Obsessed: The Las Catalinas Hiking Trails

Costa Rica Las Catalinas Hiking and Trail Running
Las Catalinas. I’m obsessed.

There is something magical and slightly addicting about the Las Catalinas hiking trails. Some mornings I wake up and I swear I can hear them whispering my name. If I go too many days without getting on the trails, I feel empty. Going to Las Catalinas to hike is my therapy, my church, my place to hide. I’m not a very emotional person, but I’ve shed a lot of tears on those trails. Some of those tears are filled with anger and sadness but many are filled with gratitude and happiness too. I have always needed a place like this in my life, and I’ve always found one no matter where we live, but this has to be the prettiest one yet!

Of all the places in Costa Rica, I no doubt have the most photos of the views from the Las Catalinas trails. It’s a locals favorite and a true gem. I’d say it was a hidden gem, but the word is out on this spectacular place. Construction is happening every day as they build and expand in this area. The hiking and biking trails will remain of course, but Las Catalinas will not look the same two years from now, and it makes me and others that live here little sad.

Las Catalinas Hiking Costa Rica Wanderlust Living Andrea Fellman

On some of my hikes I think about the people I’d love to share the trail with. I wish everyone I cared about could hike the trail at least once. To see what I see – but to see it for themselves. Although, as much as I want to share this place, there is a part of me that is extremely selfish and I’d really rather just have it all to myself.

I tell everyone that is visiting this area of Costa Rica that getting to Las Catalinas is a must, even if it’s just a day trip. I guess I’m not really helping keep it a secret.

Hiking the Las Catalinas trails is not only a good mental work out but an extremely good physical work out, specially if you run some of it! You should be in good health to hike up here, it can get very hot and there are some very steep sections of the trail, not to mention it can be very rocky and uneven in some parts. It is best to head out early before the sun really starts to beat down on the trail. I always take a water bottle, my ipod and my phone, (in case of an emergency) and for photos of course. I share a lot of my photos on Instagram to give people window into what I see.

Hiking in Costa ica Las Catalinas Playa Danta Trails

Hiking the Las Catalinas trails feels very similar to life.

There are exposed parts of the trail that are filled with so much sun and then there are darker parts of the trail that become very narrow and close in on you. Just when you think you have it all under control you’re confronted with a steep hill or a rocky path. You have to know when to slow down and take it easy, but also recognize when you need to challenge yourself, when you should pick up the pace and move a little faster. There are a few small bridges that will help you get over some rough terrain, much like a friend extending a helping hand.

In the beginning, I was so focused on getting out to the look out point that I rushed past and missed so much of the trail. Now, I’ve learned to pay attention and appreciate every single pieces of the trail. Every twig, branch, pebble, rock, and scurrying little creature. It’s all so beautiful.

Las Catalinas Guanacaste Costa Rica Hiking Trails Epic Views Wanderlust Living

Las Catalinas Hiking Trails Costa RIca Wanderlust Living

Las Catalinas Hiking the trails Wanderlust Living

Costa Rica hiking trails Las Catalinas

Las Catalinas Costa Rica Trails Playa Danta Wanderlust Living

Las Catalinas Costa Rica HIking Trails View
Las Catalinas HIking Trails Dry Season
The trail has two very distinct seasons, green and dry. For most of the year it is green and lush, during the rainiest months (September and October) the trail can get a bit muddy and buggy. During the dry season everything turns brown and it’s extremely hot, dry and dusty. The dry season is not my favorite, I’d take bugs and a little mud over the dry heat any day. It is the driest in February, March and April. During the dry season, I highly recommend getting out there before 8am and never after 11am. 

Las Catalinas HIking Trails Views Costa Rica Wandrlust Living

Las Catalinas Hiking Wanderlust Living Costa Rica Playa Danta

Las Catalinas Playa Danta Beach Costa Rica
At the end of my hike I like to sit here and look out at the water –  sometimes I even jump in.

I hope everyone can find a place like this in their life.


  1. Julia

    You said it all so perfectly. They are such special trails. What I miss most about our time in Costa Rica is my morning hike! Thanks for sharing the photos and the thoughts. A treat to read. Happy Hiking!

  2. Christian

    I know this is a pretty old post, but was wondering your opinion. My husband has a rare day off in october and we are considering visiting Las Catalinas. Knowing this is one of the most rainy parts of the year, what do you think? Bring our rain gear and still lots to enjoy, or save it for when we can go in a slighly less wet part of the season?

  3. Andrea

    Christian, YES_ absolutely still go and hike! Bring a rain jacket just in case and even if you get caught in the rain, it’ll be a warm rain 🙂
    I remember that the rains would usually come in the afternoon, so check the weather but it mught be best to head out in the morning. It will be buggy, so wear plenty of bug spray.

  4. Tricia

    Thanks for this write up. I’ve lived in the area 10 years and just yesterday learned about these trails. How is that possible? :). I was wondering if it’s safe to go alone or are there sometimes odd characters on the path? I love to hike alone and have “me” time if possible.

  5. Andrea

    Hi Tricia! I hiked alone on these trails all the time, I never had an issue and I never saw any shady characters! It is a very safe area.

  6. Erin

    I would love to run these trails when I am in cr in April. Where do I access the trails? Is there an entrance fee? I will be staying in Playa flamingo.
    Thank you

  7. Andrea

    Hi Erin,

    You can access them through Las Catalinas / Playa Danta. If you go to Las Catalinas and park in their parking lot they will ask you where you are going – just tell them “La playa” or Pua Vida Ride. Pura Vida is the shop and you can ask them how to get on the trails. Or just past the parking for Las Catalinas there was a small public parking lot for playa danta. They have been building on to Las Catalinas so I am unsure if that parking lot is still there. BUt map Las Catalinas and you should be able to find it!

  8. Taylor Waskie


    We will be visiting Costa Rica for the first time in mid-May. Will the trail be lush and green by that point or is it still fairly dry?

    Thanks! Looks beautiful! Can’t wait to see it in person!

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