While Arenal Volcano is not located near any beach, what would paradise be without a volcano or two? Plus, with all of the hot springs located in the area, you still have some water to play in! I stayed in La Fortuna when I went. I was a little bit worried because so many of the things that I read made it sound like such a touristy town, but I actually found it quite charming. There is a really cute town square park where people gather and sit and just take in the day.
I stayed at the Hotel Monte Real which was a great place. There was a balcony with a view of the volcano and a swimming pool. There happened to be a mock orange tree blooming at the time, so it was lovely to just sit and smell the lovely fragrance and stare at the volcano. It was a very close walk to town but not right in the middle of things, so it was very peaceful and quiet.
For mornings and coffee, my absolute favorite place was The Rainforest Cafe. It had some of the best coffee that I had in all of Costa Rica. The setting was quite lovely as well. La Fortuna is also home to the best restaurant in all of Costa Rica, Don Rufino. Everything here from the drinks down to the desserts made me feel like I was tasting food for the very first time. After experiencing the culinary wasteland that much of Costa Rica was, this was like finding an oasis in a desert!!
I enjoyed the hike at the bottom of the volcano and even more, loved the hot springs in the area. My favorite was Eco Termales Hot Springs. You need to call to and make a reservation here. It was nice because it was very uncrowded. It was also a lot less expensive than some of the other Springs. There were also monkeys in the trees! I had so much fun soaking in the springs and watching the monkeys play in the treetops right above me.
There are so many things to do in the Arenal area. I highly recommend it as one of your stops in Costa Rica.
For more information about Costa Rica, check out my Costa Rica Escape Guide!