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“Trail should be closed”

Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)
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$68.00*
and up
Two Volcano Extreme Hike in La Fortuna
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$85.00*
and up
Full-Day Rio Celeste Tour From La Fortuna
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$68.00*
and up
Two Volcanoes Extreme Hike in Arenal
Certificate of Excellence
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Reviewed January 22, 2014

This was advertised as an "Intermediate" hike. The section between the farm at Observatory Lodge and the peak should be closed. There wee 1+ meter deep ruts in the mud alternating with big twisting roots to trip over. There was no time to stop and look at flora or fauna, just a hard slog. It was a waste of our guide's expertise. We had no views once in the forest; it was cloudy at the lagoon. The trail condition is really dangerous. It is only fit for extreme challenge types who have no interest in spending time observing nature. Only those who are in excellent physical condition should attempt it. I wouldn't recommend this section to anyone.
The trail is OK from the La Fortuna waterfall end up to near the peak. It would be worth doing from that end,and going back down the same way,

2  Thank ErnestAiyanshBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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358 - 362 of 606 reviews

Reviewed January 16, 2014 via mobile

This was the best experience of our trip to Costa Rica! My husband and I both recommend this hike. It was challenging but so rewarding when you're done. It's absolutely beautiful in the forest and getting to the lagoon was gorgeous! Only wish there was a bigger beach area when down at the lagoon. Definitely bring lots of water and good shoes it gets slippery! The rain is refreshing though when hiking up to the top. And don't be afraid to get dirty!!

1  Thank Casey_Kendra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

This hike was the highlight of our time in Arenal. It was way more challenging than I expected -- my boyfriend and I are both in good shape and love hiking but we had to take small breaks at times to catch our breath. Once the trail hits the denser forest it goes straight uphill through mud and windy paths. Expect to get really sweaty! You really have to earn this hike but it makes it all the more enjoyable. The lagoon is beautiful (but cold) and you earn bragging rights since you can say you've climbed inside a volcano. As a nature-lover I especially liked that higher up the trail you get to see a different type of rainforest that is much denser and wetter than the forest at lower altitudes. It is a really beautiful and rewarding hike.

Advice:
- Pack snacks or a lunch (it's 3-4 hours of tough hiking)
- Bring plenty of water -- you'll sweat A LOT
- Bring bug spray
- Highly recommend you wear waterproof hiking boots over tennis shoes or sandals
- Bring a rain jacket
- We wore swimsuits but the water was cold and the temperature is cooler at the top so we didn't swim, but other reviewers have said they enjoyed swimming.

1  Thank HallieJ6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2013

If you're looking for a nice stroll through the CR jungle and maybe some birdwatching, don't do this hike.

However, if you're looking for an awesome 3-4 hour muddy, sweaty, challenging adventure that takes you to a volcanic crater with stunning views of the arenal area along the way and a rewarding swim at the summit - DO IT.

We had a BLAST on this hike! We took the trail from the waterfall side, and it's very well marked. It began at the lodge and then took us out into the fields and then began the up! A wide open, but muddy and challenging route soon approached the edge of the jungle and became an exciting journey up the side of the volcano. A moderately steep path then became a series of giant natural "root stairs" that vary greatly in height and condition. This hike definitely keeps you engaged the entire time. Don't forget to turn around occasionally as you climb to appreciate the views of Arenal!

Once our sweaty selves reached the edge of the crater, we paused for a moment in triumph. At this viewpoint the vegetation has taken over a bit, so if you want to see the lake from here, just step up onto the wooden bench on the right and you'll see the beautiful green water below.

From here it was a short but exciting and once again muddy scramble down the 300m to the lake.

Most of the hike is shaded, but the beginning and end bits are in a field so sunscreen is advised. Travel light, but bring a liter of water each and maybe a snack for the top.

Be advised: Down can be more challenging than up. It's a steep grade, the trail can become slippery and the foot-snagging roots are plentiful. Just pay attention and you'll be fine.

Most of all, HAVE FUN! You'll be happy you did this challenging hike, and if you're anything like us, it will become one of your favorite CR adventures.

P.S. I don't feel like I should have to say this, but do yourself a favor and wear real shoes. We saw two people in sandals starting the hike as we were coming down, and all we could both think was, "They are not going to have a good time."

4  Thank biancaontheroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2013

My friend and I did this hike on a whim. It turned out to be very challenging as it's about 2 miles up(which is clearly marked), then about 300 meters down(which wasn't easy as well). But once you reached the top, you are rewarded with the breathtaking view of the lagoon, situated in a crater at the top of the volcano. So we had to go down and take a dip in, I mean when can you say that you swam in a volcano. My friend and I were the only ones there and it was just complete bliss. The water isn't warm but it isn't cold....pretty easy cool temperature. Don't worry there is nothing in the water that can harm you. We didn't get rained on until we started making our way back down. It is a rainforest, so it comes in spurts. It rained for maybe 5-10 minutes but actually felt great.

I really can't wait to come back and hike this bad boy again.

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

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