La Fortuna, near Arenal volcano
Its full name is actually "La Fortuna de San Carlos”
it is a very friendly place
Here is the starting point from which you can explore the beautiful Arenal Volcano. La Fortuna is located in the province of Alajuela, and is the connection point between the northern lowlands and the high cloud forests around Monteverde and Santa Elena.
La Fortuna is easily accessible, and it offers spectacular views of the 10 km from the Arenal volcano, which is known as the most active volcano in Central America.
The Arenal Volcano
The Arenal is the most active volcano in Central America, and the youngest of Costa Rica. Constantly lava flows on the slopes of the valley, and you can regularly see flying glowing rocks in the sky.
The Arenal is known as a layer or composite volcano, and the youngest volcano in Costa Rica. Its perfect cone is usually surrounded by light smoke and in good weather it can be seen from afar. The oldest lava flows, which are brought by the Arenal, are 7000 years old. The volcanic activity in this region is much older. The neighboring volcano Chato, is estimated to be nearly 40,000 years old. It is believed that a large outbreak of the Chato initiated the eruptive activity of the Arenal. The Chato volcano's last eruption was 3500 years ago.
The last major eruption, of the 1650 m high Arenal, was in July 1968. This outbreak costed the lives of 78 people. At 1100 m altitude, and three new craters opened. The whole spectacle lasted three days. Before that, the volcano had no activity during 400 years. Now the volcano grows each year by few meters, as the lava collects around the crater.
Since that, the Arenal is considered relatively active. Mostly in the upper third of the volcano, you can observe lava flowing by a 100 meters lenght, provoking the stones to fall. Every few years, there are stronger eruptions. They often occur without no one noticing it. Therefore, it is forbidden to climb the Arenal.
This very nice place "Nuevo Arenal" is located directly on the Arenal reservoir. The place is a good mix of holiday houses, small hotels and restaurants, as well as an authentic village where you can find a large number of Native Americans, of the tribe of Malekus.
Particurally known in the Nuevo Arenal, is the german bakery of Buron and Ellen Thomas Perner, who live 11 years in Costa Rica. Here you can eat bread and cakes (also wheat beer), you can talk in german, you will have two real country experts in front of you. Both support the education of the Indians from the area, and are very helpful when it comes to finding accommodation in the city.
Ellen runs a small souvenir shop next to the bakery, with lots of real gems of the Indians. Not “made in China”, as you may find elsewhere.
You can find this quirky and very interesting place on the north band of the Lake Arenal.
The "Hotel Los Heroes" is a dream became true. The Swiss owner founded in 1989 their little Switzerland. With the construction of a swiss cowshed came the idea (in this comparable to the pre-alpine region), to build up a small Switzerland.
There is today a Hotel with a restaurant, a cheese factory, a chapel, and a train station. From this station starts a mountain lift, to a rotating restaurant, from where you can enjoy a fantastic view over the lake and up to the Arenal Volcano.
The railway line will go slowly through 3.5 km up the mountain, crosses 2 tunnels, and a beautiful high bridge. It is actually something any visitor must do, when you are in this enviroment. The train leaves 3 times a day, it is advisable a pre-booking. We are happy to guide you.