Arenal, Monteverde, and the Northern Lowlands Travel Guide

Arenal, Monteverde, and the Northern Lowlands Sights

Lake Arenal

  • 15 km (9 miles) southwest of La Fortuna Map It
  • La Fortuna
  • Body Of Water/Waterfall

Published 06/18/2015

Fodor's Review

Costa Rica's largest inland body of water, shimmering Lake Arenal, all 85 square km (33 square miles) of it, lies between rolling green hills and a picture-perfect volcano. Many visitors are surprised to learn it's a man-made lake, created in 1973 when a giant dam was built to provide hydroelectric power for the country. A natural depression was flooded, and a lake was born. Depending on the season, the depth varies between 30 and 60 meters (100–200 feet), with rainbow bass and machaca fish lurking below the surface. When water levels drop, you can see ruins of a cemetery and church jutting from the lake. The almost constant winds from the Caribbean make this area a windsurfing and kiteboarding mecca. Outfitters in La Fortuna, Nuevo Arenal, and Tilarán run fishing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding trips on the lake. Desafío, an operator based in La Fortuna and Monteverde, has a half-day horseback trip between the two towns, with great views of the lake. For the best lake views, reserve a hotel in Nuevo Arenal.

Sight Information


15 km (9 miles) southwest of La Fortuna, La Fortuna, Alajuela, Costa Rica

Map It

Published 06/18/2015


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