Cerro Chato Extreme Volcano & Waterfall Hike


Cerro Chato Extreme Volcano & Waterfall Hike

The Cerro Chato hiking tour is perfect for those who like a good workout and are willing to hike in pretty extreme conditions! The Cerro Chato Extinct Volcano makes for a gorgeous backdrop on this intense trek which takes you straight up through lush rain forest to the crater of the extinct Cerro Chato Volcano. Health & Wellness vacations are becoming popular, so be sure to include this active and high-intensity activity on your vacation with us.

The Extreme Cerro Chato hike, along the biological corridor connecting with the Arenal Volcano, is an intense 4-5 hourArenal hiking tour through lush rainforest. You will hike up a steep and sometimes muddy trail through the beautiful rainforest, all the way to the top.

It is believed the Cerro Chato Volcano (which means small hill in Spanish) has been inactive for hundreds of years. The Maleku indigenous group is native to the Cerro Chato area and worshiped the volcano and many Maleku artifacts have been found in the area. The nickname local people have given Cerro Chato is "The Sleeping Indian" -- we will let your guide tell you why!

Along the way up the Cerro Chato Volcano, your professional nature guide is bound to help you spot amazing bird life like toucans and the Montezuma Oropendula and other rainforest creatures, such as monkeys, anteaters, sloths, pizotes and much more. Your nature guide will be set with an adventure pack and capable of handling any incidents along the way.

You'll pass through flat pastures on to a rocky, dirt path surrounded by deep, lush rainforest, and then into the clouds as you keep getting higher. You'll ascend from just above sea level to 1140 meters above sea level. You'll feel like you are on top of the world!

Be sure you have your camera with you to snap a selfie of yourself in front of the impressive Arenal Volcano off in the distance when you reach one of the coolest vantage points -- and post your photo to our FaceBook page to become an official member of our CERRO CHATO SURVIVORS CLUB!

This is a very hefty hike and you should be in good condition to take this on! And for the more adventurous hiker, you can hike down to the emerald green lake crater if conditions are favorable. Sometimes it is very muddy and difficult to see the crater's lagoon due to heavy cloud cover. It is not recommended to swim in the volcanic waters of the green lagoon, but it makes for some great selfie photos when you stand in front of the green lake to prove to your friends you hiked an extinct volcano in Costa Rica!

Once you've accomplished the extreme part of the Cerro Chato Volcano hike, take your time hiking down to the base of the volcano. From there, your nature guide will take you across the Arenal National Park Conservation Area to get to the entrance of the famous 150-ft La Fortuna waterfall and cool off in the rushing tropical waters. The entrance fee to the La Fortuna Waterfall hike is covered in the price of your tour and the local government development association uses the revenue it collects from the entrance fees for various local projects such as a sports complex and other infrastructure needs in our community.

The La Fortuna waterfall hike is well worth the 300-steps to make your way back up!

This will be an unforgettable experience full of nature, beauty, and definitely a good workout!

And we think this comment from one of our Cerro Chato Survivors says it all!: "The Cerro Chato hike is a) physically exhilarating and challenging 2-3 hour hike, depending on your fitness level, up the side of a dormant volcano through primary rainforest and a refreshing dip in a crater lagoon is an adventure not to be missed! Isidro, a superbly athletic guide, motivates you to the top with his excellent pacing and informative stories en route. Also included in this excursion is a side trip to La Fortuna Waterfall (1-2 hours if you stay for a swim) and a delicious lunch. Bring water, wear hiking boots, and be ready for an intense workout in Mother Nature's Gym!

The following new article highlights the importance of hiring a certified guide or tour outfitter to take you hiking in Arenaland on this Costa Rican volcano because the terrain can be fairly deceiving. It has some hills and valleys and it is easy to stray off the path if you're not careful. Read more




Secure closed-toe shoes
Bathing suit
Change of clothes
Bug repellent
Rain gear.


Bilingual nature guide
Trail entrances
And snack lunch.




6 Hrs


13-60 Years



Original text copy from: https://www.interbusonline.com/la-fortuna-de-san-carlos-ing

La Fortuna de San Carlos (Arenal Volcano)

Here you will find a description of the La Fortuna area, and we will provide you with very important information about the main attractions, and how you can enjoy the area in a simpler way. La Fortuna was developed on the foothills of the Arenal Volcano. This town is located in the province of Alajuela, just 3 hours from San Jose (Costa Rica capital). The enchanting beauty and numerous attractions of this area make this place one of the most important Tourist Destinations in Costa Rica.Tourists have access to many services, such as lodging, restaurants, pharmacies, banks, post office, health care, gyms, shops, sports facilities and even an excellent nightlife. Here you can find everything for your needs.

