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The Arenal area is one of the main attractions in Costa Rica due to the volcano, as well as several other attractions nearby, including hot springs, waterfalls, and cloud forest trails. The small town of La Fortuna, which serves as a base for visiting the attractions in Arenal, has good facilities.

Arenal Volcano erupted in 1968, and has had frequent activity ever since, although the volcano has recently been less active, with the last major eruption coming in 2010. Since then, the volcano has been quiet with little sign of activity.

The Arenal Volcano National Park is located on the western side of the volcano, allowing you to walk on trails through the old lava fields and in secondary forest. The biodiversity of the park is high and roughly half of the species of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians found in Costa Rica can be found in the Arenal national park. These include howler and spider monkeys, white-nosed coatis, sloths and black vultures.

Apart from the volcano, the main attractions in the area are the hot springs, heated by the volcanic activity. There are several springs in the area, of which the most extensive are the Tabacon Hot Springs. These very beautiful springs consist of many large and small pools of mineral waters set in tropical gardens. Hot water rivers, between 27ºC and 42ºC, run throughout the grounds, forming natural waterfalls and pools, some secluded, where you can bathe. The restaurant also has views towards the volcano.

The area around Arenal is very beautiful, with great views from the pretty Lake Arenal, formed in 1973 through the construction of a dam. There are also several acitivies in the nearby cloud forest, including hanging bridges and an aerial tram, although nearby Monteverde is probably better for this.