I couldn’t leave Central America without doing at least one volcano tour in Costa Rica or Panama. I could have hiked a volcano when I was in Boquete, Panama but 12 hours of hiking in the middle of the night didn’t sound too appealing to me. Especially because everyone complained about the freezing temperatures on top. I also didn’t pack for that.
My last stop apart from Panama city and San Jose where I had flights from was La Fortuna, Costa Rica, which you might know under the name Arenal as well. A small little town surrounded by rainforest, offering a tremendous amount of fascinating outdoor activities for visitors of all ages.
Volcano Hike in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
La Fortuna is surrounded by two volcanos: Arenal and Cerro Chato. The most famous tour that people take when traveling there is the two volcano hike in La Fortuna. This tour does not actually include hiking the volcano since that is not allowed anymore, but rather getting close to it and getting to know the area around it.
This tour is a good choice because it will allow you to see a variety of different things in only a day, which is perfect for people with limited amount of time. And also perfect for people with no particular hiking skills! You get to see the both volcanos up close, visit a natural hot river, enjoy the rainforest (and hopefully spot some monkeys) and visit a waterfall.
Costs and Duration
The price for this full day tour is $55 and tickets are sold in hostels or in any of the tour operators located just on the main street. You can’t miss it, there is kind of only one street and they all offer the same tours, even though the company might differ.
Make sure to plan a full day for this as the volcano tour in La Fortuna takes around 8 hours. Something between 9am and 7pm I believe.
What is included?
The price includes pick up and drop-off at your accommodation, a tour guide (or two), a lunch package, a volcano mud face mask and a cup of booze at the end.
I booked the volcano hiking tour the day before, so no need to book anything in advance.
The first hike
We got picked up in the morning and drove straight to the starting point of the first hike, which only took around 10 minutes. But from there we needed to walk another 15 minutes before the actual hike started. We made our way through the jungle stopped at the “spider hut”, where we would have lunch later and visited this view-point from where we could have a perfect view on the Arenal volcano.
The total hiking time was only about two hours, including some breaks because this group of Spanish girls was so slow and they happened to be in the front so we always had to wait.
We also saw some spider monkeys which was pretty awesome, since I haven’t seen any monkeys before in the wild. The tour guides also told us a little about the jungle and its animals.
The hike was rather steep nor difficult so if you are in an okay physical condition then this should not be anything to worry about.
Before lunch we stopped at a lake where we could have jumped in from a rope but at that very moment it started pouring down. I didn’t want to get wet anyway so I was hiding out in the “spider hut” and enjoying my lunch. (There were a few spiders, but after a year in Australia I can say they are not worth mentioning really). After lunch our group headed back to where we got dropped off, where the shuttle was already waiting for us.
The second hike
Now it was time to drive to the starting point of the next “hike”. This honestly was more of a walk. We started at a waterfall where we had a little break and if you wanted to you could have gone in.
My excuse this time was that it was raining again and starting to get quite cold, I didn’t feel like walking around in wet clothes for the rest of the day. Then we started walking and got to have a closer view of the smaller volcano which was lovely as well.
The walk included two hanging bridges which will save you the drama of booking a separate hanging bridge tour. I imagined it to be more exciting but it is just a bridge after all.
The hot river
Maybe after another two hours in total we made our way to the last stop which was the hot river. The guides wer
e worried because it had been raining a lot and then going in the river would be dangerous and also the hot river would have not been hot anymore. Bit pointless. But it was fine when we got there.
It was nice, especially since the outside temperature got a little chilly. The current was quite strong it was difficult to stay put in one spot.
After everyone had climbed down into the river, the guides started to put volcano mud face masks on our faces and we finished the tour with a plastic cup of vodka fresco.
All in all it has been a lovely day and I can highly recommend going on a volcano hike in La Fortuna. I only had one full day so I wanted to make sure to pack as many activities as possible in that day to not feel like I would have missed out on the best spots.
Have you ever gotten close to a volcano before? I wish I would have had more time and traveled around Nicaragua for a little bit, which should be amazing volcano wise, so I’ve heard.
I always love hearing your thoughts.
Much love x