Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
327.00 ft (99.67 m)
Trail type
Loop
Distance
3.35 mi (5.39 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Arenal Volcano National Park is located in the central region of Costa Rica near the town of La Fortuna. The park was established in 1991 and covers 46.8 square miles of densely forested jungle and encompasses two volcanoes, Arenal Volcano and Cerro Chato. Arenal Volcano is the countries youngest volcano that was believed to be dormant until 1968 when a major eruption occurred. 

On Monday, July 29, 1968 at 7:30 am, Arenal Volcano suddenly and violently erupted. The eruptions continued for several days burying over 15 square kilometers under rocks, ash, and lava. Three small villages on the western side of the volcano were buried and 87 people lost their lives in addition to ruining crops and killing livestock.  At the height of the eruption, the volcano hurled giant rocks weighing several tons into the air at a speed of 1300 mph.  Upon impact, explosions formed three new active craters.  Since 1968, there have been many eruptions and lava flows making it the most active volcano in Costa Rica, last erupting in 2010.

The dense jungles surrounding Arenal Volcano are part of the Arenal Huetar Norte Conservation Area and is also home to more than 850 species of birds, including the endangered resplendent quetzal. Other animals living within the park include white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguar, deer and coati to name a few.

The best way to see the park is to hike the Las Coladas Trail and the El Ceibo Trail as a loop. Las Coladas is one of the top hiking trails in Arenal, taking you through the jungle to the base of the volcano, where you can walk over the old lava fields. The top of Arenal volcano is often covered with clouds, but if you're lucky, the clouds will clear for a nice view of the volcano from the lava fields. El Ceibo Trail starts and ends from the Las Coladas Trail. This loop takes you through secondary forest past a massive 400 year old Ceibo tree for which the trail is named. Take your time on this section of the hike to appreciate the abundance of wildlife and exotic plants. Just be alert at all times while hiking through the jungle, watch for both wild animals and geothermal activity.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

Admission Fee

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Easy to Follow Trail. Great Views. Lush Jungle. Wildlife.

Cons

Often cloudy over volcano.

Trailhead Elevation

1,900.00 ft (579.12 m)

Highest point

2,100.00 ft (640.08 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Wildlife
Family friendly
Geologically significant
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Wildflowers
Bird watching
Old-growth forest

Typically multi-day

No

Permit required

No

Location

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