Arenal Volcano: One if the most memorable experiences I had happened around 2003. I was laying in the thermal waters at Tablacon , a man enhanced natural thermal stream, with tropical drink in hand on a clear night (rare) watching lava rocks spit out of the volcano and role down the side of the mountain.
1. Costa Rica’s Turrialba Volcano Erupts… Again
Located due east of San José, Turrialba is just two hours from the San Jose airport yet feels like a different world entirely and that was never more the case when the volcano, one of Costa Rica’s most active, erupted last night at 9:27 pm. according to Ovsicori, Costa Rica’s volcanic ministry.
It I also reported that an ash cloud of over 1000 meters rose above the volcano.
Reports of light ash and the smell of sulpher as far away as Escazu, San Pedro and Belen were reported.
The volcanic activity has stopped for now. The National Park had recently reopened after a period of consistent volcanic activity had caused concerns, resulting in its closure. You can see the volcano in action below.
2. Half Price Flights to Costa Rica: For both San Jose and Liberia
The Points Guy has compiled a list of bargain fares between the United States and San Jose Costa Rica (SJO) and Liberia (LIR) starting this weekend. Round-trip airfare can be found for as low as $186 round trip
Sample ticket prices on Jetblue to San Jose:
Travel dates: January through April 2022.
Book by: This deal will only last one–two days.
- From New York City (EWR/JFK), starting at $186.
- From Ft. Lauderdale (FLL), starting at $194.
- From Philadelphia (PHL), starting at $200.
- From Miami (MIA), starting at $222.
- From Baltimore (BWI), starting at $244.
- From Las Vegas (LAS), starting at $257.
- From Los Angeles (LAX), starting at $264.
- From San Diego (SAN), starting at $268.
- From San Francisco (SFO), starting at $280.
- From Nashville (BNA), starting at $290.
Sample ticket prices on United Airlines to Liberia:
Travel dates: January through May 2022; September through December 2022.
Book by: This deal will last one–two days.
- From Austin (AUS)/Los Angeles (LAX), starting at $218.
- From Baltimore (BWI), starting at $264.
- From Indianapolis (IND), starting at $271.
- From Charlotte (CLT), starting at $293.
- From San Diego (SAN), starting at $273.
- From New York City (JFK/LGA)/Philadelphia (PHL), starting at $275.
- From Nashville (BNA), starting at $281.
- From Washington, D.C. (DCA/IAD), starting at $239.
Other airports with lower-than-normal fares may be available.
Use a website like Google Flights to find the cheapest dates and prices.
Nine airlines offer direct connections between Costa Rica and the United States, the country’s main tourism market: Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Alaska, American Airlines, JetBlue, Spirit, Sun Country, Frontier and Southwest.
Visiting Costa Rica During Covid-19
Tourists from anywhere in the world can visit Costa Rica during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Visitors can arrive to Costa Rica via land, air or sea ports of entry. Costa Rica does not require a negative coronavirus test, but travel medical insurance is necessary for unvaccinated adults.
Here are are the current requirements to enter Costa Rica:
- Everyone must out the electronic epidemiological HEALTH PASS form, available at https://salud.go.cr. This should be completed in the 72 hours before boarding for Costa Rica. It generates a QR code that you must show upon arrival; airlines also ask for it at check-in or at boarding. One Health Pass form must be completed per person, including minors, without exception.
- Adults must show proof of complete vaccination, with the second dose coming at least 14 days prior, OR purchase Traveler’s Medical Insurance covering the duration of their stay in Costa Rica. (Minors do not need insurance or vaccination at this time).
Qualifying vaccines are two doses of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, or Moderna — or a mix of the aforementioned formulas — or one dose of Johnson & Johnson. For U.S. visitors, the Covid-19 vaccination record card meets the insurance requirement; a photo should be uploaded to the Health Pass.
Those needing insurance can obtain it either from an international company, or purchased through the National Insurance Institute (INS), Sagicor or BlueCross BlueShield of Costa Rica. These last three policies are pre-approved and guaranteed to be accepted by Costa Rican authorities. However, many visitors choose international policies, because they are often cheaper.
Tourists who opt to purchase an international policy must bring a letter demonstrating:
- Guaranteed coverage of medical expenses in the event of becoming ill with COVID-19 while in Costa Rica, for at least $50,000 USD.
- Minimum coverage of $2,000 USD for lodging expenses issued as a result of the pandemic.
- Validity of the policy throughout the planned stay in Costa Rica.
In addition to the coronavirus-related measures, tourists must also meet Costa Rica’s general visa requirements; visitors must have a valid passport and proof of intent to exit the country (an outbound ticket) within 90 days.
The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) lists all the current entry requirements for tourists on its website. Click here for the official page.
