Arenal Volcano and Hanging Bridges Rainforest Hike
Arenal, Costa Rica
- Arenal Volcano: Enjoy a relaxed two-hour trek through the rainforest to a prime lookout point, where you'll see dry lava flows and other evidence of past eruptions as your guide describes the volcano's turbulent history. You're also likely to see, hear, and feel Arenal rumbling, steaming, and hissing.
- The Hanging Bridges: Located in the Mistico Park private nature reserve, this two-mile circuit of 15 fixed and suspended bridges takes you high into the jungle canopy. A park naturalist guides you through the unique treetop ecosystem as you enjoy breathtaking views of Arenal Lake and the volcano in the distance.
About This Arenal Tour
It's a jungle up there – a different kind from the one below it.
The height and position of the Arenal Hanging Bridges were strategically chosen to provide a close-up look at what is essentially its own ecosystem – one still little understood: the top of the rainforest.
That's not to say that thousands of critters don't skitter up and down from the treetops to the ground, like humans in high-rises. But Mistico Park is a major migration corridor for hundreds of bird species, and its bridges were designed to blend in – allowing you to unobtrusively observe branchfuls of toucans (including the rare Tucancito Esmeralda), bellbirds, hummingbirds, crested guans, macaws, parrots, woodpeckers, orioles, and one of the rainforest's most resplendent residents: the brilliantly colorful quetzal.
There are many plants, butterflies, monkeys, and sloths that find life high in the jungle canopy more amenable, and your naturalist guide can point them out. But there's a larger point: that the world up there is delicately balanced – within itself, and with the world down there, an ecosystem where lizards, frogs, snakes, deer, tapirs, coatis, and countless other creatures try to stay out of the way of pumas, jaguars, crocodiles, and wild boars.
From the heights of the bridges – some thrillingly swaying, some rigid – you get a perspective of the whole rainforest, in all its grandeur. Along with quiet moments to contemplate the wondrous harmony of it all.
For those of us who spend our days busily skittering our way up and down, back and forth, work to home, such moments really are wondrous.
Your hike begins on the west side of Arenal, where steam vents boil and hiss ominously. The volcano was thought dormant for centuries, until a devastating 1968 eruption brought scientists and thrill-seekers. It's blown its top (less violently) seven times since, and is now constantly monitored as Central America's most active volcano. On most days, visitors can see – from a distance – smoke rising and lava flowing.
Please meet in the lobby or reception area of your hotel. Our representative will be holding a sign with your name or the tour's name on it. You must confirm the name of your hotel at checkout, so we know where to pick you up.
Expect rain at any time of the year, but the wettest months are June through October, and the driest are February through April, and occasionally November. Yearly average temperature, 75°F (22°C). As you climb the slopes of the volcano, the temperatures drop and the rainfall increases.
This tour involves a moderate amount of walking, some of which is over gravel, rocks and natural, dirt paths and up/down slopes. The inclined nature of the terrain makes it unsuited to travelers with limited mobility and those who use a wheelchair.
Adventure, Wilderness/Wildlife, Walking Tour
22-seat Air-conditioned Minibus
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Special Medical Restriction
Due to the nature of this tour, it is not suitable for pregnant women or travelers with back/neck/shoulder/leg problems or a fear of heights.
Non-refundable if canceled within 48 Hours of requested services.
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