Things to do in La Fortuna

Things to do in  La Fortuna

Life in the treetops

Crowned by the majestic (and very active) Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is one of Costa Rica's top destinations for both adventure and relaxation. Here, supersized zipline courses and hanging bridges crisscross the lush rainforest, meaning there are plenty of things to do in La Fortuna for thrillseekers and wildlife watchers alike. After a day in the treetops—or a hike to the stunning La Fortuna Waterfall—travelers can soak in the mineral-rich waters of the region’s geothermal hot springs.

Top 15 attractions in La Fortuna

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

The 16 hanging bridges that line the paths of Costa Rica’s Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park stretch a total of 1.6 miles (2.6 kilometers) across the steep landscape. See the birds, monkeys, sloths, snakes, and frogs that call the forest canopy home by ascending these spans, suspended above gorges and stretched across jungle floors.More

La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall cascades 200 feet (61 meters) down the sheer cliff face of Cerro Chato, the Arenal Volcano’s dormant and thickly forested twin. One of the most impressive and accessible waterfalls in Costa Rica, La Fortuna is a great place to picnic, swim, and photograph the waterfall’s perpetual mists and nearby exotic vegetation.More

Arenal Volcano National Park

Although visitors once flocked to Arenal Volcano for its impressive lava shows, the 5,437-foot (1,657-meter) volcano has stayed quiet since its last eruption in 2010. However, Arenal and the surrounding Arenal Volcano National Park remain a hot spot for visitors to Costa Rica, especially popular among those seeking hiking trails, swimming holes, hot springs, bird- and wildlife-watching, and sweeping views of the tropical rain forest.More

Baldi Hot Springs

Located in the shadow of active Arenal Volcano and surrounded by a lush jungle landscape, Baldi Hot Springs is one of the largest hot springs resorts in the world. Visitors can choose from 25 different thermal pools, plus pampering spa treatments, swim-up bars, and Costa Rican cuisine for a complete day of relaxation.More

Celeste River (Río Celeste)

The dazzling centerpiece of Costa Rica’s Tenorio Volcano National Park, theCeleste River (Río Celeste) is most famous for its shockingly bright blue color. The river’s hue results from a natural reaction of volcanic sulfur and calcium carbonate, which tints the clear waters.More

Sarapiqui Canopy

Costa Rica is famous for its amazing biodiversity, and Sarapiqui is a place where you can experience the thrill of the rain forest firsthand. Whether that’s ziplining through the trees at high speed, rafting along the river, or wildlife-spotting, the area is packed with natural wonders.More

Tabacon Hot Springs

Tumbling waterfalls, luxury spa and dining options, and the dramatic backdrop of Arenal Volcano set Tabacon Hot Springs apart from Costa Rica’s many thermal springs. Numerous pools dotting the Tabacon River create a completely natural hot spring experience on a private rain forest reserve, perfect for a day of pure relaxation.More

Lake Arenal

A shimmering expanse of blue water stretching west of the active Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal is Costa Rica’s biggest lake and one of its most picturesque. Beyond its striking beauty, the human-made reservoir serves an important function as a hydroelectric dam, providing sustainable power for Costa Rican residents.More

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

Offering scenic views of Volcan Arenal and Lake Arenal, the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges are a series of tall suspension bridges that form meandering trails through the rain forest, providing access to remote areas filled with natural beauty. The bridges immerse you deep into the heart of the forest, close to the extraordinary biodiversity of the jungle.More

Venado Caves (Cavernas de Venado)

These ancient caves were carved by tectonic movement and water currents passing over limestone for millions of years. Inside this deep network of tunnels, visitors will find stalactites, stalagmites, rock formations, and subterranean rivers and caverns. There’s also a chance to spot wildlife, including bats, fish, insects, and frogs.More

Proyecto Asis Wildlife Rescue Center

Proyecto Asis is a wildlife rescue center focused on the protection and rehabilitation of native animals. Visitors can tour the facilities, take Spanish classes, or volunteer to help care for the animals, whose natural habitats are often threatened by expanding development in the region.More

Butterfly Conservatory

Nestled in the rainforest of northern Costa Rica, the Butterfly Conservatory lets visitors discover diverse butterflies and flowers via a network of trails and gardens. Dedicated to the preservation of butterflies and other tropical rainforest species, the conservatory has a learning center and educational exhibits.More
Kalambu Hot Springs Water Park

