Cerro Chato!

Today we scaled a volcano.

That is actually a pretty good way to summarize it. Our hike started out on a well groomed grass trail lined by beautiful flowers and plants. Birds were flying overhead and all sorts of lizards were scampering around.

The trail was quite interesting in that the beginning of the trail was managed to include recycling and composting bins for hikers to dispose of their waste before the “real hike” began.

After the first hour of straight uphill walking among the flowers, we had an incredible view over La Fortuna and surrounding areas (I cannot say surrounding towns, because there arent any!). That view quickly disappeared as we entered a wall of jungle lining the top half of this extinct volcano.

The trail remained elevated at least 45 degrees, but turned from smooth walking over short grass to hike-climbing over large roots, drainages, and volcanic rock. Definitely not a hike for someone not wanting to break a sweat. The 90 degree, 100 percent humidity day only helped us decide that.

As we climbed, we saw only a couple of other hikers, one with bloody shins, who was boasting he got to the top in only 1 1/2 hours. We told him congratulations, haha.

After two hours of hiking (and some picture taking), we reached the summit of the crater. The view was awesome. The vista overlooked a large lime green lake (turned that color by volcanic minerals) 300 meters below us (around 300 yards for reference). The cone was about 400 meters in diameter and was completely covered in lush, green trees and vegetation.

We soon began our almost vertical decent (and I mean steep) 300 meters down into the crater. At the bottom, we took a few pictures, then decided to take a very cold, yet refreshing dip in the prehistoric looking lake. Our packed lunch was waiting for us on the bank when we were done and we sat watching split-tailed swallows soar over the water and dive to catch small fish.

Sitting there was such a zen experience as the entire crater had an ecosystem of its own. No sound could be heard from the outside world.

Our hike out of the crater and down the volcano was slightly quicker than our ascent. As we were waiting for a taxi at the entrance to the trail, we saw a whole family of howler monkeys jumping around in the trees, including a tiny baby! Pretty neat.

Leave a Reply