The hike was VERY difficult and we are athletic people. Chato Volcano (called ‘Cerro Chato’ in Spanish), is an inactive volcano that sits in the southeast side of Costa Rica’s most popular and active volcano, Arenal. We spent Jan 21-24 at the Arenal Oservatory Lodge and tried to get up to Cerro Chato. We haven’t heard anything about the trail from the Green Lagoon Lodge side in a while. At the peak of the volcano is a stunning green crater lake. The highlight of your standard-issue mountain hike tends to be the views from the summit. Good feedback on the Chato Trail. Hydrate hydrate hydrate before going!!! If the observatory lodge trail is closed I would recommend the trail that starts before entering the gate. Definitely sounds like people shouldn’t try it unless they are in very good shape- yikes! We did the Cerro Chato hike yesterday from Green Lagoon Lodge. Hi Carolin, Thanks for the detailed report. The hike up was tricky where the rain had washed away most of the soil, so we had to climb up roots, rocks, etc. I hiked Cerro Chato this past May. The trails are obviously not maintained… and you need to use your hands frequently. Thanks Cat. We also encountered some other hikers there. In the case of Cerro Chato, there are no views to speak of, yet the summit is the highlight for an entirely different reason. We started at the Green Lagoon and they said that if you continue to the Observatory side that is another fee. Thank you! Cerro Chato is a dormant volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, adjacent to the more popular Arenal Volcano. A few weeks ago the Environmental Ministry closed access to Cerro Chato because people were illegally using the trail to access the crater of Arenal Volcano, which is prohibited. You can’t really call the path to the lagoon a path. After convincing the guard I would be back in time I did the climb up to the rim and down to the lake. We hung out at the lake for quite awhile. It’s totally possible to see the best of Chato and Arenal Volcanoes on a budget when you plan ahead and book the right guided tour. You then follow orange arrows along a road until it ascends passed the Green Lagoon Observatory and into the forest. Granted we stopped to look at some monkeys, rested and waddled in the lagoon, and took breaks throughout. However, it was still an awesome hike and a great experience. We are planning our trip to cerro chato now. Majority of the hike is very muddy and slippery. In the afternoon, visit the Arenal Volcano for more hiking before wrapping your day up with a … I really appreciate your support and expertise. At this point, you’ll have seen the crater lake from above. Contact us for a customized tour quote today! Prepare to get dirty anyway and sweat a lot. My girlfriend and I are in Costa Rica in December and are looking to do this hike. We were shocked, but got turned around. Can you still do the hike from the East / La Fortuna Waterfall side? Cerro Chato is located to the west of the town of La Fortuna. The first half hour was an easy walk and more sunny, then you get into the jungle and it gets pretty steep and ditchy/muddy. Took us about an hour and 15 mins to get to the top of the rim. 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Cerro Chato has been inactive for some 3,500 years and rests at an elevation of 3,740 ft (1,140 m). If you need more ideas for activities in the La Fortuna area or are still looking for that perfect hotel, be sure to check out our comprehensive Destination post. We are not certain which rout we took, as it was not our original plan. It is NOT for people who are out of shape! At the top we took the path to the right and then took the left way down to the lagoon which looks absolutely fabulous from atop glistening through the jungle trees (its very thick jungle up there, I didn’t expect that). I would expect the average hike to take 5-6 hours. Hi Matt and Jenn. I don’t think you’d have to pay at the Green Lagoon side if you entered one way and exited the other. I think the trail also called Toucans Trail. And how far is the waterfall from the top roughly when taking this route? But there’s another intriguing sight nearby that is worth a visit. Hiking the Chato Volcano, or Cerro Chato, is the perfect way to get an incredible view of neighboring big brother, Arenal Volcano. It erupted about 38000 years ago but had no activity in the last 3500 years, which is right around the time Arenal was born. I would rate the hike as difficult, and it definitely requires some upper body strength to pull yourself up at points. I will not do the hike if due to damage to the environment or ecosystem. If it had been raining I can see this hike taking much longer with all of the mud/being slippery. We’re Matt & Jenn, a couple who left Boston to pursue a dream of traveling, living, and starting a family in Costa Rica. So your answer is, basically, if you ask someone (like a hotel) if it is closed, they will tell you yes, but people are still doing the hike. Our team visits these countries often to be sure that we bring you the most current and updated information on accommodations, activities, restaurants and more. 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