Arenal Volcano (& La Fortuna) – Arenal Stopped Erupting!

This is the third of three recent trip reports following our visit to Costa Rica.


No-one had advised me (or rather I had failed to properly research) that Arenal volcano stopped erupted last October.  Tourists and travellers all over the world are fascinated by the stunning pictures of Arenal volcano erupting, and given the fact that it is so easily accessible (2.5 hours from Costa Rica’s capital San Jose), they flock to the nearby town of Fortuna to organize an evening tour to see the stunning lava flows. 

Dormant for many years, Arenal suddenly started erupting in 1968.  Now it seems that it suddenly decided to stop erupting.   

So forget about the images of the once glowing red volcano. 

Arenal Volcano

You’re in for a disappointment!  Don’t expect your hotel in Fortuna/Arenal to tell you that the volcano stopped erupting.  When we visited in June 2011, there was a little waft of smoke coming out the top of Arenal volcano and that was it. A taxi driver told me that many people continued to sell evening  tours to see the volcanic eruptions, but they were now a waste of time as there is nothing to see these days.  Arenal stopped erupting in October 2010 apparently. 

Bad luck for Fortuna’s vacation industry.  The place is full of hotels that are now increasingly empty as the secret is out that what was an amazing natural attraction has no longer decided to provide a spectacle.  Maybe Arenal will start erupting again soon, or more likely it will sleep again for hundreds of years.     

Thankfully the volcano is still very beautiful and dramatic so all is not lost for the tourist industry of this part of Costa Rica.  There are also a variety of thermal pools, the scenic lake of Arenal where water-based activities are possible as well as other outdoor vacation activities on offer around Arenal.  Unfortunately, without the volcano spewing it’s lava, this part of Costa Rica is no longer the attraction it was before.  I’m just glad this was my second visit – I got to see the beautiful spectacle of an erupting volcano 12 years ago when I visited Arenal.

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