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Arenal Volcano blowing smoke

Located near the small town of La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano is an active andesitic stratovolcano, meaning it has formed into a large cone shape from years of hardened lava and volcanic ash buildup. Though very young by geological standards (only 7,000 years old), Arenal used to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world until 2010, erupting an average of 41 times a day, much to the delight of the scientific community and local tourists. Today the volcano is still considered active but there have been no visible eruptions however it is still very much alive with gas coming out of the crater and the temperature of the surrounding hot springs remaining just as hot as years back.

Boasting a crater 460-feet across and a height of 1670 meters (5479 feet), the volcano is a significant landmark in Northern Costa Rica, and can be seen for miles around. This was particularly true at night prior to 2010, when throngs of tourists gather around the park and nearby resorts to watch as the majestic volcano illuminates the sky with festive eruptions that look almost like fireworks against the night air.

One site that has been attracting attention for eruption viewers since the eruptions shifted directions in 2005 is the local village of El Castillo, but the truly adventurous travelers will join tours of Arenal, which hold nightly viewings of the erupting behemoth from El Mirador, a spot some travelers believe to be the best place to see the volcano. Travelers would be advised to bring a jacket as, though the lava may be burning bright, it can get a bit chilly at night