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There is in Arenal the international area and where locals live their daily lives. The international sector includes the array of hotels for all budgets, the German and the Brit collection of bars (Germans seem to prevail), the beach and the attractions that go from golf courses to the boating club and the spectacular water park, all offering the visitor multiple choices for enjoyment.
On the other side, there is the life on the back streets where Spanish townspeople live.The neighborhood is not as manicured as the front stage of the tourist resort but it offers a real face of everyday life. In the last years, some improvements have been made to this area and some streets have been paved and new roads have been built. Some hotels are on these streets, and sometimes this can become a problem as the streets are quite dark at night and you may not feel quite safe.
So, those who go for the real, try the back stage and find what Spanish local life is about.