Arenal, CR or VNP

Old Apr 6th, 2007, 09:17 AM
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Arenal, CR or VNP

I know that this kind of question has been asked before, but instead of getting into Hawaii vs CR debate, I have a specific question about volcano views. My six year old son has this great interest in watching volcanoes (he was glued to tv watching the movie volcano the other day). We will have about six days in July to take him to either CR or Big Island in July. We live in Chicago area. I have done some cost comparison and that would not be a deciding factor. If viewing a volcano is a prime consideration besides some other site seeing activities, which one would you choose. I have posed this question on CR board also. Thank You.
kumarst is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2007, 09:20 AM
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We were in CR a few years ago, but for us it was a beach vacation.
However, during my research I found that the CR volcano is sometimes not visible because of clouds.
I don't think this is an issue in Hawaii.

Anyone else?
angethereader is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2007, 11:29 AM
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I haven't been to VNP yet (it's on the "list"), but I have been to Arenal in Costa Rica. We stayed in the area for 4 days, and saw the volcano from our beds, from our pool, and just going about our activities. If you stay there for several days, you increase your chances of volcano sitings. From what I know about VNP, you take an excursion there for a day or a few hours, and then leave.

There are also lots of other fun activities in the area, ie: float tours, zip-lining, hanging bridges, horseback riding, volcano hikes.

I think your son would be thrilled with the Arenal area. We stayed at the Arenal Paraiso, but there are other hotels with good volcano view. The CR experts on the Latin America board are really helpful.

Good luck!
lvk is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2007, 12:14 PM
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I think the two experiences are totally different. Arenal is one volcano which you are really viewing/observing from the surrounding area. It's often clouded in and you may or may not see eruptions but they can usually only be seen at night anyway. There's lots of eco-adventures to do in the surrounding area, though. The area is very lush and wet.

VNP is like 5 volcanos I believe which you are able to view relatively close up on the volcanos themselves (rather than from the surrounding area). As opposed to merely observing the volcano (like Arenal) you are touring it. The area is all lava and desolate (contary to Arenal) and you will see lava flows, though probably not the type of eruptions that can happen at Arenal.

Arenal's eruptions are much more unpredictable and, potentially, more powerful and dangerous.
JarredK is offline  
Old Apr 6th, 2007, 01:44 PM
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Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park is very well organized and full of informational and educational activities. You can stay at the (inactive) crater rim. I would recommend Hawaii, as it is a more complete experience. You can check out the park at It's under Hawaiian Volcanoes National Park. You can also go to and use the link about midway down the left colum to the park and the Kilauea update. I love to look at the Pu'u'O'o crater cam, and all the aerial photos. Your son could study that and read about it before going to the park.
Old Apr 6th, 2007, 06:49 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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We stayed in Arenal for 3 days and never got so much as a glimpse. While the area was interesting and beautiful, if you are truly going to "see" the volcano, maybe Volcanoes National Park would be a safer bet. However, I have to say, we did hear it grumble fiercely! A local in one of the restaurants told us the odds of seeing it are just about 50%.
tinamidon is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Thank you so much for all of your insights. Exactly the kind of inputs I was looking for. We have decided to go Hawaii BI towards end of June/Early July. We will have six nights. I know it is not long, but should we split our stay between Hilo and Kona side. We will fly in and out of Hilo, as fare is cheaper there. Thanks again.
kumarst is offline  
Old Apr 7th, 2007, 10:53 AM
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Stay at the Volcano. Your son will love it. You can stay at Volcano House, or in one of the nearby B& B's. It can be quite cool or moist there in the mornings so bring some light jackets.

Go to the park website for Volcano House information. June-July is a very busy time in Hawaii, so you will need to get reservations ASAP.
If it were me, I would split time between either Hilo and Volcano, and Kona. The warm sunny beaches are on the Kona side.
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