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Exploring Romania’s wild and vast Carpathian Mountains will be a unique and memorable experience for tourists who don’t know what to expect. Romania has a lot of potential for hiking, trekking, backpacking trips, mountain biking, climbing, and all things outdoors – even though it’s a less known destination for this. Which is exactly why you should consider visiting Romania for your next hiking vacation!

Boasting a wide variety of trails that wander through stunning natural landscapes, majestic peaks reaching 2,500m altitudes, dense woodlands, plenty of natural attractions, quaint little villages still unspoiled by the touch of the modern world and a rich wildlife population, Romania rightfully deserves the title Europe’s last wilderness reserve.

The Carpathian Mountains dominate the country’s relief and circle the famous region of Transylvania which is a popular destination for tourists all over the world. So for those of you who want to go hiking in Romania, explore the Carpathians and discover the wonders of Mother Nature – we’ve got you covered. In this article we’ll tell you about three places you can go hiking in Romania and how to plan your trip.

Hiking in Piatra Craiului Natural Park

Piatra Craiului Natural Park Romania - hiking trails for all experience levels

Piatra Craiului Natural Park – hiking trails for all experience levels

 

Rising at the eastern extremity of the Southern Carpathians, Romania’s Piatra Craiului mountains are a favourite among hikers and climbers. This range might not be the largest, nor the highest (the maximum altitude is reached at La Om Peak at 2,238m altitude) in Romania, but what really captivates hikers are the distinctively rigged limestone summits which are unlike any other mountains in the area. The unique crest scratches the sky like a natural barrier and magically draws hikers – and all eyes – to it. The mountains in Piatra Craiului also boast rich vegetation and animal life which is why it’s also a natural park.

There are plenty of trails in Piatra Craiului for all experience levels. They’re perfect for hiking day trips for medium experienced hikers or for family trips with kids. If you’re a beginner, the best option would be following the trail that takes you from Fântâna lui Botorog, all the way through the Zarnesti Gorges, with spectacular vertical walls bordering the valley (which are also popular for rock climbing), continues towards Cheia Pisicii, and ends at Valea Vlădușca. It’s a 6 hours trail in general, but it really depends on your pace and how many stops you make along the way.

You can also check out the trail that goes uphill to Curmatura Hut (the only accommodation in the mountains) also starting from Fântâna lui Botorog. The hike takes just under three hours and is available all year round. You’ll begin your ascension following the indicators on the left side of the fountain, through the forest, until you reach Poiana Zanoaga. Here’s where the path splits in two, and you’ll have to follow the yellow markings until you’ve finally reached Cabana Curmatura, a beautiful mountain chalet that also serves as a starting point for the trails going up the ridge of Piatra Craiului.

If you’re looking for more challenging trails towards the ridge or even to summit La Om Peak, these can be done in one-day hikes of approximately 8-10h starting from Pestera village. These hiking trails in Romania are recommended for experienced mountaineers able to sustain effort and a quick pace, and we would recommend hiring a hiking guide as it’s easy to get lost especially in the evening as it gets dark. Besides the challenge, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Rucar-Bran Corridor and Bucegi Mountains if the weather is on your side.

Hiking in Bucegi Mountains

Bucegi hiking in Romania's Southern Carpathian Mountain range

Bucegi hiking in Romania’s Southern Carpathian Mountain range

Hiking trips in Romania’s Bucegi mountains are also very popular due to the massif’s proximity to Bucharest and the existence of cable cars in Sinaia and Busteni taking people up to the plateau and offering a very easy start to any hiking trip. It’s a two-hour trip to Bucegi from the capital and less than an hour from Brasov by either car or by train.

But it’s not just accessibility that makes Bucegi Mountains such an appealing hiking destination in Romania. The striking glacial landforms such as Valea Morarului, Padina Crucii, or Tiganesti glacial lake, the famous natural rock formations Babele and The Sphinx, the breathtaking views from Omu Peak at 2,505m altitude and the numerous circuit trails contribute to its reputation as a favorite hiking destination in Romania.

