The Arenal Volcano is at only 25 min East from La Mansion Inn Arenal. Although there is no more lava coming out since October 2010, you still can hike amidst the impressive lava flows of the past. We recommend to drive to the ARENAL OBSERVATORY LODGE. They have several trails, nicer than the one of the national Park. You pay a small fee at the reception desk, and in turn you can choose between several trails.
The Morning Walk:
Every morning about 8:30 a.m., the guests and guide meet outside the office for the complimentary morning walk. We begin by crossing the nearby hanging bridge and head off along the Saino trail, winding our way through a combination of beautiful tropical gardens and lush rainforest. Stopping along the way to view and discuss the flora and fauna, the walk continues out to the trail that leaves the hotel grounds and makes its’ way to the primary forest trail that joins the River Danta and allows access to the beautiful jungle waterfall below. After climbing up from viewing the waterfall, the rustic trail heads for the Danta hanging bridge, crosses the river and opens out onto a path that continues between green pasture lands to one side and wild jungle vegetation along the river edge to the other. Not too much further, the path crosses the river a final time where the comfortable, open air “Jungle Bus” is waiting to bring the guests back to the hotel. The whole adventure takes about two and a half hours and with more than 250 species of birds, three types of monkeys and a whole host of other mammals, insects, reptiles and plants and flowers, each excursion provides a different look at the tropical paradise that we call home.
Over 370 species of birds have been spotted in the area around the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Well–marked, well-groomed trails through primary forest, open pasture land, secondary forest and hardened lava flows offer numerous habitats and birding opportunities. Some of the more spectacular local residents include Three-wattled Bellbirds, Fasciated Tiger-Herons, Sunbitterns, Laughing Falcons, Red-lored Parrots, Great Curassows, Northern Jacanas, Steely-vented Hummingbirds and Keel-billed Toucans.
One of the most popular trails at Arenal Observatory Lodge. A short, relatively easy walk from the lodge (20 minutes), the trail ends at the base of a 20-foot waterfall. Hikers are refreshed by the moist air, cooled by the waterfall, and the surrounding forest, lush with ferns and palms. Duration: 1 hour round trip.
Old Lava Trail:
You can travel this path without a guide, leaving from the hotel and climbing down to the Agua Caliente River. From this point on, the path is closed as it is in a high risk zone that leads to the foot of the volcano. Along the way you will see how the local plants are becoming re-established, and with luck, you’ll spot some howler monkeys. The trail also takes you to a lava field that stopped flowing in September 1992 but continues to issue steam at various points. This is a fairly difficult hiking trail due to the slope and texture of the terrain.
Duration: approximately 4 hours round-trip.
Arenal Observatory Lodge lies in the heart of one of Costa Rica’s largest natural areas. The rich volcanic soil supports primary and secondary rainforest teeming with birds, butterflies, mammals and reptiles. Howler monkeys call from the forest every morning and late afternoon. Seven miles of manicured, well-marked walking, bike and horseback riding trail system traverses the property and provides safe, easy access to breathtaking natural beauty. A paved trail, wheelchair accessible, extends 800 meters into the rainforest allowing excellent views of the volcano and primary forest. This trail is perfect for a short night hike to immerse yourself in the exotic sounds and smells of the jungle after dark. Trail map available at the hotel desk