How to get There

There are different transportation options to get to the Arenal Volcano / La Fortuna area:

Shuttle Service

This service offers convenience and saving money; shared Transportation is a service from hotel to hotel, connecting different destinations in La Fortuna. Interbus is the best option for Shuttle Transportation in Costa Rica, offering you the possibility to travel to the area of La Fortuna through the different Tourist areas of the country.Interbus provides Transportation service from San Jose to La Fortuna in the morning at around 08:00 am and in the afternoon at around 14:00pm.

Public Transportation

Costa Rica offers a good quality Public Transportation. Autotransportes Venecia is the company responsible for providing public transportation from San José to La Fortuna / Arenal. San Jose is the most important departure point for public buses to any destination in Costa Rica.

Regional Charter Flights

Local flights are a great way to travel between destinations in Costa Rica. Nature Air company offers a daily flight from San Jose to La Fortuna / Arenal. For more information or to book your ticket, please contact Nature air Costa Rica or Sansa regional, and they will help you.

Tourist Attractions

Arenal Volcano National Park

The most Important Attraction in this national park is the impressive and majestic Arenal Volcano. This volcano has an almost perfect 1.633 meters high crater, and has one of the most extraordinary and stunning natural landscapes of Costa Rica.

The park trails will guide you, and there you can enjoy the sounds of very colorful birds, fauna and flora. For these reasons, if you?re going to enjoy this area, you cannot forget to visit this national park, located only around 5 miles from La Fortuna?s down town area; it is open to the public until 16:00pm.

Fortuna Waterfall

This waterfall is located within the area of Arenal Volcano National Park; the waterfall is generated by the La Fortuna river waters and other smaller tributaries. These waters rise in the mountains of the park. The waterfall has rocky foundations of great geological value, and these rocks increase the scenic beauty of the waterfall.

Some of the basic services offered in this place are:

  • Free parking
  • A restaurant
  • A souvenir shop
  • Restrooms and showers
  • An observatory with a beautiful view.
  • Is also a suitable place for people with disabilities.


The descent to La Fortuna Waterfall has 480 steps, and on the way you will find comfortable seating areas. Down the road you will see the waterfall, which is 70 meters high. There you can swim and enjoy the crystal clear waters.

Arenal Hanging Bridges

The hanging bridges are located just 20 minutes from La Fortuna down town, in front of Arenal Volcano National Park. The park is an eco-tourism project for migratory species, but also has many native species. This place has 250 acres of protected land. Here you will find primary rainforests and a lot of biological diversity. There are fourteen bridges, eight permanent and six suspended, ranging from 8 to 98 meters in length. These bridges reach up to 60mts high. During the tour you can appreciate beautiful flora and fauna. The trails are designed to be enjoyed by people, without altering the environment.

The opening hours are Monday to Sunday from 6:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Arenal Lake

The lake, pond, or artificial Arenal dam is the largest in Central America, and has an area of 85.5km2; this is a hydroelectric project, and today this project produces 40% of the energy consumed in Costa Rica. Arenal lake is very famous, because the people can practice many water sports such as windsurfing, kayaking and fishing (there are two predominate fish species: Machaca and Lubina). This lake is also a means of transportation to the Monteverde area. In this zone you will see many species of birds like the Woodpecker and Hummingbird.

If you visit La Fortuna, do not miss the lake and enjoy its activities.

Hot Springs

La Fortuna has several hot springs, around the town. The travelers can enjoy the hot water from the Arenal Volcano; in the area you will find many different places, for example you can visit Ecotermales, Tabacon or Kalambu, are some places where you can enjoy these lovely waters.

If you submerge yourself in the famous La Fortuna hot springs, you will get many health benefits. These waters cleanse the blood, removing toxins through perspiration, rejuvenate the skin, and also reactivate the metabolism and relax the muscles. The hot spring helps rheumatic people to regulate the system, too.These are some of the many benefits you will get if you visit these places in La Fortuna.

La Fortuna offers many options for enjoying your vacation, you can choose walking, kayaking, rafting, fishing, horseback riding, bird watching, canopy and hiking tours. These are just some of the activities you can enjoy while visiting La Fortuna de San Carlos, all these attractions make this area one of the most important Tourist Destinations in Costa Rica.

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