The town of Busteni, located in Prahova Valley, marks the starting point for most hiking trails in Bucegi, Romania. The cable cars from Busteni or Sinaia will take you straight to the Bucegi plateau at 2,200m altitude. Once you’ve reached the plateau, you can continue your trip and visit well-known natural attractions such as The Sphinx and Babele rock formations, Bolboci Lake and Caraiman Cross where you’ll get superb views and, if lucky and the sky is clear, see the Black Sea 350 km away!

Heroes' Cross on Caraiman Peak with its spectacular view over the Carpathian Mountains

Heroes’ Cross on Caraiman Peak with its spectacular view over the Carpathian Mountains

Since Bucegi is quite a compact massif, you can cover multiple hiking trails on the same day. From Babele, you can easily reach Omu Peak after only a 3-hour hike one-way, or head towards Crucea Caraiman, following the red cross markings. Compared to some other treks in Romania, both of these hikes are very easy, even for inexperienced hikers, so you don’t need any special gear apart from adequate footwear and clothing.

One thing you should keep in mind when planning a hike in the Bucegi Mountains is the popularity of the mountain resorts at their base and the accessibility of the mountains which attracts many people who want to spend time in nature. This can often lead to traffic jams on the road, queues at the cable car, fully booked accommodations and a large number of tourists walking these trails on the plateau, especially during summer months in Romania. That’s why it’s best to plan your trip early on if you intend to stay overnight at one of the mounting cabins nearby.

Hiking in Apuseni Mountains

Trekking in the Apuseni Mountains in Romania

Trekking in the Apuseni Mountains in Romania

The Western Carpathians formation South – West of Cluj-Napoca are generally known as Apuseni Mountains although they contain many ranges and Apuseni Mountains and Natural Park is only a small part of it in the South. Nevertheless, these mountains have a special appeal for outdoor lovers being one of the most popular hiking destinations in Transylvania. The mountains have many natural attractions among which numerous caves (400, to be more precise) including glacial caves like Scarisoara Cave, karstic landscapes ideal for via ferrata and rock climbing, breathtaking waterfalls and beautiful picturesque valleys.

There are many scenic routes that you can wander on in Apuseni National Park, but also plenty of places to rest and relax. Given that the area is densely populated and quite well developed, there are many accommodation options to choose from in small villages like Marisel, Rachitele or Garda de Jos. Besides having an easy starting point for your hikes, you’ll get a feel of the local community by staying in traditional guesthouses, eating home-grown products and immersing yourself in Romanian culture and traditions.

Cetațile Ponorului in the Apuseni Mountains

Cetațile Ponorului in the Apuseni Mountains

Cetațile Ponorului, Lumea Pierdut, Padis Plateau or Cascada Bulbuci are just some of the famous natural attractions that you shouldn’t miss on your trip to Apuseni mountains. If you want to see all of them we recommend hiring a hiking guide who can also transfer you by car between areas as otherwise you would need 8-10 days to explore the entire region and see all these beautiful sights. Also, if you happen to reach Vladeasa massif, make sure to check out Pietrele Albe, a fascinating limestone complex situated near Rachitele village.

A Note About Safety when Hiking in Romania

Wherever you choose to go on your hiking or backpacking trip in Romania, make sure to be prepared and do your homework. Hiking infrastructure is not very well developed with few signs or maps in English and few accommodation options deep in the mountains. Also, Romania is home to the largest brown bear population in Europe and many other wildlife so if you’re planning to go hiking in Romania on your own, consider taking a pepper spray with you or hiring a guide who knows what to do in these unexpected encounters.

 

Pin The Best Hiking Destinations in Romania

Pin The Best Hiking Destinations in Romania

Are you ready to embark on the challenge of hiking the Appalachian Trail, or want to know how to prepare for hiking up Kilimanjaro? In this article, we will talk about fitness tips, gear recommendations and more information for how to train for a thru hike.

