Essential Tips for Visiting the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

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When we were looking at including some Costa Rica hanging bridges in our Costa Rica itinerary, I knew right away that the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park was at the top of our list.  

The Mistico Hanging Bridges were one of the highlights of our trip to Costa Rica.  Costa Rica is a country full of bucket list hikes and amazing adventure activities.  Sometimes, it seems like things to do in Costa Rica with toddlers are not as easy to find.

These are easily accessible just outside of the town of La Fortuna Costa Rica and the Arenal Volcano (an area that many people include in their Costa Rica itinerary).

The Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is easily accessible by hikers of all abilities, including toddlers.  Crossing the suspension bridges gave us all a thrill, and a birds eye view into the rainforest canopy.

When you are done reading about these amazing hanging bridges in Costa Rica, here are some more great pieces I wrote after our family trip to Costa Rica!

How to Get to Mistico Hanging Bridges Park

Getting to Mistico Park Costa Rica from La Fortuna is a simple thing.  If you have your own vehicle, the park is approximately 30 minutes from downtown La Fortuna.  Head west on 142 until you cross the dam across Lake Arenal.  You will make a right hand turn just after crossing the dam and follow the signs to the park.

We did not have a car, so we chose to book the transportation provided by the park.  We booked on their website as a part of our tour.

There are not any regular, local buses that head to Mistico Park Costa Rica.  A taxi fare is approximately $20-$25 each way.  There are many tour operators that will combine the tour and transportation together.  This is often a more budget friendly option if you don’t have your own vehicle.

How Much is the Mistico Hanging Bridges Entrance Fee?

Here is the Mistico Hanging Bridges entrance fees (as of 2024):

  • Adults: $32
  • 11-18 years old: $21
  • $65 and over: $26
  • 6-10 years old:  Free

There are a couple options that you can add to your Mistico Hanging Bridges Entrance Fee:  

  • Lunch:  $19/person
  • Transportation from La Fortuna: $26/person

You can also book a tour to see the park.  We highly suggest this option (for reasons detailed further down). The tour costs below include the entrance fees, so this is really a great value:

  • Adults: $48
  • 11-18 years old: $36
  • 65 and over: $42
  • 6-10 years: $18

What Options are There for Hanging Bridges La Fortuna

There are currently two options for those looking for the iconic Costa Rica hanging bridges experience while visiting Arenal/La Fortuna: Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park and Sky Adventures.

We did not visit Sky Adventures on our trip, so I can’t comment directly on their offerings.  A little poking around on the internet shows me that the admission prices to visit the hanging bridges there are a little more expensive. 

Sky Adventures does offer some other adventure experiences (a zipline, and aerial tram and an adventure course) so if you are also looking to do some of these things on your Costa Rica vacation, you might consider a visit here instead. 

Our Arenal Hanging Bridges Hike

A photo of a hanging bridge at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park in Costas Rica.  The bridge is made of metal, with vertical wires supporting it, and it is surrounded by trees and jungle.
A sloth hanging upside down on a tree branch, seen at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

Our hike through the Mistico Hanging Bridges Park was one of the highlights of our amazing trip to Costa Rica!  The park consists of a series of 16 bridges.  Six of them hanging suspension bridges as high as 150 feet in the air!  The bridges are connected by two miles of smooth, well-maintained trails.

During our hike, we saw a huge variety of wildlife. We saw many species of birds, colonies of sleeping bats, a HUGE spider, families of coati, and leaf cutter ants (which my daughter was just fascinated with.)

The true highlight of our animal experiences during our Arenal hanging bridges hike was seeing a mother sloth up in a tree with a baby clinging on to her.  My son had been hoping to see a sloth for the entire trip after reading a book about sloths before we left.   This was for him the highlight of the whole trip!

The bridges themselves were amazing, and crossing them gave us a really unique perspective of the rainforest canopy.  They did wiggle a little bit when we crossed, but we felt very safe at all times.   The park is very careful about how many people are on the bridges at one time.  There was also a monitor at the beginning of each bridge to make sure, and all of the bridges looked to be strong and in good repair.

A photo from above the rainforest canopy, taken from one of the higher hanging bridges at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park.   There is a tall, moss covered tree on the left hand side of the image, and there is mist hanging in the air.
The wide trails at mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park.  The photo shows a wide, paves tril through the rainforest that splits and divides into two.  There is a wooden railing on the left side made from tree branches.
A photo of us and our two kids in front of a waterfall at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges park (it was one of those magical family photos where everyone was looking and smiling).

We also saw a beautiful waterfall during our hike, which was a great opportunity to stop and take this amazing family photo!

A couple of notes about the Arenal hanging bridges hike:

  • The park is located in a rain forest, which means that there is a better chance that it will be raining than not.  It was raining on the day that we went and it was still beautiful.  The forest and clouds were sometimes covered in fog and mist and it made them beautiful and mysterious looking.
  • Bring a rain coat.
  • Plan on wearing proper footwear.  While the trails are generally not bumpy, parts CAN be steep and slippery, particularly if it is raining.



