Explore the most popular wildlife 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.

hiking
11 days ago

AWESOME hike to the most beautiful waterfalls I have ever seen! The hike is longer than the 2.5 miles one way that is advertised. More like 3. So six miles round trip. Very steep in parts but totally worth the hike. Definitely bring your for wheel drive car so you can drive down to the parking lot. It’s a steep muddy road and if you can’t drive down it you have to walk and that would add another 3 miles to your trip!! But this is a must see!!!

Dont listen to other posters, you can still hike this. Just finished going to the green lagoon at the top of cerro chato 7/9/18. It has rained several days in a row and it rained the entire hike but it was worth it. I did the salkantay in peru a month ago and although this cant compare in distance or altitude it was at times more intense. be prepared to slip and fall and use your hands to climb. I did not use a guide and had a friend who doesn't hike much and we made it to the lagoon in 1 hour and 50 minutes. most hikes I halve the time up on the way down but on this one it took us longer down. it is much more treacherous going down. some places they have ropes for you to lower yourself down. definitely do this hike. it's great. we had planned on going from the arenal observatory but right before you get there there is a parking lot with a big sign. the guy there will give you a map and only charges you $10 per person. he was very nice and will actually guide you to the top of arenal which is also closed.

hiking
1 month ago

Very fun and very steep. At the top, we tried to follow the trail to the right, but it was a lot like bushwhacking and sliding down a mountain. (maybe we missed the trail?) The trail to the left was much more reasonable and led to a beach that we had all to ourselves. Hard work but worth it.

hiking
1 month ago

The first big waterfall is easy and fun to hike to but the next two are on a vey intimating climb. A lot of the ropes that were in place to assist you up are no longer intact. If you don’t have a fear of heights definitely go for it but be extremely careful.

Great hike. First step is to pay reception guy at Green Lodge. He will point you in the right direction. The first part of the hike is fairly civilized and then dives into the jungle for a potentially muddy jaunt up. Veer to the left anytime you see barbed wire and you should be able to just go around. Walk down to the crater is as treacherous as advertised. We found that using a walking stick as a third point of support helped a ton. Lagoon is gorgeous. You'll be exhausted when you get back but you won't regret it. Just make sure the forecast is dry and you have good shoes. Never boring, never monotonous. Loved this hike.

incredible! the lake so is senrene and peaceful. I recommend you to bring snacks and plenty of water. it took us about 2 hours to get to the summit and 1 hour to get back

Beautiful, tranquil, and a great workout if you’re spending time hiking the longer trails. I would actually say it’s more moderate than easy. If you only do the waterfall trail, it’s easy. If you go to La Ventana, across the suspension bridge, then out to the waterfall - you are climbing steps and it feels like you’re on a stair master for a good 40 minutes. It’s hard. We did a few trails and it came out to about 5.5 miles. We spent 2.5 hours and the reception told us that the trails we did normally take 3 hours. Bring water. The mosquitoes are minimal if any (here in May) but there are lots of bugs so bug spray is helpful. It’s mostly shades but there are a few spots you’re exposed to sun.
La Ventana (continental divide is not labeled anywhere on the deck, it’s pretty lack luster. Good view of the forest though. Also if you cross the suspension bridge then you don’t need to do another sky walk tour because it’s the same thing; walking on a bridge over the air plants. Very cool but if you’re looking to save money and see it all, come here and do 3-4 trails.

Sendero Mirador has a beautiful view point when you get up there. Totally worth it.

hiking
2 months ago

Great and easy hike. The trailhead is across the road the stop sign at Calle Madrigal and HWY 34 (another reference point: Its also across the road from the gas station). At the trailhead there will be a house on the left, some wooden recycling bins on the right, and then a steep paved roadway in front. This paved roadway is the beginning of the trail. It will turn into dirt. Along the way there will some archways on the road for a nice viewpoint. At the only fork in the road, take a sharp LEFT and then shortly you will see a paved sidewalk on the left. Follow this to the main lookout/abandoned restaurant.

hiking
3 months ago

I was invited by one of the locals to come here. Now I left with a colorful gallery of birds, breathtaking views, exotic plants, and more! However I had to travel about 7 miles. Despite that, I ended my visit to Costa Rica with a bang!

