After the eruption of the Arenal Volcano, on the 23rd of July 1968, the landscape of the small town of La Fortuna started to change, even though many residents fled the place, soon others came to continue putting to good use the fertile land of the area.

With the paving of the road in 1982, traveling to Fortuna became much easier, facilitating the arrival of people who discovered the great touristic potential of the beautiful region, especially because of the constant volcanic activity and the abundant natural beauty.

La Fortuna then changed its principal economic activity from agriculture and cattle ranching to tourism, which remains present today; this beautiful and nature rich area has become recognized worldwide.



Located on northwest Costa Rica, it belongs to the volcanic mountain range of Guanacaste. Situated at 10° 27’48.1” latitude north and 84° 42’ 12.0” longitude west.

According to the territory‘s political division, Arenal Volcano’s National Park is located in the provinces of Guanacaste and Alajuela. In Guanacaste, the park is inside the Tronadora district, Tilarán canton, with 2.227,5 ha, representing 18% of its total area. In Alajuela, the park forms part of La Fortuna district, San Carlos canton, with an extension of 6.535,2ha , equivalent to more than half of the protected area. Finally, it is also part of the Peñas Blancas district, San Ramon canton, covering 3.317,3ha which is the remaining 27% of the area.


Before 1968 this volcano was considered extinct, it was even thought that it wasn´t a volcano at all. But the 29th of July of 1968 it’s active period began, the volcanic activity opened three craters on the west flank. Crater A at 1000m high provoked an explosion of a pyroclastic flow (burning cloud), that devastated 12 square kilometers, vanishing houses and buildings of the towns of Pueblo Nuevo and Tabacon, provoking the death of approximately 87 people.

On September of that same year, lava started flowing from crater A, which remained active until 1973, year in which volcanic activity migrated to crater C at a height of 1.450m. This crater remained active until October 2010, it was known for its constant lava flow of basaltic composition and explosions of pyroclastic materials that became more frequent since 1984.


1699 m.s.n.m

Type of volcano

Stratovolcano. Volcano formed by lava and pyroclastic material stratums. Built by alternate layers of volcanic ashes and angular lapilli, lava flow ´A´a type and in bocks, and by deposits from hot clouds with ashes and blocks.

Activity Type

Strombolian eruptions with ´A´a type lava flows (in blocks and lacking of uniformity), hot cloud emissions with blocks and ashes (pyroclastic flows), pyroclastic material explosions and constant gas emissions.

Pyroclastic flows are perhaps the most dangerous of all flow types; these are hot clouds that descend from the top of the volcano at high speed, following the topographic depressions incinerating everything in its way.

Chronological Activity

Before 1968: volcano on beating state.

July of 1968: Strong eruption on the west side. In that same year three craters are opened from the explosion: Crater A at 1050m high, Crater B at 1175m and Crater C at 1460m. In addition to these three craters opened in 1968 , there is a crater D, with an elevation of 1633 m, which existed before the start of this eruptive period.

1973: Effusive activity (presence of lava flow).

1975: Pyroclastic fluid descends from the northwest flank into the Tabacon river.

1984-2006: Strombolian activity, lava flow, presence of pyroclastic flows (avalanches of incandescent rock) mostly since 1993.