Lake Arenal

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.

Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal

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.

Lake Arenal HIGHLIGHTS

Moments to look forward to

9 days | $$

A Vacation That Exceeded All Expectations

Unbelievable place to visit. Never visited a tropical place like that before but the people are very friendly and the food is top notch. Highly recommend to anyone.
A Vacation That Exceeded All Expectations
Itinerary
View Details
Lake Arenal and El Castillo - Road Cycling Tour
Arenal

Lake Arenal and El Castillo - Road Cycling Tour

14 days | $$$

Couple's Exploring Pura Vida

With knowledgeable guides and awesome views, Costa Rica absolutely left a lasting memory on our trip. Anywhere worked with our budget and provided the perfect nature-filled vacation.
Couple's Exploring Pura Vida
Itinerary
View Details
Combo Lake Kayaking and Biking
Arenal

Combo Lake Kayaking and Biking

9 days | $

A Sun-Filled Tropical Vacation for Four

We planned this tropical getaway with our friends, and Tracy from Anywhere helped us find the best accommodations to stay at. From rainforests to beaches, Costa Rica has so much beautiful scenery to offer!
A Sun-Filled Tropical Vacation for Four
Itinerary
View Details
Pedal Board Tour
Arenal

Pedal Board Tour

14 days | $$$

Pura Vida Anniversary Adventure

To celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, we chose to visit Costa Rica. It was our first time visiting, but we fell in love with the place immediately. From Arenal, to Monteverde, to Manuel Antonio we’d come back again!
Pura Vida Anniversary Adventure
Itinerary
View Details
Kayaking Arenal Lake
Arenal

Kayaking Arenal Lake

8 days | $$$

Pura Vida Style Honeymoon

We were so pleased with this service and the amazing trip they put together for us. We’re so glad to have spent our honeymoon in Costa Rica where we could be close to nature and have so many new experiences.
Pura Vida Style Honeymoon
Itinerary
View Details