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“Hikers paradise”

Cerro Chato ANC Park & Gardens
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$62.00*
and up
Arenal Volcano National Park Walk with Optional Hot Springs
Certificate of Excellence
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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
Reviewed June 26, 2014

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

1  Thank Iowarica
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (339)
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123 - 127 of 339 reviews

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.

Thank Ritter77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 17, 2014

The Cerro Chatto is one of the best hikes I have done in a long time. It's just the right amount of challenging and it's neither too easy or technical. So, perfect! We were slightly nervous about it as the naturalist guide we had for the Arenal Volcano Hike made it out to seem really difficult and steep. We also read and the review and worried a litte. Overall, I am so glad we did this! We hiked on our last day and woke to some serious rain. We decided to go for it anyway ( with the correct rain gear etc.) We brough a camelbak of water ( I would recommend brining water, but we did it on a rainy day, so we were not overly thirsty due to a lack of sun. We also had a granola bar and banana each, which was totally sufficient.) We hiked around the gardens for about an hour prior to setting out on Cerro Chatto itself - very pretty, with lots of birds and animals. ( We chose not to use a guide so that we could just take it easy and at our own speed.) It took us an hour to reach the summit from the trailhead, then another 30 minutes to get to the lagoon ( the most technical and difficult part of the hike as it is steep and some ropes would come in handy. it was also really, really muddy because of the rain, but I would imagine without it it would be easier.) We checked out the lagoon, in which you can swim and headed back up. ( 20 minutes to reach the summit point from the lagoon hike.) Then another hour on the way back down, just because you really do need to watch where you put your feet! ( My legs were also getting tired from all the climbing so I had to focus more!) Overall, I would call this hike intermediate with the lagoon hike being difficult but if you like to hike, this is well worth the visit. ( Entrance fee is $10.00 and then you can go on to the Waterfall, but we did not as we had already seen it on a previous visit.)

Thank LolBal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2014

This was one of our favorite activities in Costa Rica. The hike is challenging, even if you're in good shape. It is worth it for the trip through the jungle and the chance to swim in a crater lake. It was foggy when we did it, so it was a unique experience to climb through the mist and then reach the lagoon. We didn't bring swimwear but were so hot and muddy by the time we got there we just jumped in. If you have the opportunity, do it!

Thank Lindsey C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 13, 2014

My husband and I are pretty athletic people, and we decided to hike Cerro Chato to get a good workout. It was a grueling workout and although it was short in distance, it was very intense. Another reviewer described it perfectly: "If there were a stair stepper from Hell, this would be it." The hike up is extremely challenging and you do not want to do this if you are not in good physical condition; even if you are it will challenge you. Fortunately, the hike up is beautiful. It was hard to see Arenal Volcano because of the fog, but that's not even the best part. Go down to the crater and check out the greenish water. You can swim in it and it's refreshing with a stunning view. The effort was all worth it for that alone. Okay, some words of advice:

1) Leave as early as you can, like 7 or 8am.

2) Take plenty of water.

3) Dress appropriately--hiking shoes and shorts, and a bathing suit to swim.

4) Be ready to get muddy. The hike down to the crater felt a bit treacherous at times, so you'll need to grab into anything you can and slide down in mud. Totally worth it and fun...

Thank DrHollyP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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