Cerro Chato Volcano

Arenal Volcano’s little brother, Cerro Chato Volcano, is not as high or as active as its younger sibling, but it is a wonderful area to explore.

Located on the southeast side of Arenal Volcano, bordering the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa property, Cerro Chato (“Cerro” means mountain in Spanish) is a dormant volcano. It is believed that Cerro Chato Volcano first erupted 38,000 years ago during the Pleistocene period and last erupted about 3,500 years ago. One of its lava flows created the waterway that now leads to the La Fortuna Waterfall.

Cerro Chato’s truncated volcanic cone, covered with a thick carpet of rainforest, rises to 1,140 meters (3,740 ft). A lagoon of bluish-green water fills the 500-meter-wide (1,640-foot) crater.

Cerro Chato Trail

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa is the home of the Cerro Chato Trail. The trail begins at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, climbing up Cerro Chato’s western flank. You will hike through different types of primary forest – first rainforest, then transitional forest and finally in the cloud forest. Wildlife, especially birds, that live in the cloud forest are very different from lower elevation rainforest, such as the Emerald Toucanet, Black Guan, and the Black-faced solitaire.

The trail is steep and sometimes muddy; due to its extreme terrain, the Cerro Chato Trail is only recommended for hikers in good physical condition.