What Is Thru-Hiking?

Thru hiking is hiking an established long-distance trail end to end within one hiking season. The term thru hike can also be used more generally to refer to any hiking trip where you are carrying your own gear on your back for overnight trips. In comparison with camping, you’ll be using the power of your own legs to arrive at your destination, and often with a large backpack in tow.

On a thru hike, you will usually go for multiple nights in a row, and you will have to bring everything with you: your shelter, clothing, food, and cooking equipment.

Thru-hiking is an amazing experience. It will allow you to test your limits and challenge yourself in ways that might surprise you. You may be hiking for days or weeks on end, and you will need to stay focused. It is also important that you take the proper safety precautions and prepare yourself physically and mentally.

How to Physically Train for a Thru Hike

There are a few hiking fitness tips that can help you train for your thru hike. On a typical thru-hike, you’ll be hiking for at least 5 days in a row, so you will need to build up some stamina in order to get to the appropriate fitness level.

Focus on Overall Fitness

Taking part in various forms of aerobic fitness like cycling, swimming, running and group fitness classes will not only give you a solid aerobic base, but will also help you gain confidence and momentum as well.

Targeted Exercises to Train for A Thru Hike

In addition to overall physical fitness, there are certain muscle groups that you should train before embarking on a long hike. Large muscle groups like your quads, glutes, and core will need to be in tip-top shape to ensure you have the endurance and condition for your long hike. The most efficient way to train a muscle group is through resistance training, but luckily most of the reps can be done with minimal equipment.  The Thru Hikers Workout from REI gives some good exercises that can help you get in shape for your thru hike.

Start with Short Hikes

To start out, you should try going for shorter hikes in order to see if this is the hobby for you. Gradually add more and more distance until you work your way up to the typical distance covered on a thru-hike.

Hike with your Pack

Eventually, you’ll want to try hiking with a pack on in order to train your body for the extra weight. As much as you can, you should simulate the true conditions for your hike, which means either hiking with your full pack of gear, or adding weights to your pack.

Prepare for diverse scenarios

You should also practice hiking in different weather conditions to test out your gear and your pack set-up. You want to make sure that you’re prepared for the worst case scenario, so try hiking when it’s raining or snowing. If your pack starts getting wet, take out everything and stuff it into dry bags (waterproof bags). Practice what you would do if you get caught in a sudden rain storm, or if the weather suddenly becomes much colder.

Safety Precautions for Thru Hiking

There are certain safety precautions you should take when thru hiking. You should always have an emergency first aid kit with you. You should tell someone where your hiking trail is, and when to expect you back.

The Best Gear for Thru Hiking

Part of how to train for a thru hike means preparing your gear ahead of time. Make sure you have all of the hiking essentials so that you are safe on the trail, and so that your hiking experience is enjoyable.

When thru hiking, you will need to be hyper-focused on keeping your pack ultralight. Every tiny ounce adds up over time. With the right hiking gear, you will be able to hike further each day with miniml physical discomfort.

Here is a list of some of the most essential gear for a thru hike, but the specific gear will depend largely on which trail you are hiking and which weather you may be faced with.

  • The right hiking boots – be sure to take a few long hikes in them beforehand to break them in
  • A hiking backpacking – Your pack will become like an extension of your body, and choosing the right pack is one of the most crucial decisions during trip preparation.
  • Ultralight backpacking tent
  • Ultralight sleeping bag
  • Ultralight cooking gear
  • Water purification tablets or a water filter
  • Safety equipment like a knife and a first aid kit
  • Trekking poles – Even with the best training, trekking poles are essential on thru hikes. They can help save your hips and back from unnecessary aches and pains. Trekking poles are said to take 25% of the strain off of your knees, which means you will be able to go further distances with minimal physical discomfort. They might also be critical if you will be crossing streams or treacherous terrain.

