Since it woke up in 1968, the Arenal Volcano has been very actively producing columns of steam and ash with glowing red lava almost every day. On the evenings when the mountain is not covered by it’s cloud blanket and the clouds lift, the view of the lava flows are spectacular. The town of La Fortuna sits in a perfect spot for visitors to enjoy the awe inspiring volcanic display, without any fear of getting ones’s toes singed.
Unlike AEC Spanish Institute’s other Costa Rican schools, which were located in places off the beaten path from tourists, there is simply no better way for persons to visit one of Costa Rica’s most popular attractions. AEC Spanish Institute students will have the advantage of experiencing the natural beauty and raw power of Arenal, and the diverse activities in the surrounding area, without getting wrapped up in the hectic pace of tourists who only spend a day or two in a frantic effort to see everything and as a result neither see or experience anything worthwhile. The volcano is often obscured by a cloud cover for days at a time. By spending concentrated time in La Fortuna while attending classes it is highly unlikely AEC Spanish Institute students will be heard to utter the often heard Arenal tourist’s lament of “I went there but never saw the volcano”.
This same philosophy governs our selection of our other cultural and adventure tours in Arenal. We have chosen tours to less frequented attractions that tourists have neither the knowledge of their existence, nor the time for a full experience. Tours such as kayaking on beautiful Lake Arenal, leisurely rafting trips on the class 2 & 3 Rio Toros where wildlife abounds, visits to the out of the way Baldi Hot Springs and trips to the Danaus herbarium, herpetarian and butterfly gardens were chosen to give our students a broader, less touristy Arenal experience.
The famous Monteverde Cloud Forest is also a close neighbor to the north of La Fortuna. Local bus and horseback tours along a rough road connect the two areas. Regularly scheduled buses and a wide array of private shuttle busses connect La Fortuna to San Jose. Depending on the mode of transportation and the number of stops, the trip lasts between three and a half to four hours. Our school in La Fortuna is in a brand new building designed especially for AEC Spanish Institute. It is located in the center of town and is easily accessible to all areas of this special region of Costa Rica.