Lake Arenal


Lake Arenal is a 33-mile long, man-made lake used to produce hydroelectric power for Costa Rica. Because it is owned and managed by the country’s electric company (ICE), there is no building allowed directly on the shores, keeping it natural and tranquil. There is a large earthen dam at the East end of the lake which has a small marina and is a popular launching point for kayak tours, water taxis, and jet-skiing.

Lake Arenal was created by filling the nearby valley with water from 1972-1976, and required the entire pueblo of Arenal to be relocated further up the hillside to what is now known as Nuevo Arenal (new Arenal). The lake is rather shallow on the far west end, and up to 180 feet deep at the east end by the volcano. As the lake levels change during the year, many islands appear and disappear, making it tricky to navagate at low water levels. This is also the best time for fishing on Lake Arenal.

The hillsides around Lake Arenal are determined to have the oldest pottery artifacts in Costa Rica, dating from 1500BC. If you are very lucky, at low water times, you may find a shard of hand-painted, hand-enscribed pottery on the shoreline, but you are not permitted to take any artifacts from their area of origin.

Most all fishing tours you will encounter several bird and animal species. We regularly see howler monkeys, white-face capuchin monkeys, giant iguanas, laughing falcons, ospreys, wild pigs, deer, pizotes, and sometimes two very elusive animals, the mysterious tayra and the giant anteater.