The Best Thru Hikes in the World

You have probably heard of the famous PCT and Appalachian Trail thru hikes, but there are plenty of established thru hikes found all over the world. Each of these hikes come with their own particular characteristics, so the packing and training will vary slightly for each thru hike.

Here are the most famous thru hikes from around the world:

  • The Appalachian Trail (United States) Distance: 3,510 kilometers (2,180 miles)
  • The Pacific Crest Trail (United States) Distance 4,265 kilometers (2,650 miles)
  • The South West Coast Path (UK) Distance: 1,016 kilometers (630 miles)
  • Te Araroa (New Zealand) Distance: 3,000 kilometers (1,864 miles)
  • Continental Divide Trail (United States) Distance: 4,990 kilometers (3,100 miles)
  • Grand Italian Trail, Sentiero Italia (Italy)Distance: 6,166 kilometers (3,830 miles)
  • Great Himalayan Trail (Nepal) Distance: 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles)
  • Hokkaido Nature Trail (Japan) Distance: 4,585 kilometers (2,849 miles)
  • Trans Panama Trail (Panama) Distance: 800 kilometers (497 miles)
  • Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail United States) Distance: 1931 kilometers (1,200 miles)

These are all high on the list for avid thru-hikers. If you don’t have a ton of spare time to do one of these thru hikes in a full season, some people choose to do portions of the trail a little bit at a time. Over a few years, you will be able to complete the entire thru-hike.


We hope you are equipped with the knowledge you need in order to train for your next thru hiking adventure. Covering vast distances on your own two legs with everything you need on your back is an incredibly rewarding experience. Enjoy!

 

How to Train for a Thru Hike

Pin How to Train for a Thru Hike

Sometimes walking is the best way to see the world. If you’re road-tripping across Europe and want to make the most of your time away, exploring each country on foot is a great way to make the best memories before you return – including the beautiful country of Iceland. This article covers everything you need to know about exploring Iceland on foot, including the country’s dramatic landscape, and some of the best hikes in Iceland.

Visiting Iceland

With 24 hours of light in Summer and the chance to see the Northern Lights in the Fall, Iceland is a Nordic island nation known for its dramatic landscape of hot springs, volcanos, geysers and lava fields. It’s a must-do stop for anyone travelling across Europe, and while it’s possible to explore Iceland by car, walking tours offer the chance to truly take in Iceland’s breathtaking scenery.

Iceland’s Geology

The landscape of Iceland has been shaped by dramatic forces over the past 30 million years, including active plate tectonics, volcanoes, and glacial movement. However, since Iceland itself is less than 33 million years old, scientists still define it as a geologically young island!

Iceland is one of the only places in the world that has an exposed divergent plate boundary at the earth’s surface, and with 33 active volcanoes, the vast majority of the earth’s volcanic features can be seen on an island roughly the same size as Kentucky…

The Three Best Hikes in Iceland

Iceland utterly changes when you explore it on foot. Only you and your fellow hikers will truly understand the landscapes of this beautiful island that are usually hidden beyond the highway and other tourist routes. Here are some of the best hikes in Iceland:

The Laugavegur Trek

Exploring the Landmannalaugar highlands in Iceland on the Laugavegur Trek

Exploring the Landmannalaugar highlands on one of the best hikes in Iceland on the Laugavegur Trek

This is Iceland’s most famous hiking trail that leads intrepid explorers through black lava fields, colorful rhyolite mountains, black deserts and steaming hot springs – there’s a reason Laugavegur translates as the “Hot Spring Route” in English!

The Fimmvörduháls Trek

Thórsmörk, the grand finale of the Fimmvörduháls Trek

Thórsmörk, the grand finale of the Fimmvörduháls Trek

The Fimmvörduháls hike is Iceland’s second most famous hiking trail and leads you along the river up into the mountains, going through breathtaking waterfalls and a thrilling canyon that is up there with one of the best gorges in Iceland.

