Created in November, 1991, Arenal Volcano National Park is quite recent but it is one of the most visited areas in Costa Rica. It’s terrain goes from 1300ft to 5757ft height above the sea level, being the highest part the Arenal Volcano’s crater, which is located just 10.5miles west from La Fortuna.
It’s 29850 acres of protected areas include important places for water reload of aquifers, also are home for a rich diversity of wildlife, such as: Keel-Billed Motmot (Electron carinatum), the Great Curassow (Crax rubra), the Bare-necked Umbrellabird (Cephalopterus glabricollis), Three-wattled Bellbird (Procnias tricarunculatus), among many others. However these are the most popular and figure in IUCN’s Red List, labeled as vulnerable or endangered species. There’s an estimate of 469 species of birds that can be found within this place.
It is also home for several species of mammals like the Puma or Cougar (Puma concolor), the Jaguar (Panthera onca), 3 species of monkeys, Howler (Alouatta palliata), White-faced (Cebus capuchin) and Spider (Ateles geoffroyi), as well as wild pigs, Coatis and many others.
Arenal Volcano National Park Inhabitants
Trails at Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National Park, offers trails that feature an immersive and quickly changing vegetation. A big section of the park shows secondary forest and sections in recovery, as plants and trees slowly claim the desolated parts barred by Arenal Volcano’s 1968 and 1992 eruptions.
There are four official trails in this park:
- Las Coladas (1.24 mi): This is the main trail and the easiest one as well. Vegetation is mostly composed of a variety of cane (not sugar cane) and some rather small trees. Inclination of the trail isn’t significative either until reaching 1992’s lava flow where you’ll find steps carved out of the lava stones.
- El Ceibo (1.12 mi): This is a variation of the main trail, where you take a wide loop to return to las coladas trail, few meters before starting to climb the lava. This is the richest of all the trails, vegetation here is part of a primary forest, so you’ll be covered by high tree branches and have a bigger chance to see some wildlife. This trail’s name comes from a centenary Ceibo Tree, located almost at the middle of the route. This tree is quite impressive and worth to see.
- Las Heliconias (0.62 mi): The shortest trail, is also the less interesting unless you travel with a very experienced guide who talk you about interesting facts about the secondary forest. This trail is completely populated by canes (again not sugar cane) and tall grass, which happens to be a poor source of food for most species, but if you are lucky enough you could find a lost coati, a snake and some birds.
- La Peninsula (1.75 mi): This one is located outside the Main Ranger Station area. Like most of the other trails it can be found in Google Maps. It has a particular view of the lake and you can walk to the very border or it. There is a big rancho with benches and restrooms here, bring your food as its a nice place for lunch.
Natural Attractions in Arenal Volcano National Park
Although Arenal Volcano National Park offers only those trails by the main Ranger Station, there are other beautiful places and natural wonders within this park’s area.
- Cerro Chato: It’s an old volcano covered by the forest with an emerald colored water lagoon in it’s crater. It’s a beautiful place that can be reached from both east and west side. Learn more…
- El Silencio Trail: Located a few miles from the Ranger Station, offers a beautiful viewpoint to the Volcano and a trail among a dense vegetation of trees. There is a great chance to see some wildlife as it is more private than the Park’s trails.
- Arenal 1968 Trails: Even closer to the Ranger Station, offers trails that take you to the very 1968 lava flow, famous for it’s destructive power and because was the awakening of Arenal Volcano from centuries of silent sleep. Contains different kinds of vegetation, where you can see the forest recovery, a lagoon and the closest viewpoint to the volcano. Learn more…