Arenal Volcano National Park
The 29,692-acre (12,016-ha) Arenal Volcano National Park is located within the larger 504,094-acre (204,000-ha) Arenal Conservation Area, which protects some 16 reserves between the Tilarán and Guanacaste mountain ranges. This area contains a great wealth of geologic and biological complexity, as evidenced by the active and incredible Arenal Volcano.
In truth, this national park has two volcanoes – the 5,357-foot (1,633-meter) Arenal Volcano and the 3,740-foot (1,140-meter) Chato Volcano. The latter has been inactive for nearly 3,500 years and has a collapsed crater that contains a picture-perfect lagoon.
In contrast, Arenal is Costa Rica’s most active volcano, and since July 29, 1968 its lava flows have been consistent. On this day in 1968, three craters burst open along the volcano’s western flank. “Crater A” measured 1,000 meters across and set off a pyroclastic flow of toxic gas and hot rocks that spread 12 km, devastating the towns of Pueblo Nuevo and Tabacón. In doing so, it killed 87 people. In September of the same year, “Crater A” began again to emit lava, and remained the most active crater until 1973.
In 1973, the eruption activity migrated to “Crater C.” This crater remains active to the present day, and is characterized by lava that is of an andesite basaltic composition, with explosions that contain pyroclastic materials and gas emissions. During the days, you can see smoke and cinder blocks billowing from Arenal’s top, while at night you can watch the fiery-red lava pour down its steep sides.
The active vent is along the western side of the volcano. The town of La Fortuna lies within its eastern shadow, meaning that you’ll need to take a trip to the other side to catch a glimpse of the lava. It’s also important to note that on many days clouds obscure the top.
Within the national park, short trails (3.4 km and 2 km) pass through both secondary forest and lava fields from previous eruptions. The park rangers keep a close eye on the volcanic activity, and will not hesitate to close trails or portions of the park if they feel that it is unsafe.
Arenal plays a large role in Costa Rica's power production. Lake Arenal, which rests at the base of the Arenal Volcano, supplies 12 percent of the country's hydroelectric energy. On the opposite side of the lake, wind farms catch strong gales that whip across the Tilarán mountain range, while the Miravalles Volcano Geothermic Plant taps into the area’s volcanic activity for electrical power.
Arenal’s climate is variable. Both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans influence its temperature (which oscillates between 21°C and 27.5°C) and annual rainfall (which averages between 3,500 mm to 5,000 mm). The rainy season lasts from May to January, while the dry season runs from February to April.
What animals are you likely to see while exploring the Arenal Volcano National Park? You might spot deer, tapir, howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys and snakes, or birds like parrots, orioles and brown magpies. Plants include various species of palms and bromeliads (including the endemic specie Pitcaimia Funkiae), guayabo de monte, bait, ceiba, cirri, laurel, higuerones, fungi, orchids, and ferns.
Check out our Arenal Map for accurate lava updates and to view the location of Arenal Volcano National Park.
When you come to visit our forest, you will be surprised to find yourself-like the birds-admiring Mother Nature from the top of the trees. This is because from the beginning of your walk you will be ascending-step by step-until you find yourself as high up as the vegetation that will surround you (up to 130 feet). Here, a series of bridges, trails and platforms awaits you in order to safely walk together with your family without any worries.
Sky Walk is ideal for professors, students, researchers, naturalists, whole families, and the public in general. The climb is not strenuous or muddy, as the trails are well maintained and generally very flat. Local guides accompany each tour and help visitors learn about native plant and animal species.
This tour generally lasts two to three hours. Groups can be no larger than ten people. Until recently, little was known about life in the tops of tropical forests, as it was nearly impossible to get so high. Early explorers used ropes and pulleys or ladders carved into tree trunks to make their way up. Today, biologists explore the forest canopy using towers, suspension bridges and construction cranes.
