"This natural depression caused by local geological faults formerly contained a small lake that emptied into the Arenal River which flowed into the Caribbean via the San Carlos and San Juan Rivers. However, in the 1970's, the Costa Rican Electric Company (I.C.E.) began construction of what is currently the country's largest hydroelectric generating project. "An earthen dam was built only seven kilometers to the west of Arenal Volcano--that had erupted violently just a few years earlier. As the waters filled up behind the dam a thirty-kilometer long lake was formed. Water from the lake is tunneled to the Pacific side of the country, passing through three turbine-driven generating stations, before being channeled into a system of irrigation canals that have substantially increased the agricultural productivity of the lower Tempisque basin in Guanacaste. "As well as its importance for energy and agriculture, Lake Arenal provides excellent recreational opportunities, especially for windsurfing and freshwater fishing. The northwestern end of the lake is buffeted by strong winds, particularly from December through March, that make for ideal windsurfing conditions. "Fishing for guapote (Cichlasoma dovii), often referred to as "rainbow bass" even though it is not related to bass, is another popular sport on the lake. The season is open year-round (on this lake only) and there is a limit of 10 fish per day. " -- Richard Garrigues, Gone Birding

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July 9, 2015 at 1:27:42 UTC
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