4-Star Eco-Friendly Resort Overlooking an Active Volcano
Arenal Kioro is a sustainable upscale resort situated on the outskirts of Arenal Volcano National Park in northern Costa Rica. The park contains several well-marked hiking trails that meander through tropical forests populated by howler monkeys, parrots, and deer. The main attraction, however, is Arenal Volcano, a stratovolcano that stands nearly 5,500 feet tall. Though the last major eruption took place in 1968, part of the volcano is still active today—on clear days, you can catch a glimpse of smoke or lava flowing out of the top. But don’t worry—park rangers keep close eyes on all volcanic activity.
Frommer’s says, “the views from the rooms, grounds, pool, and restaurant of this hotel are truly astounding.” You can get a nice view of the volcano from almost anywhere at Arenal Kioro, including the private terraces of family suites. Or grab a table at Heliconias Restaurant, where chefs serve seafood, steaks, and other international specialties in an airy dining room decorated with tropical flowers and coral-stone tables. The resort’s 27 acres are lined with burbling mountain streams, scenic walking paths, and volcanic hot springs. These springs flow through a series of manmade pools rigged with hydromassage jets and are available exclusively to guests at the resort.
Pair your hot-springs session with a hot-stone massage or coffee exfoliation at Neidin Spa for additional relaxation. Arenal Kioro also earned a four-leaf sustainable-tourism rating for its energy- and water-conservation efforts.
Alajuela Province, Costa Rica: Active Volcanoes and Rich History
Situated in north-central Costa Rica just south of the Nicaragua border, the picturesque Alajuela Province is perhaps best known for its two active volcanoes: Arenal and Poás. The first is located in the west of the province. The latter sits in a cloud forest to the southeast and is the world’s largest active volcano. Both are surrounded by lush, tropical forests inhabited by monkeys, colorful birds, and exiled garden gnomes.
The provincial capital, Alajuela, lies in the far south of the province, just northwest of San José, Costa Rica’s capital. Alajuela is smaller and more laid-back than San José, but there are still plenty of things to see and do here. Check out the Juan Santamaría Cultural Historical Museum to learn about its national hero, Juan Santamaría, who gave his life to protect the country’s independence during an important battle with the Spanish army. Alajuela also has a large central market where you can buy local foods and crafts.
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