The Kjölur Route

The old-fashioned way of crossing the Icelandic highlands

The old-fashioned way of crossing the Icelandic highlands

Also known as Kjalvegur or the “Haunted Highway,” the Kjölur Trek leads between two glaciers into the very heart of the Icelandic Highlands. Going way back, people used horses to cross the Highlands, and ever since the Vikings first settled down in Iceland there has been a route connecting Northern Iceland, and the South. Compared to the other two routes mentioned, this hiking trek is known to be more challenging. However, with the right equipment and a good amount of hiking experience, it’s well worth doing.


Don’t miss your chance to see some of Europe’s most beautiful scenery by embarking on one of the best hikes in Iceland. Iceland offers some of the most unforgettable landscapes, and by exploring the country on foot, you can discover some of this Nordic island’s most sensational hidden gems.

If you are looking for a grand adventure, then a well-planned backpacking trip is the best way to find it because there is nothing quite like taking the long trail up a mountainside or through a gorgeous forest. However, while it may seem easy to just buy a backpack and start walking, there are many considerations and things you must do to prepare for a backpacking trip.

We are here to help. Whether you are an experienced hiker or you are just starting out, we have some great tips and pieces of advice that can be lifesavers during your next backpacking trip.

Choosing the Right Backpacking Gear

When starting to prepare for your a backpacking trip, then you will want to take some time to get your body and mind in tip-top shape so you don’t get out there to find out that you weren’t truly prepared.

For starters, you will need to choose the right backpack. If you are planning a long hike, then you will need to buy a pack that has all of the essential elements, including a top-loading design, extra pockets, and a water bladder pocket so you can always stay hydrated. Try on different packs and make sure that it is comfortable because you’ll have it on your back for long periods of time. 

As part of your training, you will want to find and purchase shoes or boots that are comfortable and durable enough to last throughout your adventure without falling apart or hurting your feet.

When shopping for boots, make sure to try them on before you buy. You’ll want to find boots that are snug around your entire foot but not too tight, and you should have a little bit of wiggle room for your toes.

You do not want them to be loose, or they could end up hurting your feet. Once you find what you need, wear them during your training.

Physically Preparing for Your Backpacking Trip

Next, you will need to get in shape and prepare your body for the long journey backpacking. You are going to want to practice by walking a lot in the months and/or weeks leading up to your hike.

You will want to aim for at least 10,000 steps a day. Once you get used to the motion, you’ll need to kick it up a notch by walking up and down hills or stairs so you can get your body used to that movement. As a final step, add weight to your backpack and walk with it a lot until you build up your muscles.

Basic First Aid for Your Backpacking Trip

It is important for both new backpackers and seasoned pros to brush up on the common risks and dangers that can occur out on the trail because if you are always prepared and you understand the potential dangers, then backpacking can be a very peaceful endeavor.

For starters, you never know when someone will trip or get hurt in some way, so it is essential to be protective and pack a first aid kit. Your kit should include basic hiking materials, such as gauze, bandages, sanitizer, and sunscreen, along with any necessary medications.

A common threat that can become a reality during a hike is the potential of ticks and other pests. It is important to know how to combat and prevent ticks, which includes wearing long pants, using insect repellant, always staying on the designated trail, and avoiding walking through long grass whenever possible.

Make it a point to stop at regular durations throughout your hike to check for ticks. Always look at the common hiding places, such as the back of the knees, between your legs, and around your waist. 

You will want to have a pair of tweezers in your first aid kit, and if you find a tick, use them to pull the head of the pest upward using even pressure. Once you are sure it is removed, clean the area with antiseptic.

Mapping Out Your Plan Ahead of Time

It is also a wise idea to research the trail ahead of time, so you don’t run the risk of getting lost or becoming stressed. If information is available, then get a general idea of the course that your trail will take and always follow all posted signage. Make sure that your phone is fully charged, and bring an extra charger so you can call for help if necessary.

