Arenal

Arenal

If you could paint a volcano in the richest colours imaginable and surround it with idealised tropical rainforest interspersed with birds and flowers of all the colours of the rainbow you wouldn’t be far from imagining Arenal Volcano. Hot water rivers flow from the flanks of the perfectly conical volcano feeding hot springs, whilst forests and rivers play host to every activity under the sun.

It sounds like paradise but alas, the secret is out and Arenal is a very busy and touristy spot with large resorts and a host of tourist activities and attractions. So, should you include Arenal on your Costa Rica holiday? In our minds, Arenal is not a must see, but if you want an injection of fun in your trip, with loads of activities and the biggest and best zip lines, are fascinated by volcanoes or you simply can’t resist the allure of a hot spring then go for it and you’ll love it.

The best hotel in town is Nayara a high quality resort that hides its scale well amidst beautiful gardens and a number of chic little restaurants. Even so, it does feel ever so incongruous in a country renowned for eco tourism and small eco lodges. For somewhere a little simpler in a more natural setting (and a lot cheaper), Arenal Observatory is a good option set within the national park itself. Casa Luna is another lovely good value 3* option with simple rooms but lovely views of Arenal from the pool and hot tubs. We tend to avoid Tabacon (both the hotel and hot springs) as it is just too busy.

In terms of activities, our highlights include the skytrek zipwire, the hanging bridges and a hike in the Arenal National Park. This is also a good place to go rafting if you are not headed to Pacuare. The skytrek zipwire is a serious concern with a huge visitor centre with restaurant and a total of 7 zip lines covering a massive distance in a zig zag over a vertiginous canyon. This particular zipwire is not recommended for those who are scared of heights or young kids who don’t like to be out of their comfort zone.

Arenal gets extremely busy during peak periods especially during spring break and the first two weeks of July when Costa Rican and US school Holidays coincide.


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Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Two week holiday in Costa Rica with a focus on the wildlife. Includes Tortuguero, Arenal, Monteverde, Osa Peninsula and Uvita

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Adults from $3,678 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Families from $3,258 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Two week self-drive Costa Rica family holiday covering all the highlights including Tortugeuro, Arenal, Monteverde Rain Forest, Nosara Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park.

Tailor-made Classic 15 days

Adults from $2,675 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,930 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Two week luxury holiday celebrating the best of Costa Rica. Includes Arenal Volcano, Pacuare River, Gulfo Dulce and Manuel Antonio

Tailor-made Luxury 2 weeks

Adults from $6,757 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Families from $6,306 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

The ultimate Costa Rica holiday for surfers and their families. Explore Arenal Volcano, surf in hip Nosara and surf and see the wildlife in the stunning Osa Peninsula.

Tailor-made Luxury 2 weeks

Adults from $5,691 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Families from $4,414 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

2 week adventure including surfing in Nosara, rafting Pacuare River and tubing and canyoning at Rio Perdido. Classic rainforest and beachside accommodation.

Tailor-made Luxury 2 weeks

Adults from $2,891 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Families from $2,418 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $998 per person economy class from London

Superb value self drive Costa Rica holiday designed for those on a tight budget with comfortable 3* accommodation. Includes Tortugeuro NP, Arenal Volcano and the Pacific Coast beaches.

Tailor-made Classic 10 days

Adults from $1,698 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $0 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,062 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $0 per person economy class from London

2 Week Green Season itinerary featuring Monteverde Cloudforest, Arenal Volcano, Tortugeuro National Park and the sunny Caribbean Coast

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Adults from $4,193 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $0 per person economy class from London

Families from $3,595 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $0 per person economy class from London

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Accommodation

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- Exclusive boutique hotel
- 35 luxurious and stylish private villas
- Adults only
- Adjacent to family-friendly sister property

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- Large, upscale resort
- Family friendly, great range of activities
- Award-winning property
- Excellent variety of activities

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Close to Arenal Lake & Volcano
- Affordable option for groups & families
- Huge variety of activities
- Phenomenal birdlife

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 5

- Extensive natural hot springs on site
- Inviting, high-end spa
- Day visitors welcome
- Large resort, great food

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Eco-friendly hotel
- 40 simple, well-presented rooms
- White-water rafting, caving, hot springs
- Night hikes, boat trips, farm visits

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

- Rustic Nature Hotel
- Beautiful Gardens
- Fantastic Arenal Views
- Good Value

Our rating

6/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Large, mid-range hotel with good facilities
- Man-made hot springs
- All rooms have volcano views
- Great variety of water and land activities

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 506 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
    We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
    Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
    Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
    Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
    Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
    Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
    Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
    Level of service, quality of food throughout

    MissingCatherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019

  • We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!

    The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).

    A few points:
    Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.

    Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
    They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.

    Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!

    The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!

    MissingKatrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019

  • We had the most incredible time thank you. We loved Karen Blixen camp and felt part of a family there, it was incredibly special. And Breezes was very relaxing.
    We can't fault all the transfers and the moment we were greeted on the tarmac at Nairobi airport we knew we were going to be well cared for.

    Thank you so much to you and all the Tourdust team for making it such a happy and memorable trip.

    MissingZoe A reviewing Masai Mara Safari & Beach on 27 August 2019

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