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Lake Cerro Chato Trail [CLOSED] is a 3.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near San Ramón, Alajuela, Costa Rica that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 3.8 miles Elevation Gain: 2,093 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

muddy

scramble

washed out

closed

no dogs

This trail is CLOSED to the public and illegal to climb up due to dangerous trail conditions. Access from Hotel Arenal Observatory Lodge is strictly prohibited. Please do not attempt to access the trail from this location.

hiking
muddy
over grown
washed out
26 days ago

My husband and I hiked this trail last week and it was worth every bruise and scrape I got along the way. The trail is definitely as tough as others have said. However, I found the most difficult portion to be the hike up to the actual trailhead in the jungle. The hike starts on a paved road, then through a farmers field with a bunch of cows/bulls (which I was sure were going to charge me!), and then through a field. This entire portion is uphill and we started our hike at noon while the sun and heat were agonizing. Once we got into the jungle the hiking was still grueling but you had the shade of the jungle and I found the rest of the hike to be more manageable. We saw several bugs and spiders so watch what you are grabbing onto as you make your way up the trail. We went on a clear day and were able to see the entire lagoon. The views were incredible and we took a much needed swim in the cool water. The path into the crater was very difficult and there were times I wasn’t sure I’d make it back up some of the mud walls. I imagine if it were raining it’d be nearly impossible. The hike down the trail was still difficult and at several points just sat and slide down on my butt out of fear that I was going to hurt an ankle. Needless to say, I ended up completely covered in mud by the end. Prior to hiking this trail we spoke to some locals who agreed that while it is technically closed, many tourist still hike it without any problems. We told a local on one of our tours about our plan to hike it and he actually drove us up to the green lagoon lodge so we didn’t have to take a taxi. He said that for locals it’s risky to hike as they would lose their tour operators license but for foreigners they’d just take down your name and tell you to leave. At the green lagoon lodge they made it pretty clear that by hiking the trail you are doing so at your own risk since it is technically closed. This hike was the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is up for the challenge.

hiking
29 days ago

Brutal hike. Glad we went for it, would make that choice over again, but it’s so rough and difficult I would not do it twice. We read what everyone said about it being extremely difficult and watched many videos, and somehow it was still much more difficult than expected. That being said, it is doable if you prepare properly. Bring about 1.5L water per person minimum. I highly recommend wearing gloves - we wore some garden style gloves with hand grips and it really made a huge difference. The more skin you leave exposed on this hike, the more you will suffer. As other have said, start at Green Lagoon. But beware, the road to the parking lot there is rough with rocks and might beat up your rental if the model isn’t high enough off the ground. We showed up at 8AM and finished around 1:30PM. And for the love of god - don’t bring your kids. It’s not safe at all. Would not recommend to anyone over 70 either or anyone over 50 who does not exercise regularly. There have been older men who dropped dead on this trail - take it seriously.

hiking
fee
1 month ago

$10 fee per person. At the Green Lagoon Resort you can pay the entrance fee and the give you a “map”. We were able to go all the way up. Around a mile in the trail turns to actual steep muddy trail, lots of drop downs and mud walls. All very fun and not too challenging if you’re in good shape. Bring the essentials, water, food, flashlight, etc. Once you get to the top of the crater it’s a very short but very steep section down to the lagoon- it’s definitely worth it. The lagoon is filled with cool, freshwater. We spotted some small leeches but they didn’t seem interested in us. It’s a fun, steep hike- I wouldn’t recommend it though if you’re not in good fitness or if you’re not feeling like going up a 2000ft muddy slog.

hiking
scramble
1 month ago

Definitely worth the scramble and mud! Go from the Green Lagoon Resort, they will charge your $10 and give you a map that says you have to turn around at a specified point but then give you direction all the way to the crater lake. The entrance to the trail is a little confusing, there is a little bridge on the left side of the paved road where you enter the jungle.

hiking
muddy
2 months ago

Pretty awesome hike. As someone who lives in Colorado and hikes at elevation, I had to catch my breathe multiple times. You go over 3 to 4 ft mud walls and vines plus some of the trail is extremely narrow and washed. Definitely need to be nimble and expect to get muddy. Overall, I got up in about an hour from really pushing it and the walk down to the lagoon was another 20 minutes but totally worth it. Bring bathing suits as the water is great to swim in. Ran into locals who agreed it is safe and said the lagoon reaches up to 60m in depth!

We hiked this with our 3 boys 8, 7, and 5 year old. Now, our boys aren’t your normal boys. They have done a ton of hiking and even 40, 36, and 32 mile bike ride respectively. We had a great time. It’s a little tough hike because of the length of the incline and uneven terrain with an pretty easy trail to follow. Make sure you make it to the lookout that has a view of the lagoon. We saw a ant eater and a small snake we haven’t identified yet. Lots of uneven ground and a little time on all 4, but nothing to tough.