Biologists now know that about 90 percent of all organisms in a rainforest are found in the canopy. The sun that barely reaches the forest floor strikes treetops with full force, fueling the photosynthesis that eventually results in leaves, fruit and seeds. Since there's a bounty of good food way up there, animals abound in the canopy as well.
Costa Rica’s rain forests comprise some of the world's most complex ecosystems. The Sky Walk gives visitors the unique chance of seeing this complex web of life up close.
Enjoy Sky Walk it's an unforgettable experience, the excitement of looking to one side and seeing the tops of the trees and at the same time feel the sensation of walking among the clouds the principal objective is to offer a different observational perspective of tropical forest, as a new alternative in tourism for nature lovers.
Schedules: 7:00 a.m., 8:00a.m., 9:00a.m., 11:30a.m., 12:30 m.d., 2:00 p.m.
The slow-paced Sky Tram gondolas soar smoothly through the rain forest, offering up endless views during their mountainous ascent. Accompanied by a bilingual guide, tour takers will be able to stop the tram at any point, a feature that allows for magnificent, one-of-a-kind photographs to be captured and tropical birds to be spotted
The Sky tram ends in a wide observation platform on the highest point of the Arenal Reserve, where you can sit down on comfortable chairs to enjoy the view. You may stay as long as you wish on the platform admiring the volcano, the lake, the mountain range and rain forest. This tour is a full age tour, even for people with some disability, thanks to the space of our gondolas that fit a wheelchair inside, without folding it.
The first option is to ride back down the same way you came up, on the Sky Tram. On the ride you will be able to notice how the vegetation varies as the altitude changes once again. You can also opt for the more adventurous route back which is to zip your way to the bottom along the fast moving Sky Trek canopy tour zip lines, the best option for those seeking a rush of adrenaline.
Also on the site there are both a butterfly and orchid garden nearby the reception so save a little time to check them out as well, with no additional fees these are courtesy of the company.
Schedules: 7:30 a.m., 8:30a.m., 9:00a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:30a.m., 12:30 m.d., 2:00 p.m., 3:00p.m., 4:00p.m., 5:00p.m.,
Zipping along nearly two miles (three kilometers) of cables, you will see the rain forest as well as get a panoramic view of the volcano and lake from a whole new perspective.
Built with industrial-strength, high-angle, breakneck-speed bona fide thrill ride and people love it. The zip line is simply there to add a little perspective so you can tell how high you are or how fast you’re going, and it adds a nice background to the photographs as well.
Our major concern its safety, the prime objective of our staff is to provide a wonderful tour with a high standard of security, this is why the equipment is top quality like world class French made Petzl harnesses. Sky Trek is the top of the line of Canopy Tours, because it incorporates some significant differences, such as superior breaking systems, wider steel platforms, highly trained staff.
Further, the construction is of the highest quality, utilizing protective and secure materials, including metal platforms covered with mesh-covered steel rails, which prevent falling or sliding. We will provide you the helmet, gloves and harnesses of the best quality in the world, so you will get the safest, most comfortable and exciting experience that you will never forget!
This private reserve is near El Castillo, on the north-facing slopes of the Cordillera de Tilarán offers phenomenal volcano views, to be enjoyed from an aerial Sky Tram that rises 236 meters in a 1250 meters ride, taking visitors up to a mirador (lookout point) where starts the Sky Trek zip line circuit.
There are currently ten zip line cables and they range in height from 30 meters to 200 meters and in length from 200 meters to 750 meters.
Before leaving the main building to start your tour, you will be fitted with all of the necessary safety equipment (harness, helmet, gloves), which the guides will take care to properly adjust. Afterwards the guides will deliver a safety speech detailing proper form and the innovative braking system.
In the event of lightening or winds exceeding 120 km/h ( 75mph ) Sky Trek will cancel its tours for safety reasons; with lesser wind or rain only serving to add to the excitement, and speed, of the zip line tour. Sky Trek also provides complimentary lockers to store your backpacks while taking part in the canopy tour.