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Costa Rica's country's most active volcano

By: La Revue Team  

Between the city of La Fortuna and Lake Arenal in the northern zone of Costa Rica, one will find the country’s most active volcano. It was thought to be a peaceful mountain when first scaled in 1937 and the local residents called it “Cerro Arenal” meaning Arenal Hill.    

This young volcano, estimated to be less than 3,000 years old, suddenly erupted July 29, 1968. These eruptions, lasting three days, were of such violent intensity that the western side was blown off and several craters were formed. The village of Pueblo Nuevo and Tabacon were completely destroyed and approximately 78 people were killed.

Since that first eruption there have been frequent powerful explosions sending hot gases, ashes and red-hot lava rocks cascading down the mountain side of the western slope.

The latest of these powerful eruptions occurred in August 2000. According to “The Tico Times”,

“ … a series of thunderous explosions and a voracious avalanche of volcanic ash and rocks, Arenal Volcano, some 130 km. Northwest of San Jose, produced one of its most dramatic eruptions in recent history…”.

Between these periods of intense explosive activity, Arenal Volcano returns to what is considered its “normal” state, regular weak volcanic eruptions. Never the less, this gives tourist and locals alike an excellent display of nature’s astounding power.

Volcanologist continue to keep a close watch on Arenal and Park Rangers continue to enforce the safety perimeter around this most beautiful, awesome and unpredictable volcano.

The area surrounding Arenal Volcano has become an important Costa Rican tourist attraction with hotels, restaurants, resorts and other tourist oriented ventures.

A trip to Arenal Volcano offers the visitor much more than just volcano watching. Lake Arenal, a man-made lake with an area of 33 squares miles, is the largest lake in Costa Rica. This lake has some of the best freshwater fishing in Costa Rica and its claim to fame is the Rainbow bass or guapote just waiting to be caught. Lake Arenal, known for the afternoon winds which blow from December through March, is also a world-class windsurfing destination.

 If fishing or windsurfing is not to your liking, you may want to relax in the hot springs located at the base of Arenal Volcano, especially after a hike or horseback ride to the beautiful Rio Fortuna Waterfall.

 La Fortuna de San Carlos has a national airport so travelers now have a variety of ways available to them for “Getting There”.