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Hike Arenal Volcano: Costa Rica - Central America's top 20 adventures

By: Richard Mahler & Ron Mader

Get up close and personal with a volcano. Arenal, of course, is a Central American must-see, and you can hike around it. And you'll get more than just a pot of hot lava: The area around the volcano also includes a 2,900-hectare national park, an enormous reservoir, and a botanical garden.

Cloud and tropical forest encircle the base of the volcano, which is six kilometers from the town of Fortuna. Arenal itself is some 1,633 meters high and has been continuously active since July, 1968. Every night lava pours down the side of the volcano and huge boulders shoot into the air. Nearby Lake Arenal is used for windsurfing, waterskiing, sailing, and fishing.