El Silencio Trail (La Fortuna) Hike & Volcano-Viewing Experience

If you are interested in getting up close and personal with the Arenal Volcano while in La Fortuna, the Silencio Trail is the most popular means of doing so.

Ricky - El Silencio Trail

Ricky – El Silencio Trail

El Silencio Trail is located just outside La Fortuna along the main road around the volcano (a drive and/or taxi ride is approximately 15 minutes from downtown). A fee per person is required to enter (approximately $10) and parking is available (if required). If taking a taxi to the trail, be sure to prearrange a pick-up service with the same driver. Taxis are not regularly available at the trail, so it is best to arrange a pick-up service in advance. In Ricky and I’s experience, cell phone signals are inconsistent at the trail – we do not rely on being able to call a taxi to pick us up after our visit, rather we plan ahead and set a time for a driver to meet us upon completion. Depending on our mood, we usually give ourselves 1.5-2.0 hours at the trail. We also plan to meet the driver at the entrance, since the trails are circular offering start and end points at the same location.

El Silencio Trail - Hike Stairs

El Silencio Trail – hike stairs

The hike through the Silencio Trail is a moderate one. Some inclined sections (as shown in the image above) balance out stretches of flat land, making the walk both challenging and fun. The site offers a few different trails that can be tackled in a variety of ways, however we recommend doing the following. Once you have entered the park, stay to the right. Follow the trail all the way along until you meet the volcano viewpoint at the back of the site. The majority of this walk to the viewpoint will take place within the forest. From the viewpoint, continue the walk down (now outside of the forest and walking in the open) to the main road that runs from the entrance of the Silencio Trail straight to the back of the site, stopping in front of the volcano. Once at this road, you have two options: 1) you can follow this road straight back to the entrance of the park and end your tour, or 2) you can set out on this road towards the entrance/exit until you arrive at an opening to another trail on your right. This trail is windy and hilly, and both starts and ends at the main road. Taking this route will not lead you to a different location, it will simply provide you with an additional hiking challenge and a longer trail route. Both options lead you back to the entrance/exit, whether you opt to walk straight back via the main road, or chose to take the alternative trail option.

El Silencio Trail - Volcano Viewpoint

El Silencio Trail – Volcano Viewpoint

Of course, there are multiple ways visitors can walk the trails at El Silencio. If desired, visitors can enter the site, walk directly straight to the back via the main road, and begin the hike to the right. This is the opposite of what I recommend doing, only because travellers will find themselves having to walk uphill more of the way in choosing this option (if opting for this route, you will need to hike up to the volcano viewpoint, as opposed to walking down from it). Whichever way you decide to explore the trails, be sure not to miss the main attraction – the stunning Arenal Volcano – waiting for you at the back of the site.

Ricky - El Silencio Trail

Ricky – El Silencio Trail

As a nature enthusiast and bird lover, Ricky loves the Silencio Trail for its tranquil setting – the perfect place to spot animals and/or birds you might not have seen elsewhere along your travels. On each and every one of our visits to the site, Ricky and I have been met by monkeys (mainly howlers), on occasion pigs, and followed by various types of reptiles. Although a guided tour of the site is not required, we recommend experiencing El Silencio with a guide if your interest is to learn about nature, the volcano, and spot wildlife (more about this in our related blog post Guided Tours In Costa Rica: Are They Necessary, Valuable, And/Or Worthwhile?). Too often travellers sacrifice quality when opting to explore areas on their own (although it is of course 9 times out of 10 less expensive to do so), and since naturalist guides are trained to point out what travellers would otherwise miss, guided tours can extremely enhance the overall experience. For those who are drawn to El Silencio not specifically for this education but rather for its moderate walk/hike, a guide is not necessary as all of the trails are clearly marked and a map is provided upon entrance.

*Discounts for hiking tours including those to the Silencio Trail are available through Pura Vida! eh? Incorporated at: http://www.puravidaeh.ca/

QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: When travelling (in unfamiliar territory), do you prefer to walk/hike with the leadership of a guide or explore on your own?

Pura vida!

4 responses to “El Silencio Trail (La Fortuna) Hike & Volcano-Viewing Experience

  1. Hi, guys
    Great blog and very useful info!
    Please help me with the following: I’ll be in Arenal area for 3 days and want to go to the hanging bridges. The Arenal Hanging Bridges and Skywalk – is this the same or two different places? If so – which is better?
    Thanks,
    Gene

    • Gene –
      Thanks so much for your comment and for reaching out! We can certainly help.
      To confirm, the Arenal Hanging Bridges and the Sky Walk Hanging Bridges are both hanging bridge experiences, however they are run by different operators and are located in different areas of La Fortuna (Arenal). The Arenal Hanging Bridges are run by an operator of the same name (the Arenal Hanging Bridges) and are located just north of Lake Arenal (about 20 minutes outside of downtown La Fortuna). The Sky Walk Hanging Bridges are run by an operator called Sky Adventures and they are located nearby the region of El Castillo (about 25 minutes outside of downtown La Fortuna). Both tours are accessible to/from La Fortuna and tours through both sites run at various times each day.
      We often receive questions regarding these two hanging bridge sites, so we have written a separate blog post titled “WHICH COSTA RICA HANGING BRIDGES ARE THE BEST? COMPARING 4 POPULAR HANGING BRIDGE SITES IN ARENAL AND MONTEVERDE” (https://costaricatravelblog.com/2013/03/04/which-costa-rica-hanging-bridges-are-the-best-comparing-4-popular-hanging-bridge-sites-in-arenal-and-monteverde/). This post compares a few different hanging bridge sites in La Fortuna and Monteverde, however for the purpose of your trip, it will be of use to you as we identify a number of differences between the Arenal Hanging Bridges and the Sky Walk Hanging Bridges. Most noticeably, the Arenal Hanging Bridges tend to be the more popular option, however they are also the most well-known given that they are the oldest (the Sky Walk Hanging Bridges only opened a few years ago). In addition, the Arenal Hanging Bridges offer a greater number of bridges, yet the Sky Walk Hanging Bridges offer a longer tour. There are a number of other differences between the two tour experiences that the blog post linked to above will point out, so we recommend giving it a read. As an additional resource, you may also be interested in reading our related blog post, “A STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE (LITERALLY!) TO COSTA RICA’S ARENAL HANGING BRIDGES” (https://costaricatravelblog.com/2012/07/10/a-step-by-step-guide-literally-to-the-arenal-hanging-bridges/), for information about the Arenal Hanging Bridges directly.
      Before reserving whichever tour option you decide on, be sure to visit http://www.puravidaeh.ca to access discounts for the activity. More than 2000 discounts for Costa Rica trip items are available, including discounts for both tours through the Arenal Hanging Bridges and tours through the Sky Walk Hanging Bridges. 🙂
      Pura vida!

      • Wow! This was a fast and very detailed response!
        Muchas Gracias, Amigos!
        Definitely will read the mentioned post and hoping to find some discounts on your site. BTW – do you run any tours yourself?
        Gene

        • Gene –
          You are more than welcome! We are happy to help. 🙂
          Re: the tours. We do not – we are simply a discount operator via Pura Vida! eh? Inc. and offer online trip planning resources via this blog (Costa Rica Travel Blog). Ricky (the other contributor to this blog) has guided white water rafting tours on Costa Rica’s Pacuare River for years, however the remaining tours we do not run personally, we simply enjoy them from a traveller’s perspective and then offer our recommendations and feedback on http://www.puravidaeh.ca and http://www.costaricatravelblog.com.
          Pura vida!

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