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“Best hike in Costa Rica” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)

Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)
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Two Volcano Extreme Hike in La Fortuna
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Brooklyn, New York
Level Contributor
34 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Best hike in Costa Rica”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 July 2014

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

Visited August 2013
1 Thank Elyse A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Cincinnati, Ohio
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Hard work with little reward”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 July 2014

Like many of the reviews state, you must be in good shape and prepared to test your body's limits. My boyfriend and I were not in the best shape, so although we were able to complete it, our muscles ached and locked up for days afterward. I was worse off than he was (took about a week for my leg muscles to return to normal and be able to walk). It was raining which made it muddy and we slid and fell quite a few times despite having excellent hiking shoes. We edured the pain and exhaustion to get to the top to see that wonderful view, but once on top all we saw were clouds/fog. There was no view of the other volcano or the lake. Another important thing to mention is that there is no tram or other device on top to help you down. So even if you are exahusted, you have no choice but to push your body to hike back down. Which again, was not easy and was made more difficult by the rain/mud. If you are only doing this hike for the view at the top, make sure you check the weather and visibility prior to heading out so that you are not disappointed like we were.

Visited June 2014
2 Thank Kim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Good hike if weather is good”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 June 2014

Decided to do this hike with a friend despite the fact that it was raining a bit in the morning. Unfortunately it continued to rain the entire day and was extremely foggy, which meant we couldn't see the amazing views. The lagoon was also really cold so we couldn't swim. The hike itself wasn't too hard (probably because the lack of sun made it cooler), but because it was so wet, it was difficult to climb up and down without slipping or getting very muddy. If you can wait until you get a clear, sunny day then it would be great!

We were a bit confused about how to actually get to the start of the hike, so here's how we got there: take a taxi from anywhere in La Fortuna and ask for Cerro Chato. We paid 4,000 colones for 2 people. The driver took us to the Green Lagoon Lodge where we went inside and checked in and paid the $10 entrance fee. The hike itself is well-marked and you DO NOT need to hire a guide, I imagine it would be a complete waste of money. Once you get to the top there is a little path downwards to the lagoon, and when you are done you follow the same path backwards. Our taxi driver gave us his card so we got the receptionist at Green Lagoon Lodge to call him when we got back, but if you don't have a card I'm sure they can call another taxi for you. We started at 10:30 and finished by 1:45, and we're not that in shape. But like I said, maybe the sun and heat would have made it more difficult. I would definitely do it again (on a nice day)!

Visited June 2014
4 Thank jessalee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great hike, no tourguide needed”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 June 2014 via mobile

Awesome hike, start at 8:00, 90 minutes to top, 10 minutes to lagoon. Very well mapped trail. The only thing is that when it's cloudy up, the view is significantly less "majestic" ;)

1 Thank Viktor K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Phelan, California
Level Contributor
22 reviews
10 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Difficult hike and I'm in shape.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2014 via mobile

My wife and I hiked this from the Arenal Observatory Lodge. The first 30 minutes is easy. When you get to the base and start working up it becomes difficult. It was raining which made it very slippery. It is muddy, slippery, difficult areas to climb, and exhausting.
When you get to the top it becomes very muddy. You take a step and your whole shoe gets covered in mud. There are some difficult areas to overcome when you head down to the lagoon. Shorter people will have a hard time with this hike. We got to the lagoon and could only see about 20 feet because it was so cloudy and rainy. We almost had to turn around a couple if times because my wife was really struggling. Just take your time, rest, and drink water. I don't think the hike was worth it, but I am glad that we fought to make it all the way or we would never know. I have no desire to do this hike again, even if it is clear outside.

Visited June 2014
1 Thank Jamezjojo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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