Last Updated: February 23, 2023
If you are visiting La Fortuna to explore the jungle and see wildlife, hiking is a great way to do it. But you don’t necessarily have to venture deep into the rainforest or navigate tricky terrain. In this post, we will tell you about a flat easy hike near downtown La Fortuna. The Bogarin Trail is known for its great wildlife and beautiful surrounds. It is common to see sloths, birds, lizards, and frogs throughout the property. Here, we’ll share all the details you need to plan a visit.
The entrance is on a side street off the main road, Route 142. If you are heading west on Route 142 towards the volcano, the street is on your right just after La Forchetta Ristorante. It is on the same side road as Arenal Backpackers Resort.
The Bogarin Trail property has one main loop that is 2.5 km (1.5 miles) with some connecting trails that crisscross through. The trails are very flat, hard-packed dirt. They are well maintained and perfect for a stroller or even a wheelchair.
On the trails, you’ll find a few covered sitting areas to take a rest or get out of the rain in case it starts pouring. There are also a few small bridges that go over bubbling creeks.
What You’ll See
Even though the Bogarin Trail is located very close to the main part of La Fortuna, you wouldn’t know it when you are hiking. All around are lofty trees and beautiful tropical plants. You really feel like you are far from it all.
From the moment you pass the reception, you can start to see wildlife. A small pond and bird feeder right next to this area attract a lot of animals.
In the pond, our sons quickly spotted a giant freshwater crab. It was at least eight inches wide!
There was also a special ground bird called a Gray-necked Woodrail. These birds make a unique, loud call during the early morning hours. It was eating bugs on the muddy shore when we saw it.
If you have some extra time to walk around the reception, we would recommend it. This area has a lot of birds and animals coming and going. The owners also place fresh fruit on the birdfeeders to attract even more tropical bird species. There are lots of tanagers and sometimes Aracari, a small type of toucan.
If you are lucky, you also will see birds along the main trails. Some highlights for us were several Rufous-tailed Jacamar, a big family of Gray-headed Chachalacas, a couple of Laughing Falcons, and a sleeping Black and White Owl.
Near where the trail crosses the small streams, we also got to see some frogs. We could hear them chirping—they sort of sound like crickets. But when we followed the sounds, we saw that they were actually tiny poison-dart frogs.
They call this type the Blue Jean frog because they are mostly red with blue legs. It makes them look like they are wearing a pair of jeans. These frogs like the wet areas around the base of trees and fallen logs.
For mammals, we saw some squirrels in the trees and a cute agouti. This is a small rodent about the size of a bunny.
Later in the walk, we finally saw what we had really come to this trail for. Not only a sloth, but a mother sloth and her baby!
A few minutes later, we were lucky to see another sloth, which was higher up in the trees.
Tip: If you don’t have a lot of experience spotting wildlife in Costa Rica, we would highly recommend doing this tour with a guide. The guides know which trees to look in for sloths and other animals. They also can teach you a lot about them. Read our post about hiring naturalist guides to get a better idea of the value they can add.
Rainforest and Gardens
In addition to the amazing wildlife, the overall environment along the Bogarin Trail is really nice and peaceful. There are areas with shorter, thicker forest and other parts with tall shady canopy trees.
Some trees and bushes have interesting flowers or seed pods that fall to the forest floor. Our kids had lots of fun collecting these along with the occasional feather or two.
On the sides of the trails, there are flowering plants like heliconia and butterfly bushes.
We could hear hummingbirds zipping around some of these but didn’t get a good look at them. There were also lots of butterflies, going from flower to flower looking for nectar.
The sound of the rainforest is all around. From birds calling to insects and frogs chirping, and even just branches shifting in the wind.
One spot on the trail has a little offshoot that leads to a beautiful garden. This is right next to a large field. It has some more exotic flowers, but also a great view of Arenal Volcano (weather permitting) and Cerro Chato to the left.
Cerro Chato is a dormant volcano that has regrown vegetation and is now brimming with green.
The whole mountain profile is often referred to as the Sleeping Indian. Can you see the shape of a man lying down it in the picture below?
The Bogarin Trail is just one of the many hiking trails we have explored in La Fortuna, but it definitely makes the list of our favorites. We were astonished with the amount of wildlife we spotted less than a mile from the busy downtown. If you are visiting the area, we would highly recommend it.
Open every day, 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Guided tours are offered at 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.
Self-guided: 10,000 colones (about $18) per person. Children 3 and under are free. Costa Rica citizens and residents, 3,000 colones.
*Cash only. Credit cards are not accepted.
Guided Tour (2 hours): 27,000 colones (about $50) per person adults. 20,000 colones (about $35) per person children ages 3-12 and over. Children under 3 are free.
The Bogarin Trail is dirt, but flat and hard-packed so definitely possible in a wheelchair. They also have a ramp at the reception area.
Have a question about visiting the Bogarin Trail? Leave us a comment below.
Looking for more information to help you plan? Check out these articles:
La Fortuna: What to Expect from Costa Rica’s Most Popular Destination – Learn about the town setup, some great restaurants, and more with this destination guide.
Monteverde: A Forest in the Clouds – Heading to Monteverde after La Fortuna? Get the inside scoop with this post.
Arenal 1968 Trail – Looking for a bit more challenging hike? This trail explores the area around the base of Arenal Volcano. It’s easy to intermediate.