Wanderlust Wednesday – A Rare View of the Arenal Volcano

Something that is not mentioned in the guidebooks or many websites about Costa Rica is exactly how rare it is to catch the top of the Arenal Volcano. You would think with all the marketing with the chance to see lava flows (it really hasn’t been active since 2011) you would think you would see something. If you’re stubborn enough, this sleeping giant may just reward you for your perseverance.

As we were enjoying our dinner at the Hotel Arenal Kioro (in the La Fortuna area), the waiter suddenly made his way to the giant 10ft (3m) windows that lead to the outside. With a quick swish and a slide, the most glorious cool breeze filled the restaurant and kissed my cheeks. I can’t help but have a smile on my face when the crickets outside are singing their hearts out.

My eyes adjusted to the dark outside to reveal a secret that had been hidden by the evening’s thunderstorm passing through – for just a minute Arenal displayed itself in all its majesty. I quickly made a makeshift tripod out of my dinner napkin on the windowsill and captured a picture that stopped my heart. In the middle the darkness, I happened to capture a bit of light that made the behemoth appear as though it was in broad daylight.
It took my breath away.

Volcano Arenal-1

Volcano Arenal-2

With a huge smile plastered onto my face I was received with a guffaw from a nearby table. Visually upset the expat regaled me with the tale that he had come up to Kioro for the previous 10 years had never had the opportunity to see it completely. I waltz in and the clouds open of for me.

As I entered cloud 9, I thanked Costa Rica for this gorgeous visual gift.

Have you had something like this happen to you before? When were you at the right place at the right time?

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Disclosure: We were guests of the Costa Rican Tourism Board however all opinions are our own.

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11 Responses to “Wanderlust Wednesday – A Rare View of the Arenal Volcano”

  1. Jennifer
    December 4, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

    Gorgeous photo! I was in Costa Rica, oh at least 15 years ago now, for a high school study abroad program and never once saw Arenal in all its glory. You were very lucky, indeed!

    • Erica
      December 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      I’m glad to have people agreeing with me just so people know how rare it is! I’m sure it was SUPER different 15 years ago!

  2. Laura
    December 4, 2013 at 5:39 pm #

    Wow, stunning photos! I was in the area several years ago but didn’t realize the volcano is not active anymore. I got to see it briefly through the clouds, but the most memorable thing for me was going out into the middle of nowhere at night and getting to see the lava and giant red molten rocks come out. Spectacular!

    • Erica
      December 8, 2013 at 5:26 pm #

      How AWESOME and I’m a little jelly about that one. We got to see a plume of smoke but that is about it. Did you get pictures?

  3. Randy Bullis (the Dad)
    December 5, 2013 at 4:20 pm #

    absolutely stunning pic sweetie.

    • Erica
      December 10, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Thanks pops!

  4. Rebecca
    December 7, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    Lucky you! We never saw the top when we were there.

    • Erica
      December 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

      I do feel lucky! But to be honest, I was constantly eyeing the damn thing. I was determined!

  5. Rob@ Kenya 1 Day Tours
    December 22, 2013 at 10:45 am #

    The second pic is heavenly. Great work!

    • Erica
      December 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

      Thanks Rob! I just wished I didn’t feel so rushed to grab a picture of the top of the volcano!

  6. Will
    March 25, 2014 at 2:02 am #

    Mount Robson in the Canadian Rockies can be the same way in terms of visibility … glad Arenal came out of the clouds for you!

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