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“Difficult and make sure everyone is in shape and a nature lover”

Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)
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US$68.00*
and up
Two Volcano Extreme Hike in La Fortuna
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US$90.00*
and up
Full-Day Rio Celeste Tour From La Fortuna
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US$39.00*
and up
Arenal Observatory and Hiking Tour from La Fortuna
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level 4 Contributor
29 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Difficult and make sure everyone is in shape and a nature lover”
Reviewed 7 July 2014

Beware of sales booth just prior to Arenal Lodge entrance. Three of us, all in shape, completed a1 hour hike one day and planned to return to complete the Cerro Chato hike on another day. Paid $10 each. Sales person, Roman, sold it as "no problem and feel free to return." When we did return, we had our tickets and his name as proof. The new representative was not agreeable. Eventually we worked it out and continued but it took pressure and threats of a poor review.

More importantly, this trail is well-marked and difficult. The first 30 minutes are easy. The path we took, not the Arenal Lodge path, gradually became more difficult. Although the rain had ended, portions of the path were more like creeks with no footing. There were two really huge trees with incredible overgrowth towards the top which blocked our way due to the path being water-logged and equal to quicksand. Normally, would have gone around the trees and back to the path, but deemed it an unnecessary danger. Stay on the path. You can be three feet from a rainforest path and not even know it is there.

I will probably go back and complete this hike from the Arenal Lodge side. It would probably be an easier hike. One of our members on our hike was extremely high maintenance. It's important to remember that rain forests have RAIN and a hike is not supposed to be a walk in the park.

Visited June 2014
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Thank Angus2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Brooklyn, New York
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Best hike in Costa Rica”
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
Helpful?
1 Thank Elyse A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cincinnati, Ohio
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Hard work with little reward”
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
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2 Thank Kim S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Regina
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Good hike if weather is good”
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
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4 Thank jessalee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great hike, no tourguide needed”
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" ;)

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1 Thank Viktor K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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