When you are planning a gap year travel experience, you want it to be a trip you will remember for the rest of your life - and by choosing Costa Rica it will be just that.
Arenal Volcano is just one of the many Costa Rica adventures you can enjoy while in this beautiful part of Central America - so you may wish to make this your first excursion.
Standing at well over 5,000 feet tall, the landmark is by no means extinct but is actually one of the ten most active volcanoes on the planet. As with all such geological features, it moves in and out of resting periods and in years gone by visitors to the mount would have been greeted by dazzling natural light shows and eruptions.
Nearby is Chato Volcano, which is what Arenal was formed from around 7,000 years ago.
In 1968, a huge explosion from Arenal was one of the signs that the giant had spluttered back into life after lying dormant for around 400 years, with the force of the incident and the resulting lava flow burying three of the villages below.
From then on the eruptions became less dramatic, but they were still a magnificent sight to behold. Indeed, people were able to see large plumes of smoke and lava pools flowing almost every day.
When the sun set, the majesty of the volcano was undeniable as the boiling hot liquid rock glowed angry red against the skyline. With small-scale eruptions happening sometimes at a frequency of every half an hour, the flaming sparks that were thrown into the air created a natural light display as beautiful as any November 5th fireworks.
However, just a few short years after its staggering 1968 eruption, Arenal went quiet again. Scientists are eager to point out that this does not mean that the volcano is dead, simply that it is asleep - and this mount rested from 1973 to the early 1980s.
In 2010, it entered into a deep resting period again - but don't make the mistake of assuming that this means there is nothing going on when you visit it. Below the surface there is still seismic measurable movement.
It is this geothermal activity that is responsible for naturally heating the glorious hot springs throughout the surrounding area - and you will find plenty you can choose from when you visit.
One of the smallest is the Eco Termales, where there are four pools you can take a dip in with temperatures ranging from around 33 degrees C to 40.5 degrees C. You will find the water to be soothing and pleasant and, because the owners take care not to overcrowd the space with guests, it is also a peaceful and relaxing place to be.
For something a little more lively but no less beautiful, make your way to Titoku Hot Springs, where the eight pools include split levels that cause water to cascade down in a miniature waterfall.
There is a bar service here if you want to relax with a cool drink while you can also tuck into some of the local cuisine.
One of the most affordable options is the Baldi Hot Springs, where you can take a dip in one of more than 30 thermal pools. This is a fun place to spend time, as you can have a go on the waterslides, make use of the bars or visit the restaurant and spa, and you are certain to find the atmosphere welcoming.
However, these are not the only natural attractions that Arenal is responsible for, as it is also surrounded by a wildlife park.
Measuring 29,692 acres in total, the park is home to both Chato and its successor and is also an important part of the country's conservation as it protects the biodiversity linked to volcanic activity.
When you take a trek through here, keep your eyes open to catch sight of creatures like parrots, brown magpies, howler monkeys, tapir, deer and snakes.
A particularly picturesque spot is the highland-based Lake Arenal, which is the largest landlocked body of water in the country, measuring 33 sq miles. It is an absolutely staggering size, having been expanded following the construction of a hydroelectric dam.
As you can see, holidays in Costa Rica were made to be remembered for a lifetime.