117 reviews
14 days ago

Hiked to the crater, took a dip (July 31st), and had amazing weather! We were lucky, as most hikes this time of year are fraught with rain. But I digress... here’s the nuts and bolts of the hike.
GETTING THERE: Park in the lot secured by a yellow gate (tell the gatekeeper you’re climbing Cerro Chato) and go into the “Reception” building. You’ll have to pay $10 a person to hike on the private land in order to get to the park. Once all paid up you’ll follow orange arrows on a road until it breaks off onto a muddy trail. Shortly thereafter you’ll walk around a giant “No Trespassing” sign and barbed wire fence to enter Volcán Arenal state land. This sounds weird, I know.
THE TRAIL: Now the steep starts. What was once a class 1 walk in the park is now a class 2 with hands necessary to climb up roots and mud canyons as you make your way to the rim. This isn’t awful, and actually a lot of fun. The only way I wouldn’t want to experience this is in an extreme rain storm (picture Dennis Nedry slipping on cascading water as a Dilophosaurus stalks him to his Jeep). Take your time... look at the forest, flowers, and leafcutter ants along the way. Fun fact, leafcutter ants can lift twenty times their body weight. Eat that Dwayne Johnson.
CRATER RIM: Once at the top you’ll reach a T intersection. Turn right and you’ll come to an incredible viewpoint of Arenal. From there you’ll find a small trail to your left that opens up and descends a class 3 route to the lake. Watch your footing, it’s steep! Once at the lake strip down, take a dip, and become a Mosasaurus snack. Honestly, no better way to go. ENJOY!!