Packing the Right Food to Optimize Nutrition

How you fuel your body before and during the adventure is an incredibly important part of preparing for your backpacking trip, so you have the physical strength to get through your journey. As you prepare for a backpacking trip, make an effort to change your diet and avoid the fast foods and overly sugary treats that can hinder your body and prevent you from enduring extensive periods of activity. 

Continue this diet up until the day of the hike. In the morning, make sure that you have a smart and solid breakfast. This is truly the most important meal of the day because by including fruit, dairy, and whole grains, you get the essential nutrients that your body needs, which helps to control your blood sugar levels, manage your weight, and most importantly, provide a natural energy boost to keep you going during the hike. You should bring other nutritious snacks like granola and trail mix so you can stay nourished and energized until the end.

Of course, you also need to drink plenty of water during your expedition. By staying hydrated, you replace the fluids that you flush out by sweating, and drinking water also helps you to stay alert. As a general rule, try to drink a half-liter of water for every hour of walking in moderate temperatures. 

As you can see, there is a lot to consider before you head up the trail during your next backpacking expedition. Follow the guidance provided here, and you will stay in great shape during your next adventure.

Living La Vida Loca? Sorry, Ricky Martin, it’s all about the Pura Vida (“Pure Life”) in Costa Rica. And the best way to experience this is by visiting the multitude of national parks — 28 in total. And, because the country’s so small, it’s easy to visit many of them in a short trip. So, let’s dive into the best hikes in Costa Rica for your next visit.

The Catarata del Toro Waterfall Hike

 

Catarata del Toro Waterfall cascading into a volcanic crater - hiking in costa rica

Catarata del Toro Waterfall cascades into a volcanic crater

About two hours outside San Jose is a towering waterfall you won’t want to miss.

As you hike, tropical rainforests engulf you like a pig-in-a-blanket. There are a few viewpoints you’ll pass before arriving at the waterfall. Snap some pictures along the way before you descend to the waterfall itself. 

If you were thinking this was an ordinary waterfall, you’d be wrong. This waterfall is an astounding 270 feet high, and it sits inside the crater of a now-extinct volcano. The impressive waterfall alone makes this one of the best hikes in Costa Rica.

Because this waterfall isn’t as visited as other sights, you’ll experience wildlife living undisturbed by civilization. Hummingbirds, butterflies, and more zip from tree to tree as you wander the trail.

So, take your time and enjoy the experience; it’s sure to be good.

Hike Details

Length: 1 mile

Difficulty: Easy

Getting to the trail: The start of the hike is located between San Jose and La Fortuna. Two hours driving from San Jose, this trail is easily accessed for anyone staying in the capital. The closest town is Bajas del Toro, which is a good starting point. You can find the start of the trail on Google Maps here.

Rio Celeste Hike

The other-worldly colors of the Rio Celeste - one of the best hikes in Costa Rica

The other-worldly colors of the Rio Celeste – one of the best hikes in Costa Rica

Timing is essential to this hike. It’s straightforward, and signs are posted to help you stay on the trail. But, to experience the magic of what makes this one of the best hikes in Costa Rica, you’ll want to visit during the dry season — from December to April.

Why go during this time?

When it rains, mud mixes into the water and turns it a dark brown. But, when it’s a clear day, the water turns to Cool Blue Gatorade, and it’s beautiful.

Whether you get to catch the blue waters or not, the hike itself is full of flora and fauna for you to observe. Snakes, birds, and rare plants litter this hike, so keep your eyes peeled for any animals or plants who may be hiding just out of view.

Hike Details

Length: 4 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Getting to the trail: Rio Celeste is located inside Tenorio Volcano National Park. The closest town is Bijagua de Upala. However, trips can be arranged from La Fortuna, a more popular option for visitors to Costa Rica. La Fortuna is 29 miles from the national park.

You can find the start of the trail on Google Maps here.