hiking
6 months ago

Right guys this is my review after reading a lot of reviews before hiking. Couple hoax ar just lame review thing that I would write down. We did it on mid September as is beginning of rainy season? 1.You dont need be super fit to make it(I don't work out and had 5 fractures at my right foot 11 weeks ago 30yo slightly overweight and stillanaged to do it) 2. Its not 'vertical' or extremely dificult. But you will need some stamina. 3. Once you get to the top its not 30 mins to get to the crater. Even if you can't see the water just take left and you will be down in 5 minutes.( This part it is very steep but only 5 mins so you will survive) We didnt encounter any ''power rangers'' which I guess they might turned up there one in a month or even less. But if you do give random names to avoid fine. You can feel slippery part of trail when decending, but just get on your bum when there is biger steps and go slowly and you will be fine(dont be afraid to get dirty) I took me just under 2 hours to the top and 5 mins to the crater. We had a swim 3 sandwiches 3 cigarettes ( yes we do smoke on the hike) and 2 liter of water(should have been 3 as well, as I had to save it later), and in total 4.5 hours to finish the trail. Totaly worth it, bring enough water and enjoy it!

hiking
7 months ago

We were staying at Green Lagoon in February. We took off around 9am to hike up. It started out on a road, then gravel road, the you cross a foot bridge, walk up a hill on a trail through grassy area, then into the jungle! Lucky for us, it was fairly dry. Even the roads in were fairly steep. If you aren’t in 1/2 ok shape, DO NOT ATTEMPT! I was winded! We got all the way up & was going to descend to the lake when we crossed park rangers. They spoke Spanish & we couldn’t communicate well, but they turned ya around. Wouldn’t even let us take a picture. The trail IS CLOSED! You can get around the fence, but you may get turned back and/or fined. We didn’t because we were staying at the hotel. If you can/do make it, it’s a fairly difficult, but beautiful trail in Costa Rican Jungles!

closed
muddy
rocky
10 months ago

Pour monter ce volcan, vous devez êtres en bonne conditon physique. Très difficile et glissant en saison de pluie. Pour la descente du cratère, c'est très difficile et TRÈS glissant! Vous devez être expérimenter pour aller au cratère. Ne vaut absollument pas la peine d'aller au cratère s'il y a du brouillard puisqu'on ne voit rien.

hiking
closed
muddy
over grown
washed out
10 months ago

We started this trail at the GreenLagoon resort. The first kilometer follows a road and is steep, but easily doable. Then you leave the road, cross a small bridge, and enter the park. The second kilometer is on the side of the vulcano, a steep muddy path. At the 2km mark is a fence, barbwire, and sign instructing you to return, because the trail is closed and too dangerous. At this point you enter the jungle, the trail is covered and more muddy. Given the trail condition, the very clear instructions to return, and inclement weather; we decided to return at this point. On the way down, you have some nice viewpoints on the surrounding land. Owing to the rain, the path became very slippery. I would not attempt the trail, unless you are sure it won't rain while you're there.

hiking
10 months ago

ThIs is definitely a hard trail. When you get to the split at the top, go right. It’s steep down, but if you made it that far you will be fine. Do not go left. . The trail is not maintained and it’s hard to find the lake from there. Also def bring insect repellent or you will be eaten alive by the mosquitoes, they are everywhere. Lastly watch out for SNAKES. I almost ran into a jumping viper and saw death flash before my eyes. KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE TRAIL

hiking
10 months ago

We started from the Green Lagoon resort where you go into the reception area and pay $10 to access the trail. The first half or so is mostly uphill walking on a dirt road. Once you get into the jungle its pretty much all scrambling to get up. The trail itself appears to be an outflow during heavy rains which creates some really cool sections. We went right once we got to the top and descended down to the lake. On the way back up it started to rain which made this part really really sketchy. You're essentially climbing up mud rocks where at times you have a 20 foot fall if you mess up. All in all super cool trail, definitely worth it, and remember to take your time with the part going into and out of the crater since that is what makes this trail dangerous

hiking
muddy
11 months ago

Absolutely amazing end to a great but difficult trail! Give yourself the day! Enjoy the hike and brings lots of water!

hiking
muddy
scramble
11 months ago

Awesome hike! If you're in the area, I highly recommend considering this one. It is very difficult though, as everyone else has already stated. I clocked it at about 2.1 miles from the GreenLagoon reception building to the edge of the lake in the crater. If you enjoy using your hands and feet, getting dirty, and hiking in the jungle, this hike is perfect for you.

hiking
muddy
11 months ago

hiking
closed
muddy
over grown
scramble
Thu Mar 28 2019

My friend and I did this about a month ago. It was nuts. Very worth it but difficult. When you get to the top of the volcano and begin your descent, there are two paths to go. One to the right and one to the left. We chose the one to the right and it was a big mistake. It was almost a vertical face of straight mud and we were grasping for anything we could hold onto as we slid down. We had to swim around the lake with all of our gear to find a better way up which did work out well. So when you get to the top, definitely take the left trail to begin descent to the lake. Also, you have to ignore a lot of warning and closed signs but it is well worth it.

hiking
muddy
scramble
Mon Feb 25 2019

Loved this hike! Nearly 3/4ths of the hike is root and mud scrambles, it’s difficult but so fun. Took us about 3 hours and 20 min to complete including 40 min of swimming/hanging out at the lake. Make sure to have good hiking shoe traction. Do not do this hike if you have limited hiking experience or have knee issues.

hiking
muddy
Sun Feb 24 2019

They moved the dead body! Quite the challenging hike but well worth it.

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