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Backpacker Magazine – February 2002

Fire And Rain On Costa Rica's Volcanoes

Deep in the cloud forests of Costa Rica, you'll learn to dodge fireballs and poisonous frogs while tracing a circuit around a living volcano.

by: Andy Dappen

Expedition Planner
Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

Permits: No permits are needed, but you must pay $10 per person to enter the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve. Camping is best done near small towns, where you'll find cleared, flat land on which to pitch a tent. The preserve has shelters. Route: Trails in the rain forest range from narrow, root-riddled paths to wider horse trails that sport deep mud after a hard rain. None of the numerous routes snaking through the rain forest are signed, so without a guide, you will get lost in the jungle--a scary proposition. Budget 4 to 5 days for the roundtrip walk.

Access: La Fortuna is located in northwestern Costa Rica, about 90 miles from San Jose, the capital city. Public buses, private tour operations, or a rented car will get you to La Fortuna.

Season: Early December through late April is the dry season, but prepare for daily rains. Normal raingear is too hot-use a poncho or umbrella.

Outfitter: A local guide is your best resource since detailed maps and route information don't exist. William Bogarin Solano (fax 011-506-479-9342 or 011-506-479-9091) speaks English. He or his brother can guide you.

Contact: Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, 011-506-645-5122; or

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Reader Rating: -


Osias Segura
Sep 22, 2009

Very nice description of the tropical rain forest of Costa Rica. But a couple of interesting hiking ideas to add about my country, besides the rain forest: -Tropical dry forest in the northwest area of Costa Rica (during the dry season from January through April, for instance hiking the Rincon de la Vieja volcano. -Tropical cloud forest (cold and humid), for instance hiking Chirripo Mountain (the second highest peak in Central America). Experiencing that variety of tropical forest while hiking will make you go back for more every year. OS


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