Why You Should ABSOLUTELY Book A Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Tour

You might be looking at all of the options for Arenal tours, wondering where your vacation funds will give you the biggest return on investment.   An Arenal hanging bridges tour should be on the top of your list.

Yes, you CAN visit the Mistico park Costa Rica on your own and explore the bridges.  You MIGHT see some animals during your hike, but I guarantee that you will not see the huge variety of animals that we did.

A photo of a brown snake on a tree at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park.  The snake is camouflaged and is relatively hard to see, even close up.
We wouldn’t have seen this guy without a guide (heck – I had trouble seeing him even WITH the guide pointing him out to me!)
A large, hairy spider inside of a large, rolled up leaf at Mistico Hanging Bridges Park.  We would not have been able to see him if not for our tour guide pointing him out.
Another rain forest encounter that we probably wouldn’t have had without our guide.

Our guide for our Mistico hanging bridges tour was AMAZING!  His trained eyes picked out many animals in the trees and in other hidden spots that we NEVER would have found on our own.  When he found an animal, he set up a telescope focused on the animal so we could look and get a close-up view.  This was especially exciting for the kids because they couldn’t always see them otherwise.

For the most part, the animals were not readily viewable right on the side of the trail.  Our guide was constantly working hard to find as many animals as he could for us to see and learn about.  This allowed us the freedom to enjoy the experience instead of trying to look for animals that we probably wouldn’t have found anyways.

My initial reaction after reading many reviews on Tripadvisor for visiting various Arenal hanging bridges was that the folks who had hired a guide all had AMAZING experiences.   Those that did not were less enthusiastic. After having our own amazing experience, I can tell you that hiring a guide made a WORLD of difference for us.

We booked our tour directly through the Mistico Hanging Bridges Park website. We loved the experience. They picked us up at our hotel and brought us back, reliably on time. There are many tour operators who offer this tour, and the benefit of booking one of these is that they are offered in combination with other tours, which can be a great value.

The cost was not huge in relation to the enhanced experience that having a guide provided.  If you are going to take the time to visit, we highly recommend taking a tour (especially if you have kids) because you will get so much more out of the whole experience.

We booked our tour directly through the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park website, but there are many tour operators who offer this tour.  They picked us up at our hotel and brought us back, reliably on time.

The cost for the tour was not huge in relation to the enhanced experience that having a guide provided. We really felt like the tour was essential, and actually a really good value.  If you are going to take the time to visit, we highly recommend taking a tour (especially if you have kids) because you will get so much more out of the whole experience.

Other Options for Arenal Hanging Bridges Tours

If you are looking for more value from your vacation, combining tours into packages can save you money and simplify your travel planning experience.

Here are some other options for tours that include seeing the hanging bridges Arenal Costa Rica with other popular activities in the area (the links below connect you with our preferred tour operator…we have a great relationship with them, and we know that they have great service and will take great care of you):

Hanging Bridges + Waterfall Hike + Lunch + Volcano + Baldí

This is a great tour to book if you only have a short time to spend in the area. It links together the most popular activities with transportation so you can see it all in one day!

  • The most complete way to experience Arenal in just 1 day
  • Experience Hanging bridges through the forest
  • Visit waterfalls, and the Arenal volcano with included meals

Pure Trek Canyoning & Hanging Bridges

If you are seeking adrenaline, this is the tour for you!

  • Visit Mistico Hanging Bridges, a beautiful hanging bridges park
  • See stunning views of the surrounding mountains and the Arenal Volcano
  • Exciting short drive up to the canyon ranch on a 4×4 trucks
  • Enjoy waterfall rappelling, rock climbing, and the Monkey drop rappel (rappel and zip line combo)

Hanging Bridges and Rafting Adventure

This is an exciting tour if you want to see the rainforest from two different vantage points, from the trees and from the water. This is a great tour for families, as the rafting is pretty mild.

  • See the beauty of the Tropical Rainforest from a spectacular vantage point, above the trees!
  • See leaf cutter ants, wild boars, vipers, tarantulas, poisonous dart frog and more
  • Enjoy one of the best rafting experiences you can have in Costa Rica
  • Rafting adventure on class II & III river
  • Spot some birds, monkeys or maybe even a sloth along the route
  • Enjoy a refreshing swim or jump off the river banks to cool off

Need Some Professional Help?

Are you planning a trip to Costa Rica, but you have some questions or feel like you need some professional guidance to get everything pulled together? This travel agency is our preferred partner. We know they will take great care of you and can plan any trip that you can imagine!

The Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is one of the top things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica.  Our Arenal hanging bridges tour was a highlight of an already amazing trip.  Our kids LOVED the experience of being able see so many animals, cross fun hanging bridges and to get a first-hand view of the rain forest canopy!

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