Lago Arenal, Costa Rica’s largest lake, is 538 meters above sea level. It is equally popular with swimmers, anglers and windsurfers. The lake was created some three million years ago by tectonic movements of the earths crust. The Indians who lived around the lake found it an inexhaustible source of fish. In 1973, Costa Rica’s electrical authority built a dam at the eastern edge of the valley, raising the level of the lake and inundating the ancient villages of Arenal and Tronador. The water of the 32-kilometerlong narrow lake is an important source of electricity for the area.
The west side of the lake is swept by strong winds, especially during the dry period from December to February when up to 30-knot winds give windsurfers the ride of their life on waves that sometimes reach one meter in height. The water temperature remains about 21°C all year round, encouraging even the most timid surfers to do without their neoprene suits. The surfers share the lake with anglers who come to hook mojarras (lake bass), guapotes (rainbow perch) and machacas (related to piranhas). Most of Fortuna’s hotels can arrange fishing excursions.
The Hot Springs of Tabacon are 13 kilometers from Fortuna. The volcano’s lava fields heat the water of the Rio Tabacon, creating hot mineral springs believed to heal skin disease and ease pains from arthritis and muscular disorders. The colonial-style spa provides relaxing baths in 30-35°C water from five natural mineral springs. The gardens and panoramic view provide absolute pleasure, which can only be topped by a warm shower under a mineral spring waterfall.