Cerro Chato

Cerro Chato is a dormant volcano that flanks the southeast side of the Arenal Volcano. Cerro Chato has been inactive for some 3,500 years and rests at an elevation of 3,740 ft (1,140 m). In this sense, it is quite different from the neighboring Arenal, which is much taller and until 2010 was the country’s most active volcano.

The Chato Volcano first erupted 38,000 years ago during the Pleistocene period. One of these eruptions paved the way for the waterway that leads to the La Fortuna waterfall. It has two peaks, named Chatito and Espina, as well as a 1,640-ft (500-m) crater that’s filled with greenish-blue water.

It’s possible to hike up Cerro Chato. Departing from the Arenal Observatory Lodge, which resides upon Chato’s western slope, the trail leads along a ridge and descends the eastern slope, exiting near the La Fortuna Waterfall. It’s a steep and sometimes muddy hike, and is thus only recommended for hikers in good physical condition. Once at the top, visitors can peer into the emerald pool that fills Chato’s hollowed crater; there are, however, certain minerals present in the water that make swimming inadvisable.

The route that begins near the Observatory Lodge and ends at the waterfall (which can also be done in the opposite direction) takes about 4-5 hours.  Another option involves leaving from the waterfall and returning along the same route. That generally takes about 2 hours of steep climbing to get to the top and another hour to get back down.

There is an entrance fee of $8 per hiker if you wish to go without a guide.

Cerro Chato Hike Times and Booking

Tour Name/Description Start Time and Duration Booking
Cerro Chato Hike
08:00 AM - 05:30/hrs
Rates & Booking
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