Luxury holidays in San Carlos

Most of the Costa Rican canton of San Carlos cowers in the foreground of almighty Arenal – once one of the world’s most active volcanoes, though currently sleeping after last letting off steam in 2010. It’s the country’s adventure playground, where you can windsurf on Lake Arenal, raft along rapids and jump down waterfalls, with helpful hot springs to soothe limbs in afterwards. Tour companies are called things like ‘Sky Adventures’, due to the nature of how they like to conduct business (in a harness, suspended somewhere near a jungle canopy). Or just make like the several resident sloths and hang out all day in the humidity until it’s time for cocktails in lively La Fortuna de San Carlos.

When to go

Tropical San Carlos is inevitably hot and humid for most of the year, and, unlike Narnia, it’s never winter, just dry season or wet. The rainy months, also known as the green season for obvious reasons, are from May to November – though the weather can be unpredictably damp at any time of year. Aim for April and September, which tend to strike a good rain to heat ratio. If you’re hoping to hit Lake Arenal’s surf, the strongest winds are between November and April.

Getting there

  • Planes

    La Fortuna de San Carlos, and its famous neighbouring conical crater, is around 90 kilometres north-west of the Costa Rican capital, San José. The country’s main air hubs are San José International, roughly three hours away by car; and Liberia, a similar distance west.