields and up to a beautiful viewpoint of the lake and volcano.
This 3 km hike was also fairly easy and at the viewpoint, you get a good view of both the volcano and lake and you can see the lava rocks that have fallen. It was the perfect distance for a moderate hike through the rain forest!
The Baldi Hot Springs
It got a bit chilly when we headed back and all I could think about was how good the hot springs were going to feel. Yeison and I got dropped off at Baldi hot springs, the largest hot spring facility in Arenal with 3 waterslides!
All the pools have something different. One is a giant jaccuzi, one has waterfalls, another has lie down beds. They were all amazing. Going to the hot springs was such a relaxing way to wind down after long day.
You can watch a short clip of one of the waterslides here!
If you don’t want to go to Baldi, you can request different hot springs when you book the tour such as Tabacon or Eco Termales. Baldi is one of the cheaper hot springs, Tabacon is the most expensive.
Tips for the Arenal Volcano Combo Tour
The whole day was amazing and we learned so much from the tour. Having a guide makes you really appreciate everything you see and the places you visit. I highly recommend doing the Arenal Volcano combo tour if you’re interested in seeing all the attractions with a guide and you’re short on time as you get to visit the highlights of the Arenal area.
It is a bit expensive at around $200 per person (depending on which hot spring you visit) but it includes 5 different activities with food, entrance fees, and transportation. So it’s perfect if you don’t have a ton of time in Arenal, don’t have a car and want to do several activities.
We now have a partnership with Jacamar Naturalist Tours to give 10% off this tour! Please email us at hello(@)mytanfeet.com for more information!
What to bring and wear:
- If you want to get pictures of wildlife, a camera with a hefty zoom or bring a good telephoto lens. You will see a ton of wildlife at the hanging bridges so don’t miss any photo opportunities!
- Closed toed hiking sandals or hiking/tennis shoes. Either one will be fine for the hikes, the hanging bridges do require a fully covered shoe but if you have hiking sandals, you need to sign a waiver. We love our KEEN hiking sandals.
- If you’re visiting in rainy season, definitely bring a rain jacket. We got soaked in July since we wore non-waterproof rain jackets and it poured while we walked the national park. You can read our rainy season packing list for more tips. If it rains, it is warm rain.
- If you’re going in dry season, you can wear shorts and a tshirt. This area gets pretty hot! In rainy season, it is still hot but more humid.
- A day backpack with water, hat, repellent and other necessities. It is a long day so bring what you need. You will be able to leave things in the van, the driver will be with it the whole time so it’s safe. The tour company provides water.
You can watch the video of the Arenal Combo Volcano Tour below.
Read about other fun things to do in Costa Rica below.
Selvatura Park (ziplining and hanging bridges in Monteverde)
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