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“Great Hike” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cerro Chato ANC Park & Gardens

Cerro Chato ANC Park & Gardens
300 Mts North of Fortuna Waterfall | Arenal Volcano Area, La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park 00000, Costa Rica
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Type: Parks, Hiking Trails, Outdoors
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Attraction details
Owner description: GreenLagoon Arenal Nature Conservancy Park & Gardens is a private Park, Trails & Gardens Preserve within its 400 Acre-Property. It is the closest property to the Extinct Cerro Chato Volcano, its Crater's Green Lagoon and the Fortuna Waterfall. There is a $10 Fee charge at the GreenLagoon InfoCenter or at the GreenLagoon Lodge to take this Hiking Tour. Parking facilities at no cost are available at the lodge. The Trails also lead to the Wildlife and Rainforest Preserve within the 400-Acre private property. You will have magnificent Views to Mountains, Arenal Volcano and the Valley of San Carlos here. If you decide to hike to the summit of Cerro Chato, the Lagoon or to the view point of Arenal Volcano at the summit, you will do it under your own risk and responsibility.
Useful Information: Activities for older children
Bamberg, Germany
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Great Hike”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2014

Great Hike. Be ready for some exercise. Some of the Steps are very high, may be hard for small children. The lake at the top is great if the weather is clear, if not you won't even see the other side

Visited July 2014
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192 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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Gilbert, Arizona
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Don't be afraid- just go!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 7, 2014

I, like many others, researched this hike before I went to Costa Rica. My cousins all did it years ago and assured me I wouldn't regret it, so I added it to my must-do list. My husband and I are both in decent shape and experienced hikers, but we were traveling with our friends who are not in great shape, nor experienced hikers, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was confused where this trail actually started, so we just asked the cab driver to take us to the Cerro Chato hike and he drove us to the Green Lagoon hotel. This seemed like the "official" trail head- there was a reception area with maps, snacks and where we paid the $10 entrance fee. A lady (a guide?) also told us about the hike and took us to the start of the trail. It's pretty well-marked with blue and yellow signs, so once you find the first one, you're set. Luckily we went on a dry day and it was intense- it is steep and it is muddy. Once you get into the jungle (about a mile into it) It gets pretty technical- you have to watch where you step all the time. But it was so cool!! It felt like we were hiking in Jurassic park! Once you finally reach the top, you have to climb down another 20 minutes/ 1000 feet to get to the lagoon. And when I say "climb" I mean you are literally scaling roots, limbs and rocks down to the bottom. The lagoon was cool, we didn't swim but plenty of people were. There's also a great view of the volcano. All said and done, it took us 3 hours up, 2 hours back, BUT, if my husband and I were to have done this alone, I would say 2 hours up, 1 back. And when everyone talks about needing lots of water- they aren't lying! We had 5 nalgenes for 4 people, plus we bought 3 Powerades at the trailhead and we still ran out about 1/3 of the way down. All in all, this hike was probably my favorite part of the trip and a very unique experience you can't get anywhere else.

Visited June 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Not that pretty during Rain Season, but...”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 2, 2014

Hiked Cerro Chato last week of May, during Rain Season.

FYI: During Rain season, it WILL rain almost everyday, but sporadically, a couple of hours a day, and IT WILL be a downpour during the time it does rain. I was there for 10 days, it was like that every day. La Fortuna was sunny and bright for a couple of hours, then gloomy and raining for another, and then back to being sunny and bright.

SO, Cerro Chato takes about 2.5 hours to hike one way ($10-15 entrance fee), so a minimum of 5 hours both ways for people who are used to hiking. LONGER, if you are not that active.

THIS HIKE WILL TIRE YOU. It is a sharp incline the WHOLE way up. The trail is mud, wooden branches for stairs (sometimes). You will be sweating, tired, and gasping for air. And you WILL have to take a break from time to time. I am a in my mid-twenties and go to the gym once a week, and I took a break every 20 steps. The trail is very doable for anyone who is relatively healthy. If you are on crutches, had recent surgery, 8.5 months pregnant, cannot be without a bathroom for more than 2 hours, did not bring water, wearing flip flops, etc then this might not be the best hike for you.

There is a lake at the top of mountain and because it was raining, it was extremely foggy and I couldn't see beyond 20 ft of me. The water did not seem clear and it was pretty gloomy, but you can swim in it safely. I'm sure during dry season, it is beautiful, but I unfortunately didn't get to see that beauty due to weather.

If you make it up this trail and back, you will feel so accomplished, no other trail will compare, and your self confidence in your physical abilities will guarantee be extremely high. So, you do feel better about yourself once you're done.

HOWEVER, if it is pouring rain on your way down, you will slip, slid, and fall into mud, because there are no stones or grass to prevent the mud from falling underneath you. I fell, slid, and shivered through the path down and my legs were shaking like crazy.

So please try to go during dry season. Bring water. Bring athletic shoes with a good grip. Wear a poncho for rain season, and a hat for dry season.

Visited May 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cedar Falls, Iowa
2 reviews
“Hikers paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

Great workout ! Great scenery! Perfect view of the countryside! Not much wildlife, but the different plants and trees are amazing.

Visited June 2014
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New Orleans, Louisiana
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Highlight of the Arenal visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2014

We were planning on hiking Cerra Chato all along but nearly decided against it when it rained heavily the night before and the morning of the planned hike. The plan was to attempt it with no guide starting at the observatory lodge and ending by the waterfall. After breakfast we talked ourselves out of it and headed to the Manoa Hotel lobby to find another activity for the day. Another couple happened to be in the lobby waiting for a guided excursion to Cerra Chato, which was all the persuasion we needed to give it a try. We paid $91/person which included transportation, lunch, admission fees to enter both sides of the hike, and a guide to take us through Cerra Chato and the La Fortunata Waterfall. The rain let up some but continued throughout the morning. We started on the observatory lodge side and after an easy 20-30 minute walk through the property we hit the trail head for Cerra Chato and started the ascent. The trail was clear enough for us to have done on our own but our guide, Gabriel, did a very good job, stopping frequently for breaks and to discuss things about the rain/cloud forest that he found interesting. The hike itself was very challenging for me, and I consider myself to be in decent shape. The problem was the steep elevation climb, which is something we have very little of back home. On the way up, we passed some hikers that were on the way back down that had attempted to hike down to the lagoon after reaching the top but said it was too slippery to reach the bottom with all the heavy rain. When we reached the top, it was very cloudy and we had 0% visibility of the lagoon below. We took the advice of the hikers we passed and pushed on without attempting to climb down to the lagoon. We started the decent down to the Green Lagoon side and this is where it got extremely muddy. I can't speak to every day, but on this particular day we were ankle deep in muddy water for about 15 minutes before reaching the spot where we had lunch. The view of Arenal from there was supposed to be amazing but once again it was too cloudy. By this time my calves and lower legs were somewhat in shock, making the decent down very challenging. Even with all the rain, I highly recommend this hike and splurging for the guide. The hike itself is an experience, and it was cool to look around and be completely immersed in the thick cloud forest. If you are looking for the great views, then I'd say it's hit or miss. The morning we left there was no rain and the sky was very clear. If you're in at least average shape and are up for a challenge, then hike Cerra Chato. If you do, wear some shoes that you won't mind throwing away when it's over.

Visited June 2014
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