The Arenal volcano lies about ninety kilometers (fifty-six miles) northwest of Costa Rica’s capital, San José in Alajuela province. It stands an imposing 1,633 metres (5,358 ft) high and has a cone-shaped crater which is 140 metres (460 feet) across. Compared to some other South American volcanoes it is a mere infant having first formed less than 7,500 years ago.

Arenal had lain dormant for centuries when it erupted without warning in 1968, destroying the small settlements of Tabacón, San Luis and Pueblo Nuevo in the process. At its most furious, Arenal was throwing rocks weighing more than a tonne over an area a mile wide. The three unlucky villages were all on the west of the volcano while to the east, the small town of La Fortuna was spared – fortunate indeed.

Your Avventura expert guide to the great Arenal volcano is Mr Gino Gonzalez, a geologist and volcanologist of unrivalled experience in the area. Highly respected as a writer and researcher, Gino is President and founder of “Volcanes sin Fronteras” (Volcanoes without frontiers), the first Non-Governmental Organisation in the world dedicated to increasing our understanding of these amazing natural features and to work out how communities living near them can thrive.

You too can be a volcanologist for a day by joining him on a mission to discover all you can among the pyroclastic cones, active faults, lava flows, hot springs, lahars (volcanic mud flows) and historical sites of Arenal. Marvel at the debris which was blown skyward by previous eruptions and scattered by the unimaginable forces from beneath the surface of the earth. Together you will collect rock samples and carry out scientific experiments on them to learn more about the forces which shape our world and to reconstruct exactly what happened in previous eruptions.

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