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.