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.
Yeison and I have become big fans of doing combo tours so we signed up for an all day Arenal Volcano Combo tour with Jacamar Tours.
It consisted of:
- The hanging bridges trail
- The La Fortuna waterfall
- Lunch on a local farm
- The national park hike
- Hot springs
(Click the section you want to read about above)
You can watch the video of our very fun day or read on below!
The first activity we did on the Arenal Volcano Combo Tour was visit the hanging bridges by the dam. 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 but is the perfect length for visitors to see many animals and plants, learn about the geography and land of Costa Rica and enjoy the outdoors.
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 and it was fascinating to learn about the snakes in Costa Rica.
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.
Very close to the waterfall was the finca we were going to for lunch. This estate was created by the government for poorer families to build houses and grow crops on. They served us 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.
The National Park
It started raining during the beginning of our hike through Arenal Volcano National Park but I didn’t mind. Multiple hiking trails exist in the park with one leading to an enormous tree. The one we went on led to the area where the eruption occurred.
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 kind of cloudy but I bet on a nice clear day, the views on both sides must have been stunning.
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!
Tips and thoughts about 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 joining the Arenal Volcano combo tour if you’re interested in seeing all the attractions with a guide and you’re short on time. It is a bit expensive at around $170 per person 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.
What to bring and wear:
- A camera with a hefty zoom or bring a good zoom lens. You will see a ton of wildlife at the hanging bridges so don’t miss any photo opportunities!
- Hiking sandals. This way if you go in rainy season and it rains, it won’t be as uncomfortable as wearing hiking shoes and socks. The hikes aren’t too vigorous so sandals are perfect. And if you go during dry season, your feet won’t feel stuffy and will have plenty of air to breathe.
- 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.
- Mosquito repellent is a must.
- If you’re going in dry season, you can wear shorts and a tshirt. This area gets pretty hot January – March.
- A day backpack with water, hat, repellent and other necessities. It is a long day so bring what you need.
More fun things to do in Costa Rica!
Selvatura Park (ziplining and hanging bridges in Monteverde)
Thanks to Jacamar Naturalist tours for a fun day and as always, all thoughts and opinions are own own.