Located about 60 mi/100 km northwest of San Jose, Arenal National Park encompasses a large area in northwest Costa Rica.
Although Arenal is now dormant, it was one of the country's most active volcanoes for 43 years after a surprise eruption in 1968 and was of the most impressive sights in the country.
Near the volcano is a series of mineral baths that are part of Tabacon Hot Springs, a resort complex with eight swimming pools. (It welcomes day visitors as well as overnight guests.)
Lake Arenal is just west of the volcano, with fishing, hotels and, at the western end of the lake, windsurfing. In fact, some rate it as a world-class spot for the sport because of the strong and constant winds. The vistas are fantastic; many hotels have both lake and volcano views.
Although it's only 20 mi/30 km (as the crow flies) from Arenal Volcano to Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, the indirect roads and bus connections take the better part of a day. If you're not driving, it's possible to travel via a more direct route by taking a boat across Lake Arenal. Combined service by Jeep, motorboat and then taxi cuts the trip even more.
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