La Fortuna, north west of the capital San Jose, may only be a small town but it packs a big punch for travellers visiting the area. Rainforest and tropical jungle dress the volcanic landscape, and attractions such as the Hot Springs La Fortuna and the La Fortuna Waterfall are a true spectacle not to be missed.
The breathtaking scenery can be lapped up when partaking in one of a plethora of outdoor activities that are on offer. La Fortuna is a natural playground!
With stimulating skywalks over hanging bridges, rip-roaring rides through the sky on zip lines and wicked wild rafting escapades over white water, La Fortuna is an adrenaline junkies heaven.
The lush green jungle, exotic wildlife and striking scenery also make La Fortuna a great escape for those looking for a tranquil retreat.
What are the top attractions to visit in La Fortuna?
If you’re wondering where to go in Costa Rica, here are some of the top things to do in La Fortuna…
When you picture La Fortuna, you probably picture a lush green rainforest set against a misty, volcanic backdrop; a postcard-perfect display of nature at its very finest. That backdrop is the Arenal Volcano, the unavoidable, imposing presence towering tall over La Fortuna.
Hiking is probably the first thing that comes to mind, and there are certainly challenging hikes to be done here at Arenal Volcano. But do not be mistaken as there is so much more on offer than initially meets the eye.
Horseback rides, hanging bridges and hot springs, rafting, rappelling and canyoning – just some examples of activities that can be enjoyed at Arenal Volcano, a place that simply begs to be explored. Discover natures’ best with one of many available tours at the Volcano and push your nerves to the limit (if you dare) with a thrilling adventure!
Discover the gem of the jungle, the La Fortuna Waterfall
The La Fortuna Waterfall has an impressive drop of 75 meters, forcing water to plummet through the lush rainforest into a bright blue basin. It is generally easily accessible, making it one of the most popular waterfalls in Costa Rica, with the only slight challenge being the 500 steps to the base of the falls. Once you reach the glorious pool, changing rooms are available at the visitor center so you can comfortably ready yourself for a drip in the cold natural water. If the hike back up from the falls wears you down, there’s a restaurant at the top where you can recharge.
Hot springs La Fortuna
In 1968 the Arenal Volcano erupted, causing severe damages to the region and multiple casualties. Whilst the eruption was tragic, it changed the region geographically in such a way that makes it one of Costa Rica’s most visited locations today. Nature took a lot in 1968, and in return gave way to masses of natural hot springs that make the region a must-visit for travellers in La Fortuna looking to relax in a unique and beautiful setting.
The waters of the springs are rich in minerals that are supposedly good for the body (and mind) with many claiming that they hold healing properties. Whether myth or fact, there is no denying that a turn in the hot springs of La Fortuna will leave you feeling incredible after a hard day of adventure and exploration!
There are many springs to choose from to suit every budget, some geothermally heated by the volcano and others thermally heated.
One popular luxury hot spring is the Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, a 5 star in a tropical paradisiacal setting right in the heart of the jungle. Five different springs feed the Tabacon hot springs, which are naturally heated, each pool with a different temperature so you can choose what’s right for you.
The Eco Termales Hot Springs La Fortuna is a thermal spring and prides itself on being the area’s only ‘true’ natural spring. The magnesia filled waters are filled with medicinal properties, leaving visitors with a feeling of natural energy after their time in the water.
The region’s hot springs are one of the main reasons many travellers visit La Fortuna, so be sure to take the time to let go of all that ails you and relax in the magical natural waters!
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park
The Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park is an easy way to discover Costa Rica’s biodiversity in a safe and sustainable way. Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world’s wildlife, and in the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park alone there are over 300 bird species, 700 species of plants, plus hundreds of mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
If you’re visiting Costa Rica in winter, you can see birds of prey as they migrate through. Year round you can expect to see (or hear) toucans and turkey hens, and if you’re lucky you might catch some of the 120 species of mammal in the park, including pumas and jaguars, while exploring the 2 mile hiking trail. The natural experience is made even better by the 6 hanging bridges, the tallest of which is 148 high! For extra insights and an extra pair of eyes, sign up for a guided tour of the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park.
What are the best things to do in La Fortuna at night?
La Fortuna is an outdoor, adventure enthusiasts dream and most of the activities in the area centre around this, meaning things can get pretty quiet when the sun goes down. If you’re wondering what are the best things to do in La Fortuna at night, the small town is filled with lively bars and restaurants that are sure to entertain you into the early hours.
If you’re staging in one of the many resorts in the Arenal area, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to dining, drinking and dancing options. For those staying outside of resorts, the town has many discos, cocktail bars and friendly pubs that await your visit for a tipple or two.
For foodies, one of the best things to do in La Fortuna at night is to test out the local cuisine! Known for using fresh, seasonal and local ingredients and service with a smile, La Fortuna is a great place to tantalise your tastebuds.
What are the best things to do to do in La Fortuna when it rains?
La Fortuna’s tourism is primarily focused on outdoor activities which, for the most part, are better enjoyed in warm, dry weather! Whilst Costa Rica offers wonderful weather for much of the year, wet season is also a thing in Costa Rica so it’s always good to have a back-up plan in case the rain gets in the way.
La Fortuna is only a small town but there are plenty of cafes and restaurants to enjoy if you need to escape from the rain. There are also a couple of highly rated art galleries in town – the Onirica Art Gallery and the Coco Loco Art Studio & Gallery if viewing some local craft interests you. You might even find a little something to take home to remind you of your time in Costa Rica!
One of the most popular activities in the area is to visit one of the many natural hot springs. Whilst it is strictly speaking an outdoor activity, since you’ll be getting wet anyway it remains one of the best things to do in La Fortuna when it rains!
Getting from San Jose to La Fortuna (and back again!)
Sitting just north-west of San Jose, La Fortuna is easily accessible from Costa Rica’s capital. A perfect getaway for an outdoor adventure filled with jungle activities, or a relaxing retreat in the natural landscape, La Fortuna is regularly visited from San Jose. The journey can take between 2.5 and 5 hours depending on your mode of transport. A few public buses run between the two locations daily, taking up to 5 hours. For a more convenient and flexible transfer, Daytrip offers private car transfers from San Jose to La Fortuna, and La Fortuna to San Jose, for those looking for a more personalised approach.