The Best Arenal Hanging Bridges near La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Hanging bridge tours in Costa Rica are among the top-rated experiences in the small Central American country. There are several places in Costa Rica where you can walk through the canopy of the rainforest and even directly into the clouds at times on a suspension bridge that extends across the jungle.

The Arenal Rainforest is one of the best places in Costa Rica to do just that. An Arenal hanging bridges tour is an incredible experience where you will feel completely immersed in nature.

A unique adventure, walking on the hanging bridges near La Fortuna, Costa Rica lets you explore the tropical landscape by foot, while taking you directly into the canopy of the rainforest.

One of the hanging bridges in Arenal Costa Rica
Costa Rica is known for its hanging bridges through the rainforests around Arenal and Monteverde.

With more than 60 percent of the wildlife in Costa Rica living in the upper canopy of the trees, a hanging bridge hike gives you a fascinating perspective of the rainforest that you simply cannot get from the ground.

That is why it is a must-do on any traveler’s Costa Rica itinerary!

There are two primary tour operators near La Fortuna that offer Arenal hanging bridges experiences – Sky Adventures and Mistico Park. 

In this guide to the best Arenal Hanging Bridge tours – we compare the Sky Adventures Skywalk vs. Mistico Hanging Bridges tours.

a graphic comparing the skywalk vs mistico hanging bridges
Here is a side by side comparison of the Skywalk vs Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges

SkyWalk Arenal hanging bridges tour: Facts and Information

Situated outside the town of La Fortuna, near the Arenal Volcano National Park, this guided hiking tour takes you through the Costa Rican rain forest and across five bridges.

At least a couple of the bridges are long, suspension bridges high in the treetops of the rain forest’s canopy.

At a Glance: Arenal Hanging Bridge Tour at Sky Adventures at Arenal Park

  • Original hanging bridge tour in Costa Rica
  • Distance: 2.5 – 3 Miles (4 km)
  • Number of Bridges: 5
  • Longest Bridge: 774 feet (236 meters)
  • Highest Bridge: 230 feet (70 meters)
  • Other activities offered: ziplining, aerial tram, adventure course

The Arenal hanging bridge hike at Sky Adventures is approximately two and half to three miles long. This world famous SkyWalk was the first hanging bridge tour in Costa Rica.

While the hike isn’t extremely strenuous, it does require a reasonable level of fitness. The hike will take you up and down stairs on a defined but rocky and uneven path through the jungle.

Standing one side of the suspension bridge in Costa Rica
Stopping for a photo along the Skywalk Arenal Hanging Bridges tour.

The tour is best known for the widely photographed hanging bridges, however, only a small portion of that 3-mile long trek actually takes place on one of the suspension bridges.

Throughout the hike, you will cross a total of five bridges. The path also takes you by several lovely waterfalls where you can stop for photos or simply to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.

The knowledgeable, multilingual guides will stop along the route to share intriguing facts or to point out distinctive flora and fauna. You may even cross paths with some of the native animals in Costa Rica, like Toucans, snakes, and sloths.

If visiting Costa Rica with kids, a hanging bridge tour can be a highly educational experience where they can learn about the rainforest, its plants, animals and the need for conservation.

About the hanging bridges along the Sky Walk at Arenal Park

looking across a suspension bridge on the Skywalk hanging bridges near la fortuna
Looking across one of the smaller suspension hanging bridges at Arenal Park

Arenal Park includes five bridges, three of which are longer suspension bridges that extend into the rainforest canopy high up in the air.

The highest bridge is approximately 230 feet above the ground. On a cloudy day, it will feel like you are walking straight into the clouds, as you cross the hanging bridge.

At times, you may not even be able to see the other side of the bridge through the dense cloud deck!

The longest bridge on the tour is 774 feet long. That’s longer than the length of two football fields!

Although these steel suspension bridges are strong and sturdy, the bridges and trails are built and maintained to have a low-impact on the natural ecosystem.

The other two bridges on the tour are shorter, traditional bridges, but take you right next to beautiful waterfalls.

The Arenal Park hanging bridges hike is a guided group tour. It can take several hours if you have a larger group. They typically say to give yourself 3 hours to walk the 2-3 mile path.

The guide goes at the group’s pace and will stop several times along the way to explain and point out different areas of the rainforest, show the group unique vegetation, and point out wildlife.

There are also bathrooms halfway through the hike and a water fountain where you can get a quick drink if you did not bring a water bottle.

The hanging bridge park can also be combined with an aerial tram and ziplining tour.

Mistico hanging bridges tour: Facts and Information

Looking out at the Arenal Volcano from the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park
Looking out at the Arenal Volcano from the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. | Photo by Hongbin from Unsplash

Not far from Sky Adventures Park, Mistico Park is also located outside the town of La Fortuna, near Lake Arenal. This guided hiking tour takes you through the Costa Rican rain forest and across a whopping 16 bridges – including 6 suspension bridges.

The 2 mile long trail takes you approximately 1.5 hours without a guide or 2.5 hours with a guide and takes you across multiple bridges, through a tunnel, and by a beautiful waterfall.

