The Unforgettable Hike to Volcán Arenal

A teen adventurer hikes through the Costa Rican rainforest to check out a lava-spurting volcano.


One of the most enduring memories I have of Costa Rica is when I went hiking with my family through the rainforest to Volcán Arenal. There were new things to see everywhere, and it was really a fantastic adventure.

We were picked up by a tour bus that took us (along with other tourists) to the starting point of the hike. Just the ride there was pretty cool. For instance, the tour guide pointed out two wild toucans in a tree!

Soon we found ourselves at the head of the trail, ready to set off. I was so excited to get a taste of the rainforest, and energetically started off on the hike, walking down a narrow path surrounded by lush green trees filtering the afternoon sunlight. I looked at everything around me. My expectations of the rainforest’s amazing scenery were correct—everything was new and exciting.

I’ve always wanted to climb a vine in the jungle. I didn’t think I’d actually ever be able to, but here was my chance: Our tour guide pointed to a relatively thick vine along the trail that was actually strong enough to climb. I wasn’t sure if it would hold my weight, but as I tentatively tried it out, there I was, already near the top of the vine, smiling proudly as I completed my feat.

Throughout our hike, we saw bands of monkeys running through the canopy over us, and we heard groups of howler monkeys screaming and yelling though the forest. Our guide explained that if one of the monkeys fell out of a tree, it would be banished from its troop forever. I thought this meant it would have to go live with another family, but our guide explained that it wouldn’t be welcomed into another troop.

At sunset, we arrived at Volcán Arenal. The darkening light was perfect to see the glowing red and orange lava spurt from the volcano. My brother Jordan was especially transfixed; he gazed in bug-eyed awe at the molten lava streaming down the slope, a smile spreading across his face.

That whole afternoon is something I will never forget. I loved exploring everything nature has to offer, and learning new things about it. Though it was just one afternoon, it was a fun and engaging endeavor that rose above my expectations and let me experience the joys of nature.

Destinations: Costa Rica

Themes: Family Travel, Outdoor Adventures

Activities: Hiking

User Comments

Monkeys! I've been there! Great description of the jungle critters and the arrival to Arenal. It sure is breathtaking.

Wow, what an adventure What tour company took you through the jungle to see a volcano?!

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