Explore the most popular birding trails in Costa Rica with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Awesome hike!! I would definitely recommend this to those who want to get out into nature and challenge themselves. You can make it up in an hour, but it will likely take more time than that (90+ minutes) if you want to chill a bit along the way. Definitely follow the "getting there" instructions as it's a bit tricky to find! At the second cross, you can head down to the lower path and take a different way back: from that way you will find a road with a semi-regular bus to San Jose!

Beautiful wet plant life! Every once in a while we could see sun rays peaking through the clouds in the forest. Closest you can get to walking in the clouds. Very neat!

To the eastern most point: end of the Bosque Nuboso trail. Saw elfin forests on the Caribbean side of the slope, where clouds roll in with gusty winds. Out and back in 1.5 hours — would have stayed longer if we had more time. Trail well maintained and elevation gain moderate. Unguided. Saw some wildlife.

10 days ago

The marked trail doesn’t afford good views, being in tall reeds / woods almost all the way. Lots of tourists too. Not much wildlife viewing. Very easy and still nice. Much better is the shorter hike directly up slope to a shelter, shown as the short white path toward east on AllTrails map. Less traffic, saw a river of army ants, cute birds, orchids , and almost constant view of the volcano.

You need tickets, as most places in Costa Rica. Line can be long. The main attraction is wildlife viewing, hiring a guide is strongly recommended (equipment and experience). The walk itself is very easy. Do not touch any plants as our guide showed some unassuming but poisonous ones, and the chance of fer de lance and other snakes. At the beach watch out for capuchin monkeys who will steal everything left unattended, and for those signed large toxic trees.

Great trail with family

We visited the reserve by ourselves, did not saw any wildlife. It is less crowded than monteverde park hopefully. We did the 1h30 and 25 minutes hike (from which you can see the Arenal).

We took a guided tour of the reserve. The trails are well maintained obviously and we saw some wildlife (quetzals, monkeys, hummingbird, ...). Great park.

This trail is officialy closed : barbed wires limits its entrence and sometimes a guard patrols there and ask you to leave. You can however get around the wires and hope that nobody guards the entry.
You can access the trail through a private path belonging to GreenLagoon cabinas (they dont explicitely warn you that the cero chato trail is closed but will charge you 5000 crc/ 10 usd entry fees) but there might be another way to access the trail.

The trail remains difficult : since its closed the path is not maintained and the forest is ALWAYS muddy so you mainly have to climb your way down to the lake (super steep and slippery). Took us 6h (1h of break included).

It however TOTALLY WORTH IT : funniest and most beautiful hike I ever did (plus you can swim in a volcano).

Unfortunately this trail is closed , supposedly for governmental reasons:-(

Great little hike - takes about an hour up to the high point and the same back. It’s pretty steady uphill all the way and can get very warm under the trees but a nice breeze awaits at the top. We only saw one cross and one place where there used to be a cross so not sure what happened to the third one. The effort to views ratio is very good. Fantastic vista of the city and then further on from the last cross you come to a saddle with tremendous views of the valley and Pico Blanco.

Gonna need your feet AND hands for this one.

So cool though! Can officially say I’ve dipped into a volcanic crater lake. Steep up and down into the crater, hopefully it’s a clear day so you can see the entire thing.

Checked in at the green lagoon to get passes, ten dollars per person. Had to go around the barb wire fence.
Challenging hike lots of climbing, took us 4h total at a fast pace. It rained the whole time and it became slippery on the way down. Worth the hike but dont expect the view in bad weather.

Like everything in Costa Rica, it is not free. $22 USD per person. Gorgeous. Fun. Smooth trails (well, well maintained—some areas are concrete grates). Also, if you go solo, be prepared to get stuck behind large tourist groups.

Great hike. Make sure you have good shoes because it will get slippery. Bring plenty of water.

awesome but hard trail. it gets more difficult step by step. as we started laid, the crater it self was filled with clouds.
paid 10$. no problem to enter national park.

Awesome hike! If you want to escape from the too easy, touristy hikes, do this one! It is a little hard but very fun. Bring proper shoes though.

The guard was not there today so we were able to hike all the way to the crater!! It was so foggy that we could not see to the other side, but awesome to say we swam in the crater of a volcano! You pay $10 per person at the hotel near Arenal Observatory then hike the Fortuna Observatory trail. You will cross to the illegal part of the hike once you go through the opening of the barbed wire. You can also start this hike from the La Fortuna waterfall which is $15 a person and a shorter hike I believe.

Muy bueno! Se pueden ver monos, perezosos y muchos otros animales

This hike is pretty steep and primitive. Definitely not for beginners. Would certainly not recommend doing this after it has been raining substantially. The trail is very slick when wet. Spectacular views from the top.

After completion of your hike I highly recommend the Aztec restaurant on the left side. They have three floors - the second floor is a sports bar with $2.50 US beers and excellent views. The Italian restaurant to the right is expensive and you’ll stick out like a sore thumb in your sweaty hiking clothes.

We had heard that Cerro Chato was closed but decided to give it a try we decided to go through Arenal Observatory Lodge, we were warned hiking Cerro Chato was illegal and would not give us information. But we found our way, unfortunately they have a guard at their property line to turn people back so we weren't able to go up. Seems like Cerro Chato is no longer an option in Arenal.

Wild hike!!

2 months ago

Very beautiful hike. A must see if you're in the area! Bring plenty of water, a couple snacks and some stuff to get wet in. The trail can be very muddy in parts so be mindful of that. Open toed shoes aren't recommended but you can get by if that's all you have. Be sure to bring some colones for the ticket purchase and if you can drive down to parking lot it will make the hike a lot easier. Enjoy!

3 months ago


3 months ago

Lots of steps up to the top, the fog was over the lake so I couldn't see it but it was a very fun trial really accessible from town about an hour each way

windy and dewy but fun to walk around in the forest much unlike the rest of costa rica

Amazing views and the crosses were really cool. The second one had fallen down to the side. The hike is pretty difficult, with a steep incline the majority of the way up. Also had to double back a time or two to get to the right trailhead— off the dirt road there’s a small white sign on one of the trees to the side of a pasture. It’s very easy to miss so keep your eye out! I wouldn’t recommend this hike to an unseasoned hiker. I’m a 22yo from the blue ridge mountains and had some trouble w it.

4 months ago

The views are well worth the hike. Park off the road by what is no longer an Italian resturant. you cannot miss the only dirt road up the ridgeline. After a few KMs you will see a small white sign labeled "tres cruzes" follow the trail for the rest of the way.

This was by far the hardest hike I have ever done, but it was so worth it. I recommend going in the water of the lagoon. The feeling of the ice cold water after the long hike was refreshing not to mention pretty exciting knowing we are in a volcanic lagoon!!

One of my all time favorites. We got here early in the morning during rainy season. Trek up was very difficult because of how slippery and muddy everything was, but the elements made it more enjoyable honestly. The views from the top were beautiful and then you take a pretty steep hike down to the crater. We got down to it, a lot of fog was rolling in and it made for a super eerie yet serene setting.

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