La Fortuna Costa Rica is full of natural wonders and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country!
This small, laid-back town is located at the base of Arenal Volcano and there are many great things to do in La Fortuna such as soaking in hot springs, waterfall hopping, volcano hiking, and more.
It’s the best of both worlds for visitors who are seeking relaxation and fun-fuelled adventures. I spent 3 days in La Fortuna and it was the highlight of my travels around Costa Rica.
Moreover, I’ve put together this ultimate guide on what to do in La Fortuna to help you plan the perfect trip.
QUICK ANSWERS: LA FORTUNA COSTA RICA
Before I jump into all of the best things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica, it’s important to get organized prior to your trip.
Here are some general travel tips you need to know before you go so that when you arrive, you can enjoy all the La Fortuna activities and have a stress-free experience.
WHERE IS LA FORTUNA COSTA RICA?
La Fortuna is located in the Northern Plains of Costa Rica, about 3 hours from the capital city, San José.
It’s a popular destination for both tourists and locals alike due to its close proximity to Arenal Volcano National Park, one of Costa Rica’s most popular attractions.
Click here or on the image below for an interactive map of the region.
HOW TO GET TO LA FORTUNA?
There are a few transportation options available to get to La Fortuna which I have listed below.
If you’re renting a car in Costa Rica, you’ll be able to reach La Fortuna quite easily as all the roads leading to the town are tar sealed.
However, I recommend renting a vehicle with a larger engine that has more grunt to make it up the steep, winding hills.
Car Rental – Search, Compare & Save!
If you’re not renting a car in Costa Rica that’s totally fine and you can easily travel to La Fortuna Costa Rica by shuttle bus from other main tourist spots such as San Jose, Monteverde, Jaco, and Manuel Antonio.
Click here to search and book your transport to La Fortuna online in advance.
How to get from A to B, stress-free!
Compare and easily book buses, ferries, trains, or private transfers around the world on Bookaway!
With discounted ticket prices and a free app, Bookaway is a one-stop shop for all your ground transportation needs!
- Monteverde to La Fortuna: 3 hours
- San Jose to La Fortuna: 2.5 hours
- Jaco to La Fortuna: 3.5 hours
- Manuel Antonio to La Fortuna: 4.5 hours
BEST TIME TO VISIT LA FORTUNA?
The best time to visit La Fortuna Costa Rica is between December to April for the most pleasant weather – this is the dry season with less rain and more sunshine.
However, if you don’t mind a little rain, and are looking for cheaper hotel prices and fewer crowds, then July and August is the best time to visit.
HOW MANY DAYS IN LA FORTUNA COSTA RICA?
I recommend staying for at least three days and three nights so that you have plenty of time to explore and also relax with everything La Fortuna has to offer.
IS LA FORTUNA WORTH VISITING?
La Fortuna is an excellent place to visit and despite being somewhat expensive, it’s a must-see destination on your Costa Rica itinerary.
Apart from the awesome things to do in La Fortuna, the people here are incredibly friendly and welcoming, the food is amazing, and it’s relatively close to the capital San José.
So, yes, it’s definitely worth a visit!
HOW TO GET AROUND IN LA FORTUNA?
Getting around in La Fortuna Costa Rica isn’t difficult and there are a few different options available.
The most popular way to get around the center of town is on foot, however, renting a car is the best option for visitors who want to explore the surrounding area at their own pace.
Alternatively, you can book guided tours which include hotel pick-up and drop-off, order an Uber, or take a taxi.
If you want the contact of a safe and reliable driver, get in touch with Ivan via WhatsApp at +506-8807-9413. He was my personal driver around La Fortuna with cheaper rates than taxis and Uber.
Have you got travel insurance for your trip?!
We all know accidents can happen and having Heymondo Insurance will save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.
Heymondo offers low-cost Travel Insurance to keep you covered on all your adventures.
15 AWESOME THINGS TO DO IN LA FORTUNA
Now that we’ve covered all the general travel tips and logistics before visiting, let’