At a glance: Mistico Park Hanging Bridges Tour Arenal

  • Distance: 2 miles (3. 2km)
  • Number of bridges: 16
  • Longest Bridge: 368 feet (97 meters)
  • Highest Bridge: 148 feet (45 meters)
  • Other activities offered: Horseback riding, night walk, bird watching tours

About the Mistico Hanging Bridges near La Fortuna

woman walking across a suspension bridge at the mistico arenal hanging bridges park
One of the suspension bridges at Mistico Park. | Photo by Etienne Delorieux from Unsplash

The Mistico Hanging Bridges Park Tour is perhaps the most popular suspension bridge tour in the Arenal area, if not in all of Costa Rica.

Mistico Park offers similar views and trails to Sky Adventure but includes 16 bridges instead of five!

They also offer a fully accessible trail that includes 6 bridges, is stair-free, and made from non-slip concrete.

Within the nature reserve there are more than 350 species of birds, 250 species of reptiles, and 120 different mammals that you can potentially spot during your rainforest trek. 

There are restrooms on site and children under the age of 10 are free with an adult admission. 

While ziplining is not offered at Mistico, like it is at Sky Adventure, you can book other unique adventures like night walks and horseback riding.

Are the Arenal Hanging Bridges Tours good for families with children?

waterfall along hanging bridge tour in Costa Rica
Posing for a picture next to a waterfall along the Sky Walk at Arenal Park.

There are no age limitations for the Arenal hanging bridge tour that we took. In fact, we were able to do this tour with a 6-month-old infant. We wore our baby in a baby carrier, which is highly recommended if doing any hanging bridges tour with a baby or toddler.

If you are wondering if the Costa Rica hanging bridges near La Fortuna are kid-friendly, the answer is ‘it depends’.

These excursions would be a challenge with small children if you are not in decent shape. The paths are not all stroller-friendly, so wearing your child in a baby carrier, like the Ergobaby Omni 360, is really the only way to do this tour with an infant or toddler.

With that said, we had no problem doing an Arenal hanging bridge tour in Costa Rica with a baby. So, if you are an adventurous parent and don’t mind wearing young children in a baby or child carrier, GO FOR IT!

Also read: the best baby carriers for travel

Children who are too old or too big for a child carrier could certainly do this tour along with their parents. However, they may need extra encouragement along the hike, which is moderately strenuous.

You may also need to hold their hand along parts of the path where it is extremely uneven so they do not fall and injure themselves.

Physical fitness requirements

A path through the Costa Rica Arenal Rain Forest
The path through the Arenal Rain Forest.

The Arenal hanging bridges tour at Sky Adventure Park is not wheelchair accessible. If you have a physical handicap, you may not be able to do this tour. However, Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridge Park does offer a wheelchair accessible experience.

On a guided tour, the group will stop from time-to-time as the guide highlights different parts of the route, so even if you aren’t in great shape you will have a chance to catch your breath.

However, if you are in poor cardiovascular health and tire easily, we would not recommend booking a tour that is not fully accessible, as the paths are moderately strenuous.

You should be in good enough physical condition that you can walk 2-3 miles, handle various changes in elevation, and be able to go up and down stairs for the non-accessible hanging bridge tours near La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

What to wear and bring on an Arenal hanging bridges tour

man carrying an umbrella across a hanging bridge in costa rica
An umbrella is a must on a hanging bridges tour, particularly if visiting Costa Rica during the rainy season.

Having experienced a hanging bridge tour in Costa Rica firsthand, here are a few recommendations if you are going to do an Arenal hanging bridges tour or any other canopy tour in Costa Rica.

Other Costa Rica Hanging Bridges Tours

Hanging Bridges Arenal Costa Rica view of the canopy in the clouds
View of the Arenal rainforest canopy through the clouds.

The Arenal area is one of the most popular and beautiful places in Central America. However, there are several other places where you can see hanging bridges in Costa Rica.

You can also find hanging bridge tours in the Monteverde Cloud Forest and throughout other parts of Costa Rica. The activity is becoming increasingly popular among travelers.

Many of the tours have options which include transportation, however, we recommend renting a car and driving in Costa Rica for a better overall experience in this beautiful and lush country.

You can detour to a beautiful waterfall, relax on the beach, or stop for lunch at Cafe y Macadamia overlooking Lake Arenal.

Conclusion: Mistico Park or Sky Walk Hanging Bridges

With the proper gear and accurate expectations, an Arenal hanging bridges tour is a great family experience. The hike is beautiful and you get to see so much of the rainforest and natural vegetation this way.

It truly is the best way to learn about the Costa Rican forests and biospheres.

You really can’t go wrong with either of the popular Arenal hanging bridge parks. Both offer a unique and fun experience, at a comparable park entrance fee. 

Like it? Pin this comparison guide to the best Arenal Hanging Bridges to save for later!

Do you have a question or comment about the Arenal hanging bridges tours in Costa Rica? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Did you know…

When you make a purchase or book hotels, tours, or other travel services, through our links, we receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. We only EVER recommend service providers, websites, or products we personally use when booking our own travels. Your support enables us to keep producing helpful travel content. Thank you!

This guide comparing the best Arenal hanging bridges was first written in December 2015 but was most recently updated in November 2023 for accuracy and current tour information.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.