One of Costa Rica’s top hiking destinations, Arenal Volcano National Park offers a range of hiking trails that wind through wildlife-rich rainforest and old lava flows, all anchored by one of the world’s most active volcanoes. Here are your options for trails in and around the park.
Los Heliconias — 0.6 miles (1 kilometer)
The most popular of four marked trails within Arenal Volcano National Park, this short hike starts at the ranger station and leads to a lookout with spectacular views over the volcano, Lake Arenal, and lava flows from former eruptions. At under a mile, it’s an easy and quick option for kids and those with limited time or mobility.
Las Coladas — 1.24 miles (2 kilometers)
Mostly flat and easy to navigate, this trail wraps around the base of Arenal Volcano and offers views of the southernmost lava fields—rocky remnants of the volcano’s last major eruption in 1992. Always use caution when crossing the lava beds, as the boulders can be slippery and sharp.
Los Tucanes — 1.86 miles (3 kilometers)
Picking up where the Las Coladas Trail ends, this scenic trek winds through secondary rainforest and additional lava beds. Along the way keep an eye out some of the hundreds of bird species found in the park, including the endangered and elusive quetzal.
Los Miradores — .75 miles (1.2 kilometers)
Starting at park headquarters, this leafy route takes you through the rain forest to the shores of Lake Arenal.
The lesser-known (and dormant) cone of Cerro Chato has two hiking trails that begin near the famous La Fortuna Waterfall, about two miles (3.2 kilometers) southeast of Arenal Volcano. More difficult, these trails are best suited for experienced hikers, but the view of an emerald green lagoon that fills the collapsed crater is well worth the extra effort.
Arenal Observatory Lodge
Anyone can pay about $15 for a day pass to access the trails at this private lodge, which include the strenuous Lava Trail and the Laguna Volcán Chato, leading to the Cerro Chato crater lake.