3. Why is Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano Famous? A Brief History
Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s most famous destinations with its iconic, colossal volcano holding quite a reputation with its active history. Just outside of La Fortuna, it is the youngest of Costa Rica’s volcanoes, about 3 hours from the country’s capital, San Jose.
Laying silent for many years, having those around to believe it could just be a grand mountain in the distance, July 29, 1968 would prove otherwise. For several days it displayed its power burying 3 nearby villages, killing people in its path, destroying livestock and crops. Beneath the clouds of ash laid the destruction of what was so clearly no longer thought to be Arenal Mountain.
Believed to be formed approximately 7,000 years ago Arenal Volcano continued to perform after it’s 1968 violent devastation until 2010. Tourism continued to be on a steady rise as people from around the world came to witness this phenomenon in the distance.
The nights would put on a show with glowing lava seeping from the volcano for those that were lucky to see clearings within the clouds. Thousands would continue to arrive filling up hotels and accommodations as they sat out in the evenings watching for the stratovolcano’s nightly performance.
As it now sits at rest, sleeping until its next potential awakening, many come to admire its grandeur with hopes of seeing some sort of activity. Although you won’t be witnessing lava spewing from its crater and rocks projecting through the air the days are full of exciting eco adventures in and around Arenal all within a safe distance. Accommodations within the area offer gorgeous, breathtaking views of Arenal Volcano for once in lifetime experiences.
The thermal waters of the area’s hot springs keep the area in high demand for visitors in search of the therapeutic relaxation set within the beauty of paradise. The area has aerial tours riding above in a gondola taking you and your family on a bird’s eye view of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Walk along the hanging bridges up within the trees of the rainforest listening for the wildlife and the birds within.
For those that love a bit more adventure the ziplines soar you above the canopies of the forest. The waters surrounding Arenal are popular for white water rafting and the nearby La Fortuna waterfall is always busy with visitors. Swimming within the cool waters where a 200-foot cascade drops before you is a perfect way to cool off after a day out in Arenal.
Arenal Volcano National Park has several different hiking trails with various lengths. One of the trails leads you out to walk upon what is left from a lava flow of the past. The trail takes you to a spectacular view of Arenal Volcano on one side and the gorgeous Lake Arenal on the other. It is one of the best views and a rare opportunity to experience a part of the volcano’s legacy.
Here at the base of the Arenal Volcano you can find the biggest lake in all of Costa Rica, all 85 square kilometers that make up Lake Arenal. Enticing outdoor enthusiasts for its ideal combination of water and wind conditions, you will see plenty of people gliding across the water’s face.
Kitesurfing and wing foiling have become a fun and exciting attraction but it is windsurfing that attracts so many. It is considered to be one of the top few places in the world for windsurfing. Wide open space and consistent winds draw many to the grand lake with lessons and rental companies for you and your family to test out your skills. You may not be riding out the swells jumping out some aerials but you can still have an amazing time sailing across Lake Arenal.
Kayaking with the backdrop of rolling hills and towering Arenal Volcano it can all seem like a surreal scene from a Hollywood movie. You don’t need to be an expert to be able to get out and explore the waters of Lake Arenal. Even sailing across or on a sunset cruise allows you to feel the magic of the stunning area.
Sports fishing brings forth a challenge and thrill of reeling in a guapote or rainbow bass as many others know it as or angling a machaca on your fishing adventure. Lake Arenal provides endless outdoor tourism to the area and offers a fun complimentary day to exploring Arenal Volcano.
However, it wasn’t always this large, in fact it is man-made, created by ICE, Costa Rica’s Institute of Electricity. What many don’t realize is what actually lies beneath the waters surface, distant memories of two towns and the history of the people’s generation. ICE was on route to build an important and beneficial source of electric energy for Costa Rica’s population by creating a hydro electric dam. The area provided ideal conditions for the location of the reservoir and by 1979, they would have expanded the lake three times its size.
However, in order to do this, they needed to flood the valley and dam the river. But within that valley lay two towns and the people of Arenal and Tronadora. Everyone and their animals were required to leave regardless of their opinion and situation. The villages were not unsupported however, as two new towns were developed in their place displacing their homes and farms to Nuevo Arenal and a relocated Tronadora.
The communities saw improved buildings and living conditions but it came with a price to the people. The loss of everything that they knew their life to be, the familiarity and comfort of their community and the reminiscences of their loved ones buried here. All but a distant memory as eventually everything was flooded now laying beneath the water.
The region has continued to grow and prosper with the success of Lake Arenal, its expanding eco tourism and the infamous volcano at the forefront of it all. Arenal Volcano may be at rest, however, we are constantly reminded of the power that the Earth holds and at times its unpredictability. We must never forget that one eventually wakes after a long restful nap.