Kalambu Hot Springs Water Park

A relaxing visit to the local hot springs in the uplands of La Fortuna is a must, and Kalambu Hot Springs Water Park offers the chance not only to sit and soak, but also to have some wet and wild fun. Visitors can relax in thermally heated pools near the base of the Arenal Volcano, while enjoying the thrills you’d expect at a modern waterpark.More
Los Laureles Hot Springs (Termales Los Laureles)

Los Laureles Hot Springs (Termales Los Laureles)

The hot springs of Termales Los Laureles offer visitors a relaxing experience surrounded by tropical forest. The complex, which comprises thermal baths and cold pools accessible by water slide, is a cost-effective alternative to the more expensive hot springs of Monteverde. Plus, you can see Arenal Volcano from the baths.More
Arenal Observatory Lodge and Spa

Arenal Observatory Lodge and Spa

Far from the tourist center of La Fortuna, the village of El Castillo offers a more secluded place to view Costa Rica’s Arenal Volcano. Arenal Observatory Lodge and Spa, one of the few hotels on this side of the mountain, offers impressive views of the volcano, plus well-maintained hiking, horseback riding, and mountain-biking trails.More

Top activities in La Fortuna

La Fortuna Eden Chocolate Tour

La Fortuna Eden Chocolate Tour

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All about La Fortuna

When to visit

The best time to visit La Fortuna is during the sunny dry season, which runs from December until early May. The weather is generally sunny this time of year, and there’s less mud and fewer showers, which makes exploring the area much more enjoyable. However, the dry season can be crowded, particularly around Christmas, New Years, Easter, and during spring break in the US.

Getting around

While you can easily get around the town of La Fortuna on foot, you’ll need a car to get out to key attractions such as the Arenal Volcano National Park and the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park or if you want to visit local hot springs. Your best options are to rent a car of your own, hire a taxi, or join a private or group tour that will take you out to area attractions.

Traveler tips

Dine on traditional Costa Rican fare at Soda La Hormiga, a budget-friendly open-air spot that attracts locals and visitors with its hearty meals. The traditional casados, (plated meals with beans, rice, meat, plantains, and salad) are big and filling. If you’re in the mood for something lighter, the restaurant also offers plenty of smaller—but still substantial—side dishes.


People Also Ask

What is La Fortuna famous for?

La Fortuna is famous for its proximity to the Arenal Volcano and attracts travelers looking for adventure and relaxation. Zipline courses and hanging bridges crisscross the area’s lush rainforest, while the mineral-rich waters of the region’s geothermal hot springs offer the ideal spot for a rejuvenating soak. Just outside town, La Fortuna Waterfall is also a top attraction.

How many days do you need in La Fortuna?

You should spend two to three days in La Fortuna, although you could easily spend weeks exploring the surrounding area. In this time, you’ll be able to visit the Arenal Volcano and La Fortuna Waterfall—the two most popular attractions—as well as go white-water rafting or river tubing, and spend a day at the hot springs.

How long does it take to hike to La Fortuna Waterfall?

You can reach La Fortuna Waterfall on foot via a well-paved path. The hike down to the waterfall from the main lookout point takes about 15 minutes. The return trek can take 30-40 minutes, as it climbs up a 500-step staircase. You can also access the waterfall on horseback.

Can you swim in La Fortuna Waterfall?

Yes. Adventurous travelers can swim in the jade-colored natural pools formed by the waterfall. But be warned: The water is cold, and the current directly under the falls is strong, so you shouldn’t swim close to the cascade. There are calmer pools further downstream that are better for less experienced swimmers.

Where can I watch the sunset in La Fortuna?

Head to Lake Arenal, the second-largest freshwater lake in Central America, to catch views of the sunset with the Arenal Volcano in the background. Evening cruises are available. You can also go to the Springs Resort & Spa, which boasts an amazing view, thanks to its perch 1,000 feet (305 meters) above the Arenal Valley.

Is there more to do in La Fortuna or Monteverde?

La Fortuna is the most popular tourist destination in Costa Rica, offering a variety of tours and activities, including hiking and biking trails, ziplining, horseback riding, and hot springs attractions. Monteverde offers a lot of activities as well, but they’re mostly geared toward hardcore nature lovers.

Frequently Asked Questions
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