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Arenal Volcano National Park Arenal Volcano Hike

Arenal Volcano National Park Arenal Volcano Hike

NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on October 2nd, 2017.

Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National Park warning

PLANNING TO VISIT THE ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK

Looking for a beginner/moderate hike in La Fortuna/Arenal? Try the Arenal Volcano National Park. Located west of La Fortuna’s downtown core, the national park plays a major role in protecting many of Costa Rica’s life zones and preserved areas. Encompassing the incredible Arenal Volcano and neighbour to Lake Arenal, the Arenal Volcano National Park is a tourism hot spot. This being said, although walking tours through the park are widely available (if you would prefer a guided service), visitors can also pay the entrance fee and explore the park on their own. Vehicle parking is available at the entrance/exit, however not beyond this point, so be prepared to walk deep into (and back out of) the park. The trail is not overly marked, however the highly flattened ground (evidence of the many travellers who have walked your steps before you) leads the way.

Arenal Volcano National Park
Ricky; dry forest of the Arenal Volcano National Park

VIEWING AND ACCESSING THE ARENAL VOLCANO FROM INSIDE THE ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK

Although not a very lush forest, the Arenal Volcano National Park’s biggest attraction is its closeness to the Arenal Volcano, specifically its nearness to the volcano’s west, grey, and “active side” (i.e., the side where rocks once shot out of the volcano and tumbled to the ground). To access the active side, once inside the Arenal Volcano National Park, follow the main trail until you reach a fork in the route, then take the trail to your left. Follow the trail straight until the route begins to turn as if in the shape of an oval guiding you back towards the entrance; at the back of the park, you will find a set of steps on your left. If you choose to make the trip up, you will not be disappointed.

Arenal Volcano National Park
Ricky; climbing the Arenal Volcano National Park

These steps lead visitors to a breathtaking view of the surrounding area, the lake, and most stunningly, the Arenal Volcano. At the site, you may climb on volcanic rocks and stand on the mountain they created which overlooks the region. Pay attention, however, to the warnings “zone of high volcanic risk” and “area of high volcanic activity – no trespassing”, and use common sense while climbing. In addition to limiting how far you climb over the rocks (given the fact that the closer you trek towards the volcano, the closer you are to where volcano debris may fly), the rocks are large, sharp, and slippery when wet, which can be a hazard to those who are not cautious climbers.

Arenal Volcano National Park
Volcanic rocks; Arenal Volcano National Park

CONTINUING ON THE ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK TRAILS

Once you have enjoyed the view, had enough volcano-viewing, and perhaps even heard the volcano rumble a few times, head back down the set of steps you ascended previously to find the park trail once again. At this point, if you are tired and wish to call it a day, you can take the trail to your right, which will cause you to backtrack along the same trail you followed when you entered the park; this is the shortest hiking option to the entrance/exit of the park.

Alternatively, if you wish to continue your journey along the Arenal Volcano National Park’s trails, opt to take the trail to your left (i.e., the path not yet travelled). Continue along this trail throughout the remainder of the Arenal Volcano National Park (past an enormous and photo-worthy tree on your right) until the route winds around to complete a circle (i.e., where you will meet the original stretch of trail you already walked over at the beginning of your visit). The trail to your left will lead you toward the entrance/exit of the park.

Note:

  • The Arenal Volcano National Park’s entrance and exit are one and the same, so your vehicle (if you drove one to the park) will be waiting for you at the end of your trek.
Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National Park trail

MAP OF THE ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK


QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: When visiting a national park, would you prefer to explore the area on your own, or with the knowledge and assistance of a guide?

Pura vida!

Don’t miss our Arenal Volcano National Park Tour discounts:

Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) with Los Lagos Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

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Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) with Baldi Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) with Ecotermales Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

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1-Day Arenal Volcano Tour with Volcano Hike & Hot Springs (Guanacaste)

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