Challenge Accepted: Hiking Cerro Chato Volcano

Cerro Chato is a dormant volcano that lies on the southeast side of Arenal Volcano. The unique volcano now has a beautiful turquoise lake occupying the crater that is surrounded by dense forest. It's a challenging and steep hike with very rewarding views at the top - on a nice day. 

How to get there?

From La Fortuna waterfall, take the road on the right side of the entrance until you reach the visitor centre. Head inside, sign-in and pay $10 for the entrance fee. They'll also give you a map of the volcano so you know where to head. There's only one way to the top, so it's quite easy to stay on the trail. The hike takes about two hours to get to the top and about 1-1.5 hours to get back down.

What was our experience? 

Rain sucks. 

We had limited time in Costa Rica, so we had to hike in the rain which made it more challenging. The beginning of the uphill hike isn't that bad. There aren't many obstacles to go through, so you can just enjoy the view. Once you get about 30-45 minutes in, you'll reach an area of big dirt moguls that are a bit difficult to go around. It'll come up a few times before you reach the entrance of the rainforest. 

As you might have guessed, in a rainforest, it rains. So make sure you bring a rain cover for your backpack. If you look through our pictures, you'll see our makeshift one made from a garbage bag - it wasn't very effective. 

The rainforest is definitely the most interesting part of the hike. You're surrounded by tropical sounds and a lush green jungle. You might even catch a view of colourful birds, monkeys or leaf-cutter ants. However, this section can be very difficult due to the mud, the humidity and the never-ending stairs. When you reach the top, you're supposed to see a view of Arenal volcano - we only saw clouds.

Now you have the option of heading back down or checking out the crater lake. If you choose to see the crater, head down the trail on your left. It's steeper and more challenging than the stairs you took to get to the top. But don't let that phase you, it's still very doable. I found the hardest part was when we had to climb a wall with the rope. I definitely wasn't expecting that. 

When you get to the bottom, you'll get a view of the crater lake. Go for a swim, wash off the mud and sweat and take a nice break. In the water, there are fish that eat your dead skin, so your hike is like a muddy spa day. 

Once you get back to the bottom, you can wash yourself off in the showers! 

Happy Adventuring!

Visiting La Fortuna Waterfall

Located in Arenal, La Fortuna waterfall lies at the base of the dormant Cerro Chato volcano. The 70 metre waterfall is surrounded by a lush green jungle where you can hear the sounds of tropical animals in their habitat. For any adventure seekers, you can visit La Fortuna Waterfall and Cerro Chato in one day. But it definitely takes a lot of stamina, especially in the rain. 

Let's get started! 

Since the entrance is accessible by road, we took a taxi to La Fortuna waterfall. When you get there you'll have to pay a US$10 fee to get in, but you're free to stay until it closes. Luckily, the trail to the bottom of the falls is pretty well laid out so you won't get lost. I noticed that some parts can get slippery, so be careful on your hike. 

You'll pretty much be heading down stairs until you reach the bottom. From here, you can check out the falls or head over to the water hole to go swimming. It takes about a 10 minutes to hike down and 20 minutes to hike back up.

Stretch out those legs because they're definitely going to be getting a workout!

 Happy Adventuring!