La Leona Madrigal Trail

Parque Nacional Corcovado - one of the best hikes in Costa Rica to experience wildlife

Parque Nacional Corcovado – one of the best hikes in Costa Rica to experience wildlife

National Geographic labeled Corcovado National Park as the most biologically intense place on the planet. And it contains a plethora of hiking options. 

So, you’re sure to have a close-up experience with various wildlife, making this one of the best places to go hiking in Costa Rica.

What type of wildlife exactly? Tapirs, monkeys, jaguars, and eagles are some animals you’re sure to see on your hike.

I recommend the La Leona Madrigal Trail if you’re looking for a hike that will give you a dose of all that this park has to offer.

This out-and-back trail will take you along the coast, where you can enjoy the stunning beaches of Costa Rica. But that’s not all. It also takes you inland to the jungles, so you can live out your inner Indiana Jones.

You can book overnight stays in the park, which will give you an immersive experience in the wild. Or, you can stay in one of the nearby towns for easy access. The closest towns are Puerto Jimenez and Drake Bay.

Hike Details

Length: 6 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

Getting to the trail: The trail begins between Carate Mixeo Wildlife Refuge and Playa Madrigal, located on the southern end of Corcovado National Park. You can follow National Route 245 to easily access the area.

You can find the trail start on Google Maps here.

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges

One of the many hanging bridges on the trail in Arenal

One of the many hanging bridges on the trail in Arenal

The area around Arenal is known for it’s many hiking options. A shorter hike near the Arenal Volcano offers a more accessible way to experience the cloud forest. But that doesn’t mean it’s not still full of novelty and intrigue.

The Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges hike consists of 15 total bridges, six of which are hanging. As you navigate the forest, you’ll get fantastic views of the volcano and the occasional visit from monkeys, birds, and other wildlife.

This hike would be excellent to pair with another hike near the Arenal Volcano — which are plentiful.

I’d recommend the Los Tucanes hike, a 2.5-mile hike across hanging bridges and lava fields. Wildlife fills Arenal National Park, so you’ll encounter unique animals on this hike.

Hike Details

Length: 2 miles

Difficulty: Easy

Getting to the trail: Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is located on the northern side of Arenal Volcano. From La Fortuna, it’s about a 30-minute drive via Route 142. The park contains a large parking lot, so renting a car is an excellent option.

You can find the start on Google Maps here.

Cerro Chirripo

View of San Gerardo de Rivas and Cerro Chirripó National Park in the background

View of San Gerardo de Rivas and Cerro Chirripó National Park in the background

Up for a more significant challenge? How about climbing to the top of the tallest mountain when hiking in Costa Rica?

This one isn’t for the faint-hearted, as it’s over 12 miles one way. That doesn’t sound bad until you add over 7,000 feet of elevation gain. Yeah, this one is going to challenge you.

But, you don’t have to do it all in one day. Most people choose to do a two or three-day option. Three miles away from the summit, most hikers will stay at the Crestones Base Camp lodge.

Once you reach the top, though, you’re greeted with views out over Costa Rica — from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean on each side. It is easy to see what makes this one of the best hikes in Costa Rica – especially for experienced backpackers who are looking to get off the beaten path.

Hike Details

Length: 24 miles (round trip)

Difficulty: Difficult

Getting to the trail: To get to the beginning of the trail, you will start in the nearby town of San Gerardo de Rivas. Booking a stay in this small town is an excellent option so you can have easy access at the beginning and end of your hike. From there, it’s a short drive to the park entrance.

You can find the start on Google Maps here.

Best Hikes in Costa Rica – Final Thoughts

Costa Rica doesn’t see almost two million tourists a year because it lacks options. In fact, around 80% of its visitors come to experience the staggering amount of ecology on offer.

And there’s no better way to experience that ecological beauty than hitting the trails and leaving civilization behind.

You’re equipped to do exactly that on your next visit with this guide to the best hikes in Costa Rica. Now go get a taste of that Pura Vida!