Arenal Volcano in Alajuela – Costa Rica

The Arenal Volcano in Alajuela is one of Costa Rica’s most beautiful volcanoes. While the volcano is obviously the main attraction, there are other attractions and activities that can be done in and around the area.

Location and How to Get to This Specific Site

The volcano is located at north-western Costa Rica. From San Jose, it is 90 km southwest. It is in Alajuela Province. If you are coming from San Jose, the quickest route is by way of San Ramon. The trip will take 3 1/2 hours.

If you are coming from Monteverde Cloud Forest, the journey to Arenal takes 4 hours. A 4×4 is recommended if you are driving from Monteverde.

What to See There

The Arenal Volcano in Alajuela is an andesitic stratovolcano. The volcano is over 5,358 ft high (over 1,600 m). The crater has a span of 460 ft (140 m). Visitors will be able to see lava flows and ash columns. You can also hear frequent explosions and rumblings beneath it.

The near perfect cone makes it easy to see the volcanic activity. The volcano is lovely during the day. But it is stunning at night as the eruptions produce lighting displays.


The volcano is 7,000 years old, young in geological terms. It wasn’t until 1937 that the area was investigated by scientists. Since that time, the volcano has been studied any times by volcanologists.

Some of the recent major explosions took place on June 1984, August 1993, March 1994, March 1996 and May 5, 1998. Studies show that the volcano has numerous vents. The dormant stratovolcanic cone Chato first erupted about 28,000 years ago.


Tour costs will depend on the duration and what other sizes you want to visit around Arenal. A ten day tour has a starting cost of about $1,000. Bus fares usually start at $5. Taxi fares are more expensive. While some taxis have fixed rates, it is possible to negotiate for the price.

Other Info

Arenal tours can and often include more than just visiting the volcano. These include rafting, visiting the caves, rivers and rainforests. Guides can also take you to the waterfalls around the canyons. You can also go horseback riding and trekking.

Tours at the Arenal Volcano in Alajuela can also include mountain bike rides, waterfall rappelling and visiting the numerous lakes in the area. The number of sites you can visit depends on the tour operator you chose.