I worked in Costa Rica for 3 months and traveled all over the country. I did the hike twice and it's my favorite one in the country. The first time I went with other tour guides it was very cloudy. When I made it to the top I could not see the lagoon, or Volcano Arenal right next door. Although it's a bit of a disappointment when it's cloudy, the hike is still beautiful and you can't control the weather.
The second time I went was with my parents who are both in their mid fifties. Sure, it is a tough hike and you have to be in shape but it is not impossible! This time the weather was clear and perfect. You could see the lagoon and Volcano Arenal. It was one of their favorite parts of the trip.
I would recommend walking down to the crater and swimming in the lagoon.. I mean, when else will you have the opportunity to swim in a lake in a dormant volcano!
I would also recommend beginning the hike around 5 or 6am (sun rises shortly after). That way, you make it up before the day gets too hot. Also, the first half of the hike is uncovered and I would not recommend climbing it in the sun. The second half (when the sun comes out) is in the forest so it is much cooler. The trail is well marked and you do not need a guide. Each time I started the hike around 5am and finished just in time to eat a huge gallo pinto breakfast!
Hiked June and August 2013
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