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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.

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; www.cct.or.cr/monte_in.htm or www.monteverdeinfo.com/monteverde.htm.

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