We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Up up up hill hike”

Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)
Book In Advance
More Info
$70.00*
and up
Two Volcanoes Extreme Hike in Arenal
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed March 15, 2014

Most of our party enjoyed this hike, though it might have been a bit more than we bargained for. It feels like a lot more than 4-6 km (those are two numbers I had heard, I think depending on where you start from, we started from the green lagoon hotel) I had read the reviews but didn't think my idea of a tough hike was the same as the reviewers so was counting on it being easier than everyone said. I was wrong. Our group ranged in age from 13-72. All made it to the top, some with more difficulty than others. This hike will reward you with a lovely swim in a crater lake, monkey sightings if you are lucky, lots of cutter ant sightings, giant mahogany trees for photo ops, jungle emersion, and the satisfaction of knowing you pushed yourself. I was so impressed with my parents in law who persisted to the top! At the end of the hike we were lucky to have an up close encounter with a pair of toucans who kindly posed for some photos.

Thank Kathy P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (640)
Traveler rating
Traveler type
Time of year
Language
All reviews
"green lagoon"
in 64 reviews
"challenging hike"
in 45 reviews
"observatory lodge"
in 32 reviews
"tree roots"
in 23 reviews
"bring lots of water"
in 15 reviews
"la fortuna"
in 52 reviews
"hiking boots"
in 27 reviews
"love hiking"
in 7 reviews
"great hike"
in 31 reviews
"hardest hike"
in 6 reviews
"start early"
in 6 reviews
"trail head"
in 8 reviews
"refreshing swim"
in 5 reviews
"avid hiker"
in 5 reviews
"fortuna waterfall"
in 6 reviews
"physical condition"
in 12 reviews
"covered in mud"
in 6 reviews
Filter

358 - 362 of 640 reviews

Reviewed March 14, 2014

If your are fit, I'd recommend you choose this activity during your stay in La Fortuna. Tough ascent; really tough if you get to the lagoon near the top. When you reach the top, you have to go down ~ 15 min on a slippery trail to reach this fantastic lagoon, where you can swim. If you are lucky (we were), you'll be able to see the Arenal from atop the Chato.
2.5 hr up. 1.5 hr down. A bit more or a bit less depending on your interests and fitness.
You have to go to the Green Lagoon resort (not far from La Fortuna; taxis take you there; too far to walk) to get to the head of the trail. 10US$/p.
Restrooms only at trail head.

1  Thank lelecabral
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2014

Tough, tough hike (climb, really). I'm 52 and in "okay" shape. It took all I had.

Here are a few things other people didn't mention a lot.

1) Go early. Until you get into the cover of the rainforest you're exposed. I left from the Green Lagoon Lodge at 7:00. When I passed people at 10:30 ( on my way back) they were already gassed...and they hadn't hit the hard part yet.

2) Coming down is much harder on the knees but much easier on the lungs. It's slick in the rainforest. I picked up a fallen bamboo stalk and used it as a walking stick. Slipped several times coming down. If you've got bad knees, forget it.

3) Don't forget that you are 3,700 feet above sea level. Rest a lot - the air gets thin.

4) Carry a sweat towel. just sayin.

5) When you get close to the top you'll find a stretch of 15 yards that is gloriously flat. Soak it in! And know that you are just 5-10 minutes to the summit.

Thank Jeff S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 10, 2014 via mobile

We started this hike from the Arenal Observatory side where we were staying. It took about 30-40 min to get to the base. That portion is cake. Its literary walking on a fairly flat road. Once you get to the shelter that's where the hike starts.

About 15 min after we left the gift shop area it started to rain. But we decided it wasnt going to stop us.

The hike from the bottom to the rim of the volcano took us 80min. We would stop every 50-70 steps for a minute or two and pick our route until our next break. Its not bad at all. I think we counted 6 signs nailed to the trees. So that will give you an idea on your progress as they are spaced about 250m apart.

All together it took us about 2.5 hours to get to the top from the gift shop. But we also stoped at the shelter for 20 min to let the rain let up.

There was a lot of fog from the rain so we couldn't see the crater lake which was unfortunate but it was ok. We knew we made it.

We decided to try to hike down the other side to the La Fortuna waterfall which was a mistake. That hike down the other side took us about 3.5 hours. It was much longer and by the time we got there we were soaked and muddy and just wanted to get back to our hotel.

I would recommend if you want a short rewarding hike start from the Observatory side and come back down that side.

All in all it was a good hike. We left at 8am and by the time we hiked down the other side and got back to our lodge it was 3:30pm

Definitely do the hike on a clear day and pace yourself and you will make it just fine. Enjoy it!

Sean-n-Tori

Thank Sean-N-Tori
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
See more reviews
Reviewed March 8, 2014

We are not the types to shy from a challenge,my lady friend and I, ages 55 and 61 respectively. While here in CR we wanted to add a new dimension to our experience. The outdoor life is our idea of enjoyment. The Cerro Chato hike came across our radar and we went for it.

Yeow. Good thing I went into it with a certain naivete. it is certainly not an impossible hike. , but it does take a lot of stubbornness and a bit of fitness to do it .I never sweat so much in my life. Fortunately I never had to put on any bug dope. And I hit no rain. We started from the Observatory side, which has to be harder than the other side beginning at the lodge/waterfall. Those reports this being a 3-4 hour hike must start from that side.

As to the hike from the observatory, you park at a booth. Pay the attendant who gives bad directions 5000 colones, about $10.We found our way to the trail despite bad information by incorporating a little intuition. Across a river by way of precarious swinging bridge, up a lava bed, and the trail begins.

The top of the crater is supposed to be about 3700 feet. I think it begins at about 1700. But is much more than 2000 vertical gain. If you take in the up and down, which are like ladder climbs, it is more like 3000 vertical. If you hike down to the water from the rim of the caldera, it is another 150 vertical . The swim we took included, the hike from that side took us 5.5 hours
Plenty of jungle beauty along the way, including a vine or two for a Tarzan swing. My quads are still hurting from the exercise they got from the return walk.

Yes, I am glad to be able to say I did it once. Doubt that I would do it again.

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

Travelers who viewed Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano) also viewed

Arenal Volcano National Park, Province of Alajuela
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park
 
Arenal Volcano National Park, Province of Alajuela
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Arenal Volcano National Park
 

Been to Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano)? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing