600 Acres of Protected tropical forest now know as the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is family owned. All the land around the Arenal Volcano was once farmland with very little roads.
The private reserve protects the flora & fauna of Costa Rica with strict rules for their park. Many family members work at this park to ensure your hike is safe including crossing the bridges with only 15 people at a time. Fewer people on the bridge makes it more stable to walk and take photographs.
If you’re looking for a great experience to hike and see wildlife Mistico Hanging Bridges is the best place to go in Arenal.
Our Self-guided tour
Greeted with a warm welcome from one of the family members, he gracefully escorted us on the first part of the tour. Tadeo pointed out the Guava trees at the entrance of the trail. Love Guavas!
Close to the start of the trail is a station equipped with a nurse and health necessities if needed. I’m already impressed when the family-owned companies have great facilities for tourists.
The washrooms are located close to the reservation desk & restaurant with a section that is accessible for wheelchairs. Everything at this park is well laid out, clean, and the trails are well maintained.
Going early in the morning definitely has its benefits for bird lovers. We arrived for a 9:00 am self-guided tour which is a little late for bird watching.
We did see a small viper (snake) on one of the trees. This is why it’s so important to wear appropriate foot wear and stay on the paths.
Wheelchair accessible trails
One thing I love about Costa Rica is improvements towards accessible travel. You can reserve a scooter in advance to do the first part of the trail. On the map, you can follow the trail from 1 to 4, then 19-22 or if you can manage all the trails & bridges with a wheelchair the adventure is amazing.
Arenal Volcano view
One of the bridges has an impressive view of the magnificent Arenal Volcano. If you miss it hopefully you can catch it again under the Mistico arch. We waited just a bit to catch some amazing photos.
If it’s your first time in Costa Rica I do highly recommend hiring a guide. They do really make a difference in your experience on the trails, for instance, we would probably not spot the viper knapping on the tree trunk.
In case you don’t know your snakes here vipers have a V-shaped head and are really dangerous so please don’t touch or disturb them.
More about the most deadly snakes in Costa Rica which are Fer de Lance, Bushmaster, and Vipers.
Sal & Pinminenta Restaurant
Hours open from: 7:30am to 3:45 pm
We stopped in here after our tour for a quick bite to eat with views of the Arenal Volcano. You can open the window in-front for a better picture so don’t be shy!
If you love beer they have options from the local microbreweries of IPA’s and Stout.
Mistico entrance fees & hours
Hanging bridges: 6:15am to 3:50pm
Birding Tour: 6:00am (minimum age 10 years)
Night walk: 6:00pm (minimum age 10 years)
Mistico Natural History Walk: 8:00, 9:00, 10:00 am, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00 pm
Spider Monkey Canyon: 7:15, 9:15 am , 12:15pm
Horse Tour: 8:30, 11:00 am, 2:00 pm
Arenal Volcano Expedition 9:00am, 1:00 pm
Combined tours are available if you wish to spend more time here at the park. You can find more tour ideas here.
If you have more days in the country and want more adventure activities here are more ideas for your vacation.
Reservations are required to visit this facility. Something I learned as we would have liked to tour the hanging bridges the day before. However, lesson learned. We had a great day and loved the staff.
It can take up to 2.5 hours depending on the time you take to stop for photography and taking in the beautiful scenery. It also depends on what you see…. birds, sloths, and snakes, and of course the timing. In wildlife adventure, you are never guaranteed what you will see and when.
On the reserve Motmot, Trogons, toucans, and more than 350 species have been observed. So if you are really into birding than you should take the bird watching tour with a guide.
Waterproof coat or poncho is recommended for the rainy season, closed toe shoes for the trails that are flat and comfortable.
- insect repellent
- camera (depending on the species sometimes a flash should not be used)
- water bottle
- long pants (horseback tours)
- quick-dry clothing for canyon tours (change of clothes)
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