Arenal VolcanoFree ActivitiesCerro Chato

Cerro Chato ANC Park & Gardens

Cerro Chato

Cerro Chato ANC Park & Gardens
Across Street from Fortuna Waterfall Cerro Chato Volcano & Lagoon, La Fortuna, Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal 00000, Costa Rica 506-2479-7777

Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano) is situated adjacent to Arenal Volcano and is a dormant little sister volcano to the more active Arenal.

The Cerro Chato trailhead lies about 1.5 km south and 4 km west by a secondary road from the town of La Fortuna. Two trailheads lead out from the parking lot at the La Fortuna falls to the blue green lagoon nestled in the crater. As you prepare to embark on your hike, you can stop by the Green Lagoon Information Center and pick up a map as well as pay the $10 entrance fee for the private Arenal Nature Conservancy Park and Gardens (this is the only fee that you will incur, unless you opt for the services of a guide).

It should be noted that the first half hour of the hike is in open country, so the sun can get quite intense, thus we strongly recommend that you bring a lot of sunblock, a hat, and water, not to mention a good pair of hiking shoes. The views of the volcano and the La Fortuna area are quite spectacular.

The climate soon changes as you enter the forest, with cooler air, and more shade. Here you can spot all forms of wildlife, such as rain frogs, toucans, and much more.

Please be advised, that although there is much natural beauty to take in, the trail leading to the lagoon is steep, and is recommended for experienced hikers in good physical condition. Efforts to improve the trail are ongoing, especially on the eastern approach from the waterfall parking lot, so you might want to consider heading up this path.

As you continue south and then west circumventing the rim of the crater you can, if you are adventurous minded, descend along a steep trail towards the valley of Rio Agua Caliente, which will lead you to another private reserve and onto the second trail head extending out to the Arenal Observatory Lodge on the south face of the volcano. This part of the trail is free if you are a guest of the Observatory or a $4 will be incurred which can be paid at the lodge office.

By now, depending on your level of fitness, you might be exhausted, so if you decide you don´t want to hike back across the dormant Chato Volcano, you can hail a taxi from the Observatory to the downtown La Fortuna area or nearby hotels which will run you about $19 - $ 33 depending on distance.

It should be noted that If you begin your trek from the Observatory and make your way to the La Fortuna waterfall parking lot, you will be required to pay the $10 Arenal Nature Conservancy Park fee as you exit.

Guided tours are available at the information center or can be booked by any hotel or agency, and start at around $65 U.S.D. and might not be a bad idea for a group where you can split the cost, although it is not a requirement to have a guide.

That said, whatever side you decide to make your approach from, upon reaching the lake, you are officially within the boundaries of Arenal Volcano National Park and there is no office nearby, so attempts to collect and entrance fees to the National Park are non-existent.

COST: $10 entrance fee to the Arenal Nature Conservancy Park.





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