Nuevo Arenal - Costa Rica

When construction for the Lake Arenal dam started, in 1973, Nuevo Arenal was founded. The people of Arenal village were relocated to Nuevo Arenal, to allow for the manmade lake. That explains the origin of the name Nuevo Arenal. This is the biggest town on the route from Tilaran to La Fortuna.

Lake Arenal was created to produce electricity; the dam is 88 m long and 58 m high. Before the construction of the dam a lake already existed, the dam made Lake Arenal three times larger than it was before. Work on the dam lasted from 1973 until 1978. Lake Arenal is the biggest lake in Costa Rica and the most important source of energy. In the dry season the province of Guanacaste receives water from the lake, in recent years that water has increased drastically.

The weather in this area is a bit cooler and breezier. It is a typical Costa Rican town. The lake offers many possibilities for activities, like: kayaking, sailing, waterskiing, fishing or cruising with a motorboat. Thanks to the powerful winds this is an excellent area for surfers and kiteboarders.

The lake offers excellent freshwater fishing conditions. It contains primarily two different types of fish, the Machaca and Rainbow Bass (locals call it guapote).

Freshwater fishing on Costa Ricas biggest lake...

These fish have a fighting nature that makes them a real challenge.

Nuevo Arenal on the map

Montezuma Beach on the map

Facts about Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica

  • Nuevo Arenal is located in the province of Guanacaste.

Driving times and distances

  • Distance from San Jose to Nuevo Arenal: 175.7 kilometers respectively 109.1 miles.
  • Travel time from San Jose to Nuevo Arenal: 4.06 hours.
  • Distance from Liberia to Nuevo Arenal: 97.4 kilometers respectively 60.5 miles.
  • Travel time from Liberia to Nuevo Arenal: 2.03 hours.