Arenal Volcano National Park

When you have had a shower outside in the rain and an open air bath on your balcony (safely concealed by the jungle!), it seems fairly pointless to wear an uncomfortable rain coat to go on a hike.  Skin is waterproof after all?  So today, I carried nothing except my camera and didn’t let the rain bother me at all.  I was feeling rather  in harmony with Mother Nature (en Armenia con la Madre Naturaleza) and excited to explore Arenal Volcano National Park.

Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Hanging Bridges Trail
Arenal Volcano Hanging Bridges Trail

Hanging Bridges Tour

We took a pre-booked half day tour with Aventuras Arenal this morning through the hanging bridges of Arenal National Park.  The trail is 1.9 miles (3.1 Km) in length, crossing a total of 15 bridges: 9 fixed, and 6 hanging.  The very well laid out trail through the national park takes you through pristine rainforest across the huge hanging bridges suspended high above the tree line giving you absolutely spectacular views of the forest below and the Arenal volcano.

Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Hanging Bridges Trail
Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Hanging Bridges Trail

Flora and Fauna

With the aid of a guide (and his spotting scope), we were able to see: spider monkeys, a crested owl, mariola bees (stingless), bats, tarantula spider holes (with a bit of leg tantalisingly poking out – no touching …), a rufous motmot an eye-lash tree viper and thousands of tirelessly marching leaf cutter ants.

Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Spider Monkey
Spider Monkey
Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Bats
Arenal Volcano Bats- eat mosquitos!
Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Crested Owl
Crested Owl
Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Mariola Beehive Entrance
Mariola Beehive Entrance
Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Rufous Motmot
Rufous Motmot
Eyelash viper Costa Rica
Eyelash viper
Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Leaf Cutter Ant
Leaf Cutter Ant

The plants were as interesting as the wildlife here though.  We saw a walking palm which, amazingly enough, moves through the forest until it finds the perfect spot for itself, with enough sunlight to thrive.  It takes it 30 – 40 years to achieve this.  

A stunning broccoli tree also took my eye.

Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Walking Palm
Walking Palm
Arenal Volcano National Park Costa Rica Broccoli Trees
Broccoli Trees

Fascinating Facts

Arenal volcano ws dormant for more than 400 years but erupted in 1968 and became one of the most active volcanos in the world pouring out hot lava every day.  It decided to fall asleep again in 2010.
 

Tip for Future Travellers

​You need to wear covered shoes to walk this trail.

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