The most incredible hike I have have ever been on! Highly highly recommend. We used google maps to get us to the start of the trail, once we got to the gazebo the trail is very obvious from there to the top (we had to go under a barbed wire fence to find the trail at the start). At the top we had a hard time finding the trail down to the lake. Some hikers leaving the volcano pointed it out to us. It is steep, but if you’re fit it’s very worth it. We came out looking like we rolled around in mud (and at times on this trail we probably did). But one of our favorite days in CR by far. Enjoy!

3 months ago

Good hike for bird watchers

Great hike for animal watching.

hiking
3 months ago

Stayed at the observatory lodge in February 2016. The facilities were really nice but what made it truly fantastic was the resort was located already in the Arenal Volcano National Park. Saw owls by night and toucans and amazing rainforest birds by day (mostly around sunrise). The trails around the property were really well maintained and very quiet for the most part (maybe timing of our visit). There were really cool hanging bridges to cross over through the rainforest, beautiful gardens, open prairies with crazy views of Arenal in the background sooo close by, and an awesome waterfall you could walk down to just off the trail. The observatory lodge trails are all easy to moderate. The trail to hike up Cerro Chato volcano was pretty difficult and muddy (quick elevation gain in a short distance) but the view up top of the lake in the middle was beautiful.

nature trips
3 months ago

hiking
5 months ago

Awesome trail with side trails leading to two waterfalls and 'cold water pots' where volcanic gasses are bubbling out of shallow pools of water. The hot springs themselves are warm and pleasant, but do smell a bit like eggs because of their sulfur content. We saw lots of wildlife on the trail including a large troop of white-headed capuchins.

hiking
6 months ago

Didn’t make it all the way. Torrential rain at the second barb wire caused us to turn back. Hiking boots and rain gear essential ( which we didn’t have). Do not recommend if rain in the forecast as trail becomes extremely slippery in that many parts of the trail are covered in small streams making transversing the barb wires downright dangerous. We’d try again with the right equipment. Overall great views. The government putting up the barb wires to discourage hikers is somewhat an oxymoron You’d think there would be more economic benefit by encouraging hikers vs discouraging.

hiking
6 months ago

lots of fun!! there wasn't a good view when we went cause of the rain and fog.. but pretty epic day! there are 3 barbwire fences that you have to walk around while going up.. and when you get to the top.. theres a view to the right.. then follow the trail to the left to get down to the lake. we ran half of it.. so the whole hike to the lake and back took 1hr 45min

hiking
6 months ago

Fan hike & the bird watching.

6 months ago

Great trail for nature lovers. It is long and it can get very steep. Most of the trail is completely natural, so you won't find many man made "adaptations". Not recommended for children or small dogs.

trail running
6 months ago

This trail is not as easy as it looks.. Park at the top and walk/run down.. or if you have a suv you can drive down and park at the parking lot 1.5km down.. MAKE SURE YOU GET A WRIST BAND AT THE TOP BY THE ROAD! It’s $8 otherwise they might turn you away right at the waterfall.. total hike from the road 9.6km
Bring lots of water

One of my favorite hikes

Nice and cool under the canopy of the forest but humid. Get to see wildlife. The path to the beach was heavily trafficked when we went although you can take some side paths which aren't (maybe bump into 1 or 2 people). Also you can take the paths toward Playa Las Gemelas where you can get lucky and maybe have a piece of the beach to yourself.

paddle sports
8 months ago

Super easy trail. There's options to rent kayaks on the beach. If you paddle out around the bay (South East) you'll find a very nice and private cove. Just don't get trapped by the tide/current.

hiking
11 months ago

awesome hike. challenging but beautiful. hiked on an overcast day but still offered beautiful views. trail can be muddy and slippery and at times requires use of your hands especially down to the lake at the top.

hiking
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

The trail is unmarked, the gas attendant across the street showed us how to get there. Once you hike up to the top there is an abandoned restaurant on the side of the mountain. It is so cool! It's overgrown and graffitied. Would highly recommend!

hiking
Friday, July 14, 2017

great hike!! very tough and steep on the way up, took about 2 hours at a fast pace. at the top we took a ridiculous steep downhill path to get to the lake ( there may be an easier way ), very muddy but the lake is worth it! make sure to go on a clear day, we wemt on cloudy day, couldnt see much.

hiking
Friday, July 14, 2017

Absolutely stunning. We left from the park visitor center side and had the entire trail practically to ourselves. We were in good physical shape, but relatively new to long, strenuous hikes. This is one of them, but the refreshing (and cold) dip at the end makes it worth it.

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