The Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica are one of the top hanging bridges in the country and are undoubtedly included in the list of the best things to do in La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano region as a whole.
The Mistico Hanging Bridges are not only some of the best hanging bridges Costa Rica has to offer, but Mistico Park is also a natural sanctuary for the plethora of Costa Rican wildlife calling it home.
Walking amongst the rainforest at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is a must-do experience for every traveller to Costa Rica. With three different trails to follow and additional activities like canyoning, horseback riding and night walking, there is something for the whole family.
A short scenic drive from downtown La Fortuna Costa Rica, the hanging bridges of Arenal is a great half-day trip or as part of an epic full-day guided adventure combined with other top things to do like the La Fortuna Waterfall and the Tabacon Arenal hot springs.
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This detailed guide about the hanging bridges of Mistico Costa Rica will give you all the information you need to enjoy your excursion, including how to get there, the best tours, what to expect, what to bring and the best La Fortuna hotels for your visit to Costa Rica Hanging Bridges Arenal.
Mistico Hanging Bridges Quick Guide
LA FORTUNA CAR RENTAL
Check Prices of Costa Rica Car Rentals
*Best way to visit Mistico Hanging Bridges!
BEST COMBO HANGING BRIDGES TOURS
–Hanging Bridges, Waterfall + Volcano Hike
–Hanging Bridges, Waterfall, Volcano + Tabacon Hot Springs
About the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park
The Hanging Bridges of Arenal located 30 minutes outside of La Fortuna Costa Rica, started its history in the early 20th century. Inherited from one generation to the next, 600 acres made up a stunningly beautiful farm that was worked by the family at the base of Arenal Volcano.
Facing difficulties due to the remote location and strenuous access, the land was neglected for many years. Always appreciating that their land held so much biodiversity though, the family kept the land and rainforest intact to preserve the wildlife.
Come the 21st century, Mistico Park and the Arenal Hanging Bridges were formed to allow visitors a safe and comfortable place to witness the natural beauty of Costa Rica in a sustainable way. With many efforts made to preserve the ecological treasures of the land, Arenal park now contains six hanging bridges and ten stationary bridges throughout the property.
The Costa Rica bridge park is now a leading tourist destination.
Where are the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica?
The hanging bridges Costa Rica Arenal is located a 12.5 mile (20km) distance from downtown La Fortuna in the northern Alajuela Province.
Click on the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park map below to interact with Google Maps and find your ideal route to visit the hanging bridges La Fortuna, or read on about the best ways to get to Mistico Park Costa Rica.
Mistico Park Address:
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
How to Get to Mistico Park
By Rental Car
You can reach the La Fortuna Hanging Bridges of Arenal within a 30-minute drive by rental car. I like to reserve my car early through Discover Cars, because the last time I was in La Fortuna, all of the rental cars were sold out! So, make sure to book ahead. I like that Discover Cars compares local and international companies to find you the best deal.
Enter ‘Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges’ into Google Maps (or Waze) and you have yourself the best route to get there. Otherwise, follow Route 142 westward out of downtown La Fortuna for 11 miles then turn a sharp right at the boat ramp parking area. Follow the road for about a 6-minute drive and you will arrive at the hanging bridges Arenal Costa Rica.
TIP | You do not need a 4×4 vehicle to visit the Mistico Hanging Bridges Arenal as the entire roadway is paved.
If you don’t have a rental car, you can opt to take an official red taxi from the town centre to the entrance of the Mistico suspension bridges in Costa Rica. The cost will be roughly $25 USD one way. You can find the official taxi stand on the road in front of La Fortuna central park.
TIP | Make sure your driver turns on the taxi metre to properly track your trip. Otherwise, you may fall victim to overcharging.
Best Mistico Hanging Bridges
Costa Rica Tours
Alternatively, you can book a spot on a guided tour with a knowledgeable local guide and naturalist. You can choose to visit the Mistico Park hanging bridges as a stand-alone tour, which will include an optional hotel pick-up, park entrance fee and naturalist tour guide. This is a great option if you are short on time or aren’t interested in other La Fortuna attractions.
Or, you can opt for a top-rated and popular combination tour that will include a few hours spent at the Arenal Hanging Bridges Costa Rica, plus other top attractions like the La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal hot springs (like the luxurious Tabacon Hot Springs) and Arenal Volcano National Park.
Best Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Tour
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Guided Tour
Top Mistico Hanging Bridges Combination Tours
Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall + Volcano Hike
Hanging Bridges, Waterfall, Volcano + Tabacon Hot Springs
I recommend taking a guided tour through Mistico Park, as the naturalist will point out wildlife that you typically miss, like small snakes, frogs and birds. I used a naturalist guide on my trip to Mistico Hanging Bridges Costa Rica, and am very happy I did.
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Entrance Fee
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is best done as part of a guided tour, but if you do opt to visit the Mistico Hanging Bridges on your own, the self-guided entrance fees are broken down below.
Do note, that self-guided tours of Arenal hanging bridges Costa Rica are restricted to time slots to ensure the most enjoyable and serene experience for visitors. The time slots are every 30 minutes from 6AM – 7AM and then every 60 minutes from 7AM onward.
Self-Guided Mistico Hanging Bridges Entrance Fee Breakdown
*It’s always a good idea to double-check prices before visiting
- Adults – $29 USD
- 11-18 Years Old – $21 USD
- 65+ Years Old – $26 USD
- Under 10 Years Old – Free
Mistico Hanging Bridges Park
The Mistico Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica is open daily from 6AM-3:50PM (last entry).
Parking at the Mistico Arenal
Hanging Bridges Park
There is a large paved parking lot available at the visitors centre of Mistico Hanging Bridges Park. Make sure to arrive early to snag a spot, since Mistico Park is one of the top attractions in Costa Rica, the parking lot will fill up with tour buses, rental cars and vans.
Parking at Mistico Hanging Bridges is free.
Hanging Bridges La Fortuna Amenities
Established amenities are available at the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park due to its popularity as one of the top attractions in the country.
Just past the ticket booths, you will find the Restaurante La Roca Bistro offering panoramic views of Arenal Valley and Arenal Volcano (on a good day). You can dig into a delicious Costa Rican breakfast after your morning’s adventures or opt for lunch (like Casado or Patacones) or a western meal at your leisure throughout the day.
A great spot to relax and take in the views after your Arenal hanging bridges hike. The restaurant is open daily from 8AM – 4:30PM.
The visitors centre has a large bank of restrooms available to all guests to Mistico Park. Do note, that this will be your last opportunity to use the restroom before your tour of the hanging bridges of Arenal. A walk through the Mistico Hanging Bridges park usually takes 2-2.5 hours.
Yes, the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park has its very own accommodation called Sangregado Lodge. Located a few steps away from the Mistico hanging bridges, the lodge offers stunning views of Arenal Volcano from each room, plus a spacious balcony and modern furnishings.
A great base for your adventures around the Arenal Volcano region and La Fortuna town.
Check out this guide on the Best Hotels in La Fortuna
Best Time to Visit Mistico Park
Time of Year
You can visit Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park all year round. During the dry season of May – November, you will have a higher chance of seeing a view of Arenal Volcano as the season experiences a bit more sun, although La Fortuna weather is notoriously hard to predict.
In the rainy season of December-April, the weather in La Fortuna can be moody and humid (albeit it’s humid all year round, you are in the rainforest after all!), with the most chance of sun in the morning.
As you can likely see by looking at the photos on this post, I experienced a grey and moody morning on my visit to Mistico Arenal Bridges. This was in mid-February. The next day was sunny. You just never know!
Time of Day
The best time of day to visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica is in the morning when the park opens at 6AM or later in the afternoon. If you are not partaking in a popular combination tour, these times will be the quietest with the fewest tourists and when the wildlife is at its most active.
What to Expect at the Mistico Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica
Read on for a step-by-step guide to visiting the Mistico Park Arenal Hanging Bridges.
The Mistico Hanging Bridges Map
To orient you before your visit to the Mistico Hanging Bridges, I’ve provided a site map below for your viewing pleasure:
The Visitors Centre
Once you’ve parked your rental car in the large paved parking lot, you can make your way to the visitor centre. The large wooden building will have a few ticket booths available to purchase your self-guided tour of Mistico Hanging Bridges Arenal, or to present your guided tour ticket (if you haven’t opted for hotel pick-up).
Now that you have your ticket in hand, head to the viewpoint at the back of the visitor centre for a stunning look at Arenal Volcano (weather permitting). Here you will also find the bay of restrooms to the left and the restaurant off to the right.
Make sure to take a moment to use the restroom, as this will be your last opportunity before entering Mistico Park.
TIP | For families with young children, strollers are available for rent at the visitor centre
You will find the entrance to the main trail at Mistico hanging bridges in Costa Rica at the left of the visitor centre. There is a small booth made to look like a tree trunk where there will be park staff asking to see your ticket. This is where they control how many people can enter the Mistico hanging bridges at a time.
The Main Trail
The Main Trail is the longest trail available to hike in Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. It also encompasses the shorter Accessible Trail. The main trail is 2 miles (3.2km) in length.
Just past the entrance to Mistico Park, you will find the entrance to the Rufous Garden loop. This loop makes up a part of the accessible trail and features many species of flora and fauna. I witnessed a pack of coati having a nibble amongst the garden!
Along the trail, you can opt to detour onto the bird-watching trail that cuts through the main trail making your hike a bit shorter (1.9km), or you can hike the entirety of the main trail with an optional offshoot to visit the waterfall.
The main trail will take you over a total of 6 suspension bridges and 10 stationary bridges with the best view of Arenal Volcano running along the Arenal Bridge (formally Arenal View Bridge), which will be the first suspension bridge you cross.
It takes 2.5-3 hours to complete the main trail of Mistico Park with a guided tour, and 1.5-2 hours self-guided.
The Bird Watching Trail
For all of you avid bird enthusiasts, you can opt to hike the Bird Watching Trail. The entrance to the bird-watching trail is located after the first Arenal Bridge along the main trail so you will be sure to get a great view of Arenal Volcano before partaking in 30 minutes of bird watching.
The bird-watching trail has a shorter length than the main trail at 1.2 miles (1.9km), taking approximately 1 hour to hike. This means you will skip three suspension bridges before coming out onto the main trail just before the Pit-Viper Tunnel and the second to last hanging bridge called the Fer-de-lance Bridge. You can also choose to double-back onto the main trail and turn right towards the waterfall trail.
The highest concentration of bird species can be found along this trail, so if you really love bird-watching I’d suggest leaving yourself a little longer than an hour to complete.
The Waterfall Trail
The Waterfall Trail is an offshoot trail that leaves the main trail just before the Anthill Bridge. The Blue Morpho Waterfall can be found down a paved (yet, somewhat slippery!) path with a couple of sets of stairs. Then you will reach a viewing platform right at the waterfall. Make sure to take a look into the greenery around the viewing platform, a saw a cute salamander here!
Climb back up the path to bring yourself back onto the main trail to complete the hike at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges (one of the best hanging bridges Costa Rica has to offer!). The entire detour to the waterfall should take you no more than 15 minutes depending on your fitness level.
The Accessible Trail
What’s great about the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica is that it’s available for everyone! After entering the main trail with your admission ticket, you have already started on the accessible trail. Right after the entrance, you will find the entrance to the Rufous Garden loop which has a slightly inclining path initially but is still accessible.
Once you’ve admired all of the beautiful flora and fauna, make your way back to the main part of the accessible trail. The trail will always follow to the right and pass over six stationary bridges before the last suspension bridge (it has a solid construction), called the Tayra Bridge. The path is marked clearly by signage.
The Accessible Trail is 1 mile (1.5km) in length and takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. The trail is perfect for seniors and persons who are differently abled.
While visiting the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica, you will witness a plethora of Costa Rican wildlife. Mammals like the white-nosed coati are common with sloth sightings a bit rarer (make sure to look up!).
With the help of my naturalist guide, I spotted a pit viper hanging along the path in the greenery, and a number of frogs, like the gorgeous little blue jeans frog.
One of the most amazing bird sightings I had was a pair of motmots perched on a branch by the walkway. We spent a good 15 minutes just taking in their beauty.
Without a guide, I likely would have seen half of what I saw on my hike.
IMPORTANT | It is mandatory to wear closed-toe shoes when visiting the Arenal Hanging Bridges otherwise you will be required to sign a waiver. The precaution is put into place to deter the chance of wildlife biting
What to Bring to the Hanging Bridges of Arenal
When visiting the Mistico Hanging Bridges Costa Rica, there are a few important things to bring with you. Because you will be visiting the rainforest, it’s always a good idea to bring mosquito repellent and binoculars to see wildlife more clearly.
Otherwise, I love to carry my purifying reusable water bottle with me through all my travels.
Travel Insurance for La Fortuna
La Fortuna Costa Rica is known for adrenaline-packed adventures, and with that, comes the risk of fall, injury or accident. Don’t be left with huge hospital bills and protect yourself with the right travel insurance.
Travel insurance is one of those things I hope you never have to use. But in case you do, you’ll want reliable insurance on your side. Plus, it’s such a small cost for peace of mind. Please, don’t leave home without it!
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