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Arenal Volcano National Park Ranked Among the 35 Best on Earth

What’s the best way to experience our planet’s amazing and curious natural wonders? Huff Post Travel suggests that one look no further than our national parks – those rambling tracts of wilderness (both well-traveled and off the tourist map) that have been protected for future generations to enjoy.  Visitors to Costa Rica will be delighted to know that Arenal Volcano National Park topped their list of the “35 Most Amazing National Parks on Earth,” and with good reason!

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Arenal Volcano one of Costa Rica's most visited destinations
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Lush rainforest, hot springs & a rumbling volcano

Aptly described as a paradise, Arenal Volcano National Park is situated in the fertile Northern region, amidst lush Costa Rican rainforest. “There’s a rumbling active volcano (yes, you can actually see the lava pouring down the sides), surrounded by hot springs, fauna-filled forests, and plenty of hidden waterfalls,” says Huff Post in their recent online post. Brazil’s Iguazu National Park made #2 on the list, followed by California’s scenic Yosemite and Namibia’s safari-ready Etosha National Park.

Volcanic activity at Arenal

It’s no secret that Arenal’s volcanic activity has been on the wane for the past few years, with fewer eruptions and lava flows emitted from its nearly perfect conical crater. For years, it was considered one of the planet’s ten most active volcanoes, thanks to regular belches of smoke, steam and fiery-red boulders. While Arenal still has some fumarole activity, lava sightings are relatively uncommon these days. Regardless, visitors to the La Fortuna region can reap the benefits of thermal-heated waters in one of several gorgeous hot spring attractions, which feature waterfalls, kid-friendly water slides and pools of varying temperatures to choose from.

Arenal National Park surrounded with tropical wildlife
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Hiking & wildlife watching in the park

Numerous tour operators in the La Fortuna area offer guided hikes through sections of Arenal Volcano National Park, which covers nearly 30,000 acres. Four well-marked trails traverse old lava flows, climb up through pristine rainforest and over rocky landscapes that are strewn with massive volcanic boulders.  White-nose coatimundi, white-faced and howler monkeys and sloths are commonly spotted along the trails, some of which have beautiful lookouts over Lake Arenal. No camping is allowed in the park, and guided trips circumvent the volcanic crater due to risk of toxic gasses.