1-Getting on our way
At about 10am, we pick up you up from your hotel. A 15 minutes drive will get you to the botom of the Cerro Chato. At the visitor centre you meet the guide and he will give you the tour details, check on your gear and divide the foot and drinks. The hike begins with a walk through farmland and tree plantations. It will warm you up for the tougher strech ahead and provides excellent views of the La Fortuna Valley. After about an hour, we get to the edge of the tropical forest.
2-Hike to the Chato Volcano
For the next couple of hours you will be surrounded by the lush flora and fauna. You will see huge trees with impressive roots and a wide variety of tropical plants. On your way up, the guide will make several stops and explain about the fascinating working of the delicate forest eco-system. It's physically challenging hike that will ask the best of you. The trail will gradually get narrower and steeper. Our guide will always make sure that the group stays together and get enough time to catch their breath. The guide will have his eye out to spot birds and the other animals. Animals we might see howler monkeys, ant-eater, wild turkey, nose bears and smaller but intriguing animals like bullet ants, frogs and spiders.
3-Enjoying the lagoon in Chato Crater
Arriving at the crater edge we get an excellent view of its emerald green lagoon. From this point we carefully work our way down into the crater. Once here, we put on our swimming gear and take a plunge in the fresh and clean water. Making it back on the crater edge we are done with the toughest part of the hike. To maintain our energy level we will pause to enjoy a picnic style lunch with sandwiches, fruit and juices. Having fed ourselves we will hike to the other side of the crater from where we will start the descent. Leaving the forest we continue with an easy walk on the road that connects the Chato park with the Arenal Observatory Park.
4-Hanging bridges and waterfall
Getting close to the Arenal, we enter a jungle trail that will take us to the beautilful waterfall of the Danta river. On our way we pass a hanging bridge that provide a impressive view of the river. Once at the waterfall we take our time to cool down and go for a swim at the pool of the waterfall. To please your inner tarzan you can also climb the waterfall and jump down. Along the riverbed you can find mineral rich volcanic mud which can use to give yourself a good skin treatment.
5- Arenal Volcano Observatory
Leaving the forest we get to the grounds of the Arenal Observatory Park. This is where reseachers from the Smithsonian Institute helped to establish an observatory facility to monitor the Arenal Activity. It's still being used for research and there is a small museum which we will visit. Here you get to know about the history of the volcano and you can learn more about forces creating its activity.
6-Panoramic vie of the Arenal
After passing some beautiful tropical gardens and hanging bridge, we get to the deck of the Observatory Lodge. At this stunning place we conclude the hiking part of the trip. From the deck you can see the Arenal in its full splendour. Depending on the level of activity we might be able to see lava rolling down from Arenal crater. The panoramic view from the deck also includes the jungle at the foot of the volcano, the Arenal lake and the mountains of Monteverde.We take ourr time to relax and enjoy this beautifull place where you can get a well deserved drink at the bar of the lodge.
7- Relax in the hot water river
Next we will get in the minibus and take a 20 minutes drive to the Tabacon hot water river. The water is heated by the vocanos activity and you will experience the relaxing sensation of being in a natural jacuzzi. After enjoying this for about an hour our tour will come to the end and we wiil drop you off to your hotel around 8:30pm.
Note: you get the option to go to Baldi or Tabacon Hot spring instead of the tabacon hot water river