Mirador El Silencio
Mirador El Silencio information
Mirador El Silencio is a private 556-acre nature reserve with four hiking trails.
Every once in a while, perhaps lulled into a sense of false security by a temporary pause in the activity, someone tries to climb to the crater and peer within it. This is very dangerous – climbers have been killed and maimed by explosions. The problem is not so much that the climber gets killed (that’s a risk the foolhardy insist is their own decision) but rather that the lives of Costa Rican rescuers are placed at risk.
If you’re not staying at Arenal Observatory Lodge, it’s worth visiting as there are 6km of trails in total. A handful of short hikes include views of a nearby waterfall, while sturdy souls could check out recent lava flows (2½ hours), old lava flows (three hours) or the climb to Arenal’s dormant partner, Volcán Chato, whose crater holds an 1100m-high lake only 3km southeast of Volcán Arenal (four hours). For the best nighttime views, a guided hike is suggested. Maps and local English-speaking guides are available for these hikes. The lodge also has a 4.5km bike trail that winds through secondary forest, as well as a 1km sidewalk trail that is completely wheelchair-accessible.
Note that camping is not allowed inside the park, though people do camp (no facilities) off some of the unpaved roads west of the volcano by the shores of the lake.