Many tourists visiting Costa Rica decide to stay in the capital of San Jose. Not only does this thriving urban center have a wealth of things to see and do, its central location makes it an ideal starting point for hiking expeditions in Costa Rica's northern inland region. Follow me and let's explore the best hiking trails in this beautiful part of the country!
Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve
The Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve is one of the most popular and well-maintained reserve in Costa Rica. During the peak season, the reserve can get very crowded, but its an excellent place for inexperienced hikers to start enjoying the stunning natural beauty of Costa Rica.
There are nine separate trails in Monteverde, all of which are easily accessible, making them ideal for casual hikes through the rainforest. One of the most scenic routes in the park is the Sendero Bosque Nuboso trail, which is just over a mile in length and takes around one and a half hours to complete. The landscapes of this trail are truly breathtaking and feature a wide variety of exotic plant and animal life.
Several of the routes in Monteverde are quite short, but just as beautiful. The Sendero Roble, Brillante and George Powell trails are a little less than a mile long in total, but allow trekkers to take in beautiful sights such as heliconia groves, secondary growth forests and a spectacular view of the La Ventana, offering stunning vistas of the forest below the Continental Divide.
Don't forget to hop on a guided hiking tour or hire a private guide as you will not see nearly as much of the wildlife by hiking on your own. The guides hike with very powerful scopes and they will find the exotic birds and other animals. Hey you might even see me, a red eyed tree frog, while on a hike!
Arenal National Park
Another great hiking destination is Arenal National Park, located northwest of San Jose. Home to one of the most active volcanoes in the Pacific Rim, Arenal also boasts some great hiking trails that are easily navigable and offer great views of the surrounding park.
Many of the routes in Arenal are located along the flatter plains flanking the volcano, so the inclines and general terrain are quite manageable, ideal for inexperienced hikers. Some of the routes begin at the Arenal Observatory Lodge, and take in the beautiful La Fortuna waterfall. Along the way, visitors will see howler monkeys, toucans, parrots and a range of other exotic birds.
As you hike around the park, you may be lucky enough to feel the ground shake as the volcano erupts, sending lava coursing down the side of the mountain. After darkness falls, this can be a truly spectacular sight!
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