Lake Arenal

Northern Lowlands

Lake Arenal, lying adjacent to the Arenal Volcano in the Northern Lowlands of Costa Rica, is the country’s most spectacular lake. With the magnificent Arenal Volcano to the east and rolling hills and forested slopes all around, the scenery couldn’t be better. Add to that a number of activities that includes world-class windsurfing and sailboarding, fishing, kayaking, bird watching and more, and you have the makings for a spectacular destination.

Between 2 and 3 million years ago, tectonic shifts in the Earth created a small depression in the Arenal valley that then filled with water, resulting in a small lagoon that acted as the initial area for the lake. This was the state of Lake Arenal until 1973, when the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity enlarged the lake and built a dam on its eastern end. The lake of today is Costa Rica’s largest – a total area of 33 sq. miles (85.5 square km) – and has a hydroelectric project that produces 70% of the country’s energy. Water depth varies from 100-200 feet. The small town of Nuevo Arenal, which borders a section of the lake, was also created in 1973 when the initial site of the town was flooded from the expansion of the lake.

Year-round activities on Lake Arenal include fishing, boat tours, kayaking, sailboarding and windsurfing. The windsurfing is particularly good, as the lake has warm waters and strong winds – two ingredients that are indispensable for premier windsurfing locations. The fishing is superb as well. Rainbow bass, a member of the cichlid family, are especially prolific in the lake’s waters. Their tasty white meat and feisty nature make them a challenge – and a delight – to catch.

The area surrounding the lake is abundant with activity as well. There is great hiking and mountain biking, horseback riding and bird watching. Birds that can be spotted in the area include hummingbirds and woodpeckers, kingfishers, toucans, aricari and more.

Lake Arenal is 10 miles (17 km) from La Fortuna, 66 miles (106 km) from Monteverde, and 87 miles (140 km) from Liberia. Those heading from Arenal/La Fortuna to Monteverde can take boat taxis across the lake, a faster alternative to circumnavigating the lake on land.

Nearby Activities

 

Lake Arenal Fishing

2-in-1 combo|6 hours

Arenal

3.9 / 5.0
Starting At$150
Lake Arenal Fishing

Fishing on Lake Arenal is a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Arenal Volcano and the incredible landscape surrounding Lake Arenal.

3.9 / 5.0
Tour Details

Road Bike around Lake Arenal

Biking|7 hours

Arenal

3.9 / 5.0
Starting At$135
Road Bike around Lake Arenal

On this road biking trip around Lake Arenal, riders will coast along rolling hills and enjoy stunning scenery. This wonderful excursion is perfect for beginners and...

3.9 / 5.0
Tour Details

Fly Board

Guided Tours|40 minutes

Arenal

5.0 / 5.0
Starting At$93
Fly Board

The fly board experience is truly one-of-a-kind. This adventurous activity allows you to shoot 32 feet (10 m) into the air and hover over the surface of Arenal...

5.0 / 5.0
Tour Details

Kayaking Lake Arenal

Kayaking|5 hours

Arenal

4.7 / 5.0
Starting At$65
Kayaking Lake Arenal

This 4-hour kayaking tour on Lake Arenal is a wonderful way to enjoy the magnificent scenery of both the lake and the nearby Arenal Volcano.

4.7 / 5.0
Tour Details

Combination Lake Arenal Kayaking and Biking

2-in-1 combo|5 hours

Arenal

4.2 / 5.0
Starting At$95
Combination Lake Arenal Kayaking and Biking

Get active and see Costa Rica’s largest lake on this biking and kayaking tour. This lake covers 33 square miles (85 sq km), and is surrounded by lush jungle and...

4.2 / 5.0
Tour Details

Nearby Lodging

 

La Mansion Inn Arenal

Nuevo Arenal

Air Conditioning

Bar

Free Breakfast

Jacuzzi

Restaurant

& More

4.4 / 5.0
From$234

La Mansion Inn Arenal

La Mansion Inn Arenal is an exclusive and small luxurious resort overlooking the Arenal Lake of Costa Rica on the Northern Plains. Here you can take some time to...

4.4 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates

Arenal Lodge

Arenal

Air Conditioning

Bar

Cable TV

Free Breakfast

Jacuzzi

& More

4.2 / 5.0
From$130

Arenal Lodge

The Arenal Lodge is situated in the Northern Lowlands of Costa Rica, just outside of the popular town of La Fortuna. This region is blessed with natural beauty and...

4.2 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates

The Lost Iguana Resort

Arenal

Air Conditioning

Bar

Cable TV

Free Breakfast

Jacuzzi

& More

4.7 / 5.0
From$277

The Lost Iguana Resort

The Lost Iguana Resort is situated in the province of Alajuela, near the charming community of La Fortuna. Visitors will delight in the natural wonders and beauty that...

4.7 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates

Arenal Vista Lodge

Arenal

Bar

Free Breakfast

Restaurant

Swimming Pool

Wireless Internet

& More

3.7 / 5.0
From$143

Arenal Vista Lodge

Located in the province of Alajuela, the Arenal Vista Lodge is just 30 minutes away from La Fortuna, just in front of the Arenal Lake and Volcano. Here you will find...

3.7 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates

Hotel Castillo del Arenal

Arenal

Bar

Free Breakfast

Restaurant

Swimming Pool

& More

4.0 / 5.0
From$76

Hotel Castillo del Arenal

Hotel Castillo del Arenal is located in the province of Alajuela, near the majestic Arenal Volcano. This area is renowned for its volcano and the grand Lake Arenal,...

4.0 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates

Rancho Margot

Arenal

Bar

Free Breakfast

Restaurant

Swimming Pool

Wireless Internet

& More

4.5 / 5.0
From$250

Rancho Margot

Rancho Margot is located along the shores of Lake Arenal, with rivers and streams flowing through the property and right at the foothills of the Children Eternal Rain...

4.5 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates

Linda Vista del Norte

Arenal

Air Conditioning

Bar

Cable TV

Free Breakfast

Jacuzzi

& More

4.5 / 5.0
From$94

Linda Vista del Norte

Linda Vista del Norte is situated in El Castillo, just outside of La Fortuna, which is home to the Arenal Volcano. Endless, lush, green scenery and abounding nature and...

4.5 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates

Vista Verde Lodge

Monteverde

Bar

Restaurant

& More

4.9 / 5.0
From$77

Vista Verde Lodge

Vista Verde Lodge is perched up in the mountains of Costa Rica, in the Puntarenas Province. The hotel sits in the picturesque area of Monteverde, world renowned for its...

4.9 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates

Hotel Arenal Kioro

Arenal

Air Conditioning

Bar

Cable TV

Free Breakfast

Jacuzzi

& More

4.7 / 5.0
From$366

Hotel Arenal Kioro

Hotel Arenal Kioro is located in the northern lowland region of Costa Rica, near the majestic Arenal Volcano. Nature lovers will find themselves surrounded by...

4.7 / 5.0
Rooms and Rates