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Heliconia Trail/Coladas Trail

Arenal Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

Volcan Arenal, one of the most active volcanoes in the Americas, is the centerpiece of Parque National Volcan Arenal and the park has some good trails that afford excellent views of Arenal and the park’s flora and fauna. Upon entering the park, we drove to the View Point, where you can gaze up at the conical masterpiece—so close to the vantage point that you feel like you could reach out and touch it. Satisfied with our proximity to the volcano, we drove back to Parking Lot 1 eager to begin our hiking exploration of the park—the trailhead for the 1 Km (0.6 mile) Heliconia Trail begins at the lot near the restrooms. We set out for the trail and instantly sighted some wildlife—flitting about in the trees near the trailhead were several White-throated magpie jays and a colorful Montezuma oropendola. The remainder of the walk along the Heliconia Trail was uneventful, allowing us to enjoy the vegetation that colonized the area after the 1968 eruptions—the Heliconia Trail ends at the road and then on the other side the 2 Km (1.25 mile) Colodas Trail begins. The topography of the trail is mostly flat, traversing sand and ash expelled by old eruptions, until reaching a staircase that leads to the jagged lava rocks near the end of the trail. All along the trail, there are incredible views of the massive volcanic cone of Arenal, in fact, you can hear the rumbling and witness huge bus-sized boulders expelling from the crater! We took our time enjoying the views of the volcano, the terrestrial orchids that miraculously grow amid the lava rocks, and the unnerving activity of the crater before retracing our steps back to the car. On our return journey, we caught a glimpse of several great crested currasows foraging in the underbrush, and a bright green spiny lizard basking in a trailside tree—a diverse amount of wildlife and amazing views for a roundtrip hike of only 4 miles.


 
 
 
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