I’m not one to advocate for tours, but traveling in Costa Rica is a different story. There are so many natural wonders to experience so it isn’t as easy as showing up to a city and hoping on the subway system. Tours are well worth the money and time when traveling in Costa Rica.
There are 6 active volcanoes in Costa Rica. To visit without experiencing these natural wonders would be a shame. When I arrived to La Fortuna, I knew I wanted to hike Arenal Volcano and I found the best way to do that was by going on the full day Two Volcanos Tour.
The Two Volcanos Tour takes you on a hike to the base of Arenal, a waterfall, Cerro Chato, a view point, hanging bridges, and hot springs!
Here’s the low down.
A tour bus picked me up directly from my hostel at 9 am. The other travelers in my hostel and I excitedly entered the bus to be greeted by our friendly guide, Augusto, and a handful of other adventurers. On our way to the hike we stopped at a convenience store to use the bathroom, fill water bottles or get any thing we needed before we started our day. Shortly after our pit stop we arrived at the jungle! The tour bus of people split into two perfectly sized groups and we started our adventure!
And we are off!
A good tour is when you come back having learned something. As we began to walk to the start of the trail, Augusto informs us of the ecosystem. From the life of the ants walking near our feet to the details of the trees above our head, Augusto knew everything there was to know about the land. Before we had even reached the true start of our hike I was already amazed by the nature around me, not just because of the lush, thick forest and the view of Arenal, but because I learned about the interactions of the ecosystem! After a short walk on an incline along a gravel road we reach a lodge where we were told we will eat lunch later and then we embark on our quest up to the base of Arenal Volcano.
We start along a narrow, shaded path along a green lagoon. Even though the path is covered by trees, it doesn’t take away from the hot, humid Costa Rican heat; get ready to sweat! The lush soil from the volcano creates a beautiful hiking trail that makes the uphill incline well worth it. The group stops along the way for water breaks and for some nature facts from Agosto.
*Note: The trail isn’t paved so make sure you have shoes that can handle uneven surfaces! There are tree roots, trunks, and rocks along the way so make sure you are paying attention to where you step.
After a rewarding hike through the trees I finally saw an open space. I turned to my new friends and said, “I think we’ve made it!” We didn’t. Hot and tired, the group took another break. Agosto explained we are only ten minutes away. Having lived in Colorado the last four years, I know when someone says we are close while hiking, odds are we aren’t. Not as hopeful, I took a deep breath and followed the group up the trail. 10 minutes go by uphill and lone-behold, we arrived! Lava rocks of all shapes cover the base of the volcano. Watch your step and find the perfect rock to sit on to enjoy the view...and some water!
The bright blue sky contrasting with the green lush jungle all complimented by one of the most active volcanoes in the world is truly breathtaking. We sat on lava rocks while Agosto explained the history of the volcano. The view was worth every uphill step we took to get there. After soaking up the energy of Arenal we made our way back down.
We hiked down a different trail than we used to reach the top. This trail was a wide gravel path that took us back to the start of the hike.
Post Hike Celebration!
We celebrated a long, hot hike by “tarzan” swinging into the lagoon! People climbed up trees and jumped into the refreshing water! After enjoying a different view of Arenal we headed to lunch.
*Note: If you don't want to swim, no worries! You can enjoy the views and the lagoon from outside of the water!
Lunch was homemade traditional food...rice, beans, picadillo, salad and fruit! If you have diet restrictions, have no fear! Vegan and vegetarian options were available on request.
On To The Next Leg of Our Journey!
We all boarded the bus and headed to Arenal National Park. We learned more about the ecosystem and saw birds and trees that I have never seen in my life! We follow a shaded, wood-planked trail to the Danta Waterfall where the adventurous souls dove in and had the opportunity to walk behind the water for an incredible view. The others just enjoyed the view from the front of the waterfall.
From the waterfall we followed the trails to a beautiful hanging bridge where Augusto made sure to take an individual photo of everyone. So get your instagrams ready! From the bridges we continued on out of the forested areas to return to views of Arenal Volcano which was now complemented by a view of Cerro Chato.
As the sun started setting, we made it to the view point to watch the sky change colours at the Observatory Lodge. From the view point you could see the lake, the volcano, and the surrounding jungle. A perfect end to the perfect day...well it wasn't over yet!
We all packed back into the bus and headed to Tabacón River, also known as El Chollin. When we arrived Agosto told us to leave all our belongings safely in the bus so we didn’t have to worry about anything! We grabbed our towels and headed to the river!
The entire river is naturally heated by the volcano. The hot, running water softly massages your skin, a perfect way to relax our muscles and joints after a long day of hiking. To add to the relaxation, we applied a specific type of mud to our faces.
After enjoying the hot springs, we said goodbye to our new friends as the bus dropped us off our hostels.
All in all the tour was great! There wasn't a moment of boredom just constant fun and new facts! As, a solo traveler, I could not have gotten to all these places alone without spending more than what I paid for the tour.
To experience it yourself go to Two Volcano Tour page to book our tour! If you prefer to do things in person, when you arrive to La Fortuna go to Arenal Container Hostel office.
Park entrance fees