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Ways to Experience Arenal Volcano (Volcan Arenal)
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All reviews lava flow national park arenal volcano ceiba tree costa rica nice hike viewing area the loop per person easy hike main trail lookout point short hike hot springs clear view entrance fee san jose
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Reviewed 10 July 2018

If you are hoping to see inside a volcano you will be disappointed. You can't get anywhere near the top. In fact, one trail is closed because people have been killed trying to get close to the top. The marked hikes are nice and easy, fairly level and through new forest and fields of cane. You see a variety of flora and some towering trees. The lava rock field was underwhelming, but the hike to and near it is worth a journey. All is fairly easy except the last bit up to the lava field because you have to climb up some sharp rocks to get there. Recommend close toed shoes, not only because of the rocks, but bugs. Ant bites can be painful. Bug spray isn' a bad idea either unless you wear long sleeves and shoes. I got a couple of mosquito bites.

Date of experience: July 2018
Thank Lynn W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2018

The Arenal volcano is the main reason people flock to this area and the national park will get you as close as it is currently possible - it is currently not allowed to hike the Arenal iteself. It is a $15 dollar entrance and a short drive from La Fortuna. Is it also on the way where most popular attractions are.

The main activity of the park is to hike the forest surrounding Arenal. The park has a mirador that will get the closest full view of the volcano, which will be the picture to take of the Arenal, if weather conditions are good - the Arenal often gets covered by clouds.

It also has two sections, one close to the volcano, another close to the lake. We covered only the first section. The volcano section hike is split into two parts that meets each other: the sendero Las Coladas (the lava trail) and the sendero La Ceiba, The lava trail is the "main trail" and takes you to the lava fields and gets you a panoramic view of the area, which includes a view of the arenal and a view of the lake. It is not a long hike but you gain some elevation.

The sendero La Ceiba is basically a detour of the main trail that takes you to a longer path to the giant La Ceiba tree, and loops back to the main trail. The La Ceiba will probably add another hour to your hiking, so plan accordingly.

Overall, we found it to be a nice hike in the jungle but, to be honest, not much more than that. The ceiba is a nice large tree, and the lava fields are nice to see, but they feel more an excuse to hike around rather than a major destination. Having said that, the hike can be quite delightful if you encounter wildlife, which we did, although not as much as we would like. If I were to do it again, I would probably cut it short, skipping the La Ceiba detour, or would do it all and hire a guide to help us locate and learn about the the wildlife.

Date of experience: June 2018
1  Thank wdl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2018

The Arenal Volcano National Park is excellent. The top of the volcano is usually covered by clouds. We were luck to be there on a day when the clouds had blown away. Another thing to do in Arenal is to go to the Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort. The thermal pools range from very hot pools from the top to less hot pools down to the waterfall area near the bottom of the pools. In the area are Zip Lines and Waterfalls, horseback rides, and excellent food. If you stay at the Tabacon Lodge entrance to the Thermal Resort is included and they provide transportation from the Lodge to the Thermal Resort.

Date of experience: February 2018
Thank spurgeony
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 June 2018

The hike takes about an hour or so up to the lava field if you are not in a hurry. It's not like there are all kinds of critters at every step, but the forest and the scenery up at the end is very nice. We did it with a guide from EcoTerra, and it was pretty fun, and well worth the money (plus you support the local tourist economy).

There is a steep climb at the very end, but the trail up to that point is well maintained and there is not much elevation. No experience or special gear is needed. It is not the adrenaline rush, "swim in the lava crater so we can post it on FB" type activity, but for those who are looking for a comfortable hike in a different terrain, it is highly recommended.

Date of experience: June 2018
Thank Charles2B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 June 2018

Another good stop, we didn't spend a lot of time here as we were on our way to a hot springs. Still worth a quick trip.

Date of experience: July 2017
Thank 765CathyS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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