The International Writers Magazine: Costa Rica

The Greatest Show on Earth
Wes Weston

here are few places in the world where you can get up and close to an active volcano. So what’s it like? During the day eruptions occur so frequently there’s a massive cloud of smoke protruding across the sky. At nighttime, sparks fly as red lava gushes down the side of the mountain in an irrepressible fury. The spectacle is breathtaking and makes you wonder if it’s actually safe to be this close to all the fireworks. To find such a place one would have to visit Volcan Arenal.

The volcano stands over 1600 meters in all its glory in a perfect conical shape. Arenal was actually thought to be dormant for several hundred years until a massive explosion in 1968 threw rocks and ash for miles, killing 84 people, and devastating the surrounding villages. Since then the volcano has been very much awake and is considered one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world.

Nestled in between Lake Arenal to the east and the town of La Fortuna to the west, Volcan Arenal is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Costa Rica. The town of La Fortuna is small but has many shops, hotels, and restaurants to accommodate visitors. It’s incredible just to walk down the main street in town with the volcano dominating the backdrop, which is the scene on many postcards. The activities around Arenal are plentiful ranging from horseback riding, to canopy tours, to visiting a magnificent waterfall. If you want to get a closer view of the volcano, Parque Nacional Volcan Arenal has several trails leading to great vistas for capturing photos of the towering inferno. However, the most extraordinary luxury that Arenal has to offer are the thermal hot springs where you can relax in steaming pools while watching lava explode from the volcano’s mouth. There are several different hot springs to choose from, all with different prices and amenities, and all worth the cost of admission.

A trip to Volcan Arenal is a must for anyone wishing to marvel over the explosive power of nature. Volcan Arenal is certainly not off the beaten path, which means there’s a reason why so many people just have to see it.

© Wes Weston <

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