Cerra Chato

MODERATE 11 reviews

Cerra Chato is a 2.9 kilometer lightly trafficked out and back trail located near National Park Arenal, Alajuela, Costa Rica that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.

2.9 km
365 m
Out & Back



nature trips







old growth


washed out

no dogs

5 days ago

Very muddy towards the summit. Currently, in these conditions I think this hike is in the hard category. It took us over three hours each way. Make sure you’re wearing good-gripped shoes!

5 months ago

That was our first hike in Costa Rica and we enjoyed it very much. We hiked from the Lodge to the Laguna and the lush rainforest and abundant wildlife impressed us a lot. The laguna is beautiful.

7 months ago

Great hike - challenging from La Fortuna climbing mostly roots and washed out eroded trails. Hope for clear skies at the top for an excellent view of Arenal and the lake below!

7 months ago

We hiked from the Arenal Observatory Lodge side which was steep on the way up with huge person-sized mud walls to scramble up. Got pretty exhausting but the lake at the top was incredibly beautiful. Hot and humid so bring lots of water.

7 months ago

Four of us decided to tackle this trail on our own in mid-December, foregoing a tour -- and we're glad we did. A guide is unnecessary if you have any sort of hiking experience and the big groups involved with a tour (we saw them on our descent) would only add to the difficulty. The path is narrow and precarious in many spots, causing large groups to maneuver their way in a compact single-file line. I'm sure they were constantly tripping over each other.

Plan on this being a full-body experience hike, jumping over large puddles and across crevices, grabbing vines and ducking under limbs, and climbing up steep mounds with minimal footholds. There was a monsoon-like downpour the day before (our friends had gotten caught in it, which made this trail turn into a full-fledged river/waterfall -- watch for storms!), so there was mud aplenty. Warning: the clay is red and it does stain your clothes.

Unfortunately we were socked in with clouds at the top, so didn't get to see the view. There is a lagoon off the summit with an incredibly steep and slippery descent to get to it, so it's off-limits. However, people do still go and take a dip, including someone we knew. He is a very experienced hiker and indicated that the hill was even difficult for him to climb up -- but the lagoon swim worth it.

Really cool and unique flora/fauna throughout and some tiny (dangerous?) creatures along the way to remind you that you're smack dab in the middle of a rainforest.

8 months ago

Beautiful hike with incredible views, and you can take a swim across the lagoon. There are two ways to get up, one shorter and one long. The start near the Arenal Waterfall is very challenging, particularly if muddy. There are intense sections when climbing down to the lagoon as well. Definitely stock up with water, high energy snacks, and your swim trunks!

10 months ago

The trail starts about 1.5 miles further back, at the observatory, than the map states. Great views at the top, but it is HARD - especially the steep section down to the lake.

8 days ago

2 months ago

3 months ago

8 months ago