La FortunaSmalltown charm in the shade of Arenal Volcano.
Explore La Fortuna, Costa Rica: a base for Arenal Volcano Park, hot springs, rainforest hikes, and vibrant wildlife encounters.
La Fortuna, a village at the base of the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica, is a gateway to the Arenal Volcano National Park. Known for the natural hot springs fueled by geothermal activity and abundant wildlife, it offers visitors close encounters with nature. Key attractions include the La Fortuna Waterfall, with its impressive 70-meter drop, and a range of outdoor activities such as zip-lining and hiking that capitalize on the lush landscape and volcanic surroundings.
Arenal Volcano National Park
La Fortuna revolves around the breathtaking Arenal Volcano National Park, a must-visit for its myriad of hiking trails and the volcano itself. While the volcano is currently in a resting phase, its imposing form is still a sight to behold against the Costa Rican skyline. Trails within the park vary from leisurely walks to challenging treks that lead you through old lava flows and lush rainforest, where you might spot wildlife such as howler monkeys and colorful toucans.
After a day of hiking, the hot springs around La Fortuna provide the perfect relaxation opportunity. Options range from the luxurious Tabacón Hot Springs, with its thermal pools and spa facilities, to the more budget-friendly Baldi Hot Springs, which boasts a selection of pools with different temperatures and an exciting water slide. For those seeking a less developed experience, the local "free" hot spring near the Tabacón resort is a popular choice for both tourists and residents.
La Fortuna Waterfall
A visit to the La Fortuna Waterfall offers an invigorating experience as you descend steps to reach the base of the 70-meter high fall. The sound of cascading water and the chance to swim in the refreshing pool below makes for a memorable activity. The waterfall is accessible via a short drive or hike from La Fortuna village, and an entrance fee contributes to local conservation efforts.
Outdoor Adventure Activities
For thrill-seekers, La Fortuna offers zip-lining experiences that provide stunning aerial views of forests and waterfalls. Sky Adventures Arenal Park presents a well-regarded zip-lining tour that stands out for its safety standards and panoramic vistas. Meanwhile, horseback riding tours, such as those offered by Arenal Mundo Aventura, let you experience Costa Rican landscapes in a more traditional way.
The area’s rich biodiversity means wildlife viewing is a natural part of any visit. Ecocentro Danaus is a biological reserve where guided tours bring you face-to-face with sloths, bats, crocodiles, and numerous bird species. At night, the place transforms as nocturnal creatures emerge, offering a different perspective on local fauna.
Costa Rican cuisine in La Fortuna is a blend of traditional flavors with fresh local ingredients. Restaurants like La Parrilla de Maria Bonita and Restaurante Cafe Mediterraneo serve up hearty local dishes such as casado – a plate with rice, beans, plantains, salad, and meat or fish – alongside international options. Don't miss trying out homemade ice cream flavors at La Fortuna's own Monteverde Ice Cream Shop.
Community and Tourism
La Fortuna's tourism-driven economy has led to increased facilities for visitors without losing its small-town charm. English is commonly spoken in tourist-oriented businesses, making it easier for visitors to navigate and interact with locals. Being mindful of the environment and supporting local businesses is encouraged as part of sustainable tourism efforts that benefit the whole community.
Affordability and Safety
Costs in La Fortuna can vary widely depending on your choice of activities and accommodation. From budget hostels like Arenal Backpackers Resort to mid-range hotels like Hotel Rancho Cerro Azul, there’s something for every price point. La Fortuna is generally safe for travelers; however, as with any tourist destination, it's prudent to stay aware of your surroundings and safeguard belongings.
Transportation in and around La Fortuna is facilitated by an array of options. Renting a car gives you flexibility to explore at your own pace, while local taxis provide convenient short trips. For visits to farther attractions like the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park or other nature reserves, organized tours often include transportation directly from your hotel.