On my second visit to the luscious and vibrant country of Costa Rica I was desperate to escape the chaos of San Jose. Girl gang assembled, car hired (with wifi of course) and our 4 hour journey into the mountains began. After a few pitstops at various volcanoes and waterfalls along the way we arrived into the town of La Fortuna for sunset. It’s well worth spending a couple of days here as there is so much to do for the avid explorer, however we only managed a quick 24 hour pitstop before heading out to the coast. Read on for my top tips in Arenal.
A 4 hour round trip volcano hike. The mini Cerro Chato volcano next to the Arenal Volcano is a fun yet gruelling half day activity. A few minutes drive from La Fortuna awaits the Green Lagoon Resort giving you access to the trail on the East side of Cerro Chato. An alternative route up the volcano would be to depart from the Arenal Observatory where you’ll begin your hike up the Western side of the volcano.
What starts out as an easy hike on grassy land turns into a situation where you are relying majorly on upper body strength to make it past the tangle of tree roots and branches blocking the path. It was actually a lot of fun but do make sure you’re properly fuelled up for the climb.
It is a challenging hike that will take about 2.5 hours to get to the top, however it is so worth it when you arrive at the oasis of a fresh water lake.
We spent about an hour at the top swimming and hanging out on the shore of the lake.
The Green Lagoon Info Centre opens at 7am and costs $12 to hike. A tip would be to hike first thing in the morning when the park opens so that you aren’t treading where others have already been.
During the rainy season it turns to complete marshland. It would also be worth considering that the earlier you set off the less people will be at the lake. Something we had the luxury of having to ourselves at one point.
Other activities in the area that you should definitely do if you have more time would be the hot springs and zip wiring. This area is famous for hot springs, there are public ones and also ones located in each hotel and spa surrounding the volcano. Zip wiring is available in the area as well, however if you have time and access to transport it would be more worthwhile journeying not too far to Monteverde and experiencing zip lining through Cloud Forest.
There really is so much to do here it would be wise to prioritise what you want to do most.
This place is a really good value for money hostel. There is the option to book out rooms or sleep in tents. We went for the tent option because it sounded fun.
More glamping than camping with its double bed and fresh white sheets. There’s a really cool vibe at Arenal Backpackers Resort with a sociable bar area and swimming pool where travellers all hang out in the evening.
The staff are friendly, helpful and more than happy to recommend restaurants and activities during your stay in Arenal. The wifi is fast and the showers are clean. Overall a brilliant place to rest up before our volcano hike.
Here at The Rainforest Cafe we ate a typical Costa Rican breakfast – rice and beans with scrambled eggs, a tortilla and side of avocado. Washed down with the finest and strongest Costa Rican coffee. This amazing breakfast only set us back about $8 and fuelled us up ready for the hike.
After a brief 24 hours in Arenal we set back off on our road trip heading West this time. A quick pitstop at Costa Rica’s most beautiful waterfall before arriving at our beach town destination, Tamarindo. Stay tuned for the next instalments of the Costa Rica edit.
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