Hike Costa Rica's Cerro Chato

4.5 miles 2750 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by The Outbound Collective

Hike with picturesque views of neighboring Arenal Volcano through a dense rainforest to a waterfall and lagoon.

Hiking the Chato Volcano, or Cerro Chato, is the perfect way to get an incredible view of neighboring big brother, Arenal Volcano. Arenal has the typical, conical shape that you think of when you hear volcano and is one of the areas most active volcanoes. You'll be perfectly safe hiking Cerro Chato, though, as it hasn't erupted for some 3,500 years.

The trailhead begins at the La Fortuna Waterfall and leads up the eastern slope up to Laguna Cerro Chato, a lake that has formed in the crater at the summit. Although it is a short hike, it is rather steep and can be muddy if it has rained recently (very common), so be sure to wear sturdy hiking shoes and hike with care. Follow this trail to the lagoon and take a break while enjoying the view. Unfortunately, swimming in the lagoon is not advised, as there are some harmful minerals in the water. When you're ready, follow the trail back the way you came, finishing at the waterfall.

To get to the trailhead, drive east from Daniel Odubar Airport on Hwy 1 until you reach San Ramon, where you'll take Highway 702 north towards the town of La Fortuna. Just before you reach town, turn left on Diagonal 301. Follow this to the end of the road where you'll see signs for the La Fortuna Waterfall and the Cerro Chato Trail (Sendero Cerro Chato).

Read More

Tags

Hiking
Family Friendly
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥉Contributor

about 5 years ago

Hiking along this rainforest trail is unforgettable

Give yourself at least 4 hours to do the hike no matter what your fitness level, especially if you decide to add the side hike to the lagoon (which you totally should). Bring a lot of water, there is no where to refill along the way. Stop at the Observatory restaurant for lunch, dinner or a sunset drink – this spot offers one of the best and closest views of Arenal. See more from our experience at http://mrandmrsadventure.com/2014/05/29/surviving-montezumas-revenge-and-hiking-cerro-chato-from-the-arenal-observatory-lodge/

I would also strongly suggest setting aside some time to soak in the various hot springs found in the area-- a great way to sooth sore feet after a day of hiking!

I have done this hike several times, and I recommend everyone to take lots of water and snacks since it is normally more humid than the average person is used to. You are inclining a lot, but all types of people are able to complete the hike as long as they are prepared and take their time. I recommend starting early, like at 6am since the sun can be super strong as the first hour you are exposed to the elements. The trail is not very well maintained and descending into the crater to see the lagoon is in horrible condition. Be prepared for mud and the need to use your hands.

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to La Fortuna Falls

    This is a nice 1/2 day trip. La Fortuna falls is popular with tourist and locals, not just for viewing the falls but there is excellent swimming holes just below the fall and you can also swim right in the pool the falls fall into but the approach...

    1 miles 350 ft gain

  • Take a Sloth Tour Near Arenal Volcano

    A private trail just outside of La Fortuna, Costa Rica has a high concentration of sloths that can often be spotted along the short hike. The land here is very dense with vegetation making it a perfect home for the sloth. Most of the land surround...

    2 miles

  • Swim at El Salto

    Surrounded by lush jungle, the swimming hole of El Salto features a Tarzan swing into a deep turquoise pool along the Rio Fortuna river. The swimming hole has formed below two small waterfalls making this a popular hangout for locals and the occas...

  • Canyoneering Lost Canyon

    The Lost Canyon Canyoneering tour is full day of adventure.  The day starts with a shuttle pickup from your lodging  in the La Fortuna area.  After a ride through the rural community and up to the canyon ops center, your adventure guide will fit y...

    1 miles 500 ft gain