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Cerro Chato Hike and Hot Springs

28 March 2017

sunny 85 °F

Breakfast this morning was under the watchful eye of Arenal Volcano. La Fortuna Suites has a really great open but covered patio with unbelievable views of the volcano. We continue to be blessed with beautiful weather and it is so nice we can see the smoke coming from the top of the volcano.
Today we have two objectives, Cerro Chato hike and then soaking in the hot springs at Tabacon. The Super Christian is a grocery store here and before we take off on our hike we get some makings for a sandwich. The hike starts at The Arenal Observatory Lodge but the only thing in the GPS was Arenal Lodge. We drive there only to find that it isn't the right place. We find out from broken English the arenal OBSERVATORY lodge is in Arenal Volcano National Park. After another five mile of dirty, bumpy roads we find the observatory, pay $10 to get in and begin taking photos of the volcano.
We get a map that is suprisingly easy to use and have a nice leisurely 30 minute walk with views of the volcano.
You can even see steam coming out of it from this vantage point.
The trail is marked in meters but to us it looks like mountains.
Before it gets to difficult we see some pretty neat looking plants.
We also see another coati going about his business near the parking lot.
According to Lonely Planet this hike is a challenging hike up the dormant Cerro Chato volcano. It is expected to take 4 -5 hours with an elevation gain of 1500 feet. It is marked as an 8 km round trip and the rim is at 3740 feet. At the top is a pool in the crater but boy do you have to work for it. The Cerro Chato trail is muddy and rocky in some parts, basically like doing a stair master through tree roots.
start of the Cerro Chato Trail
the trail
Curt on the trail
At the top there is another 20 minute hike down to the edge of the water but we opted to just enjoy our sandwiches from the upper view point.
Curt wanted to make sure I documented how messy the trail was for him.
Just before the finish there is one hanging bridge we have to cross.
We came in right around 4.5 hours and were exhausted. Showers and naps were in order before our date with the hot springs. Most of them have passes good for designated hours and ours was 1800-2200. We chose to include the buffet with a seating at 1800 and it really exceeded expectations. The cannelloni was excellent and they had great kabobs from the grill.
For the next 1.5 hours we luxuriate in hot springs, under tiny waterfalls and resting in peaceful pools. It was neat to be there at night with the stars in the sky and the dim lighting in the foliage. The waters were not extremely hot so it was possible to stay in them much longer.

Posted by ErinDriver 16:24 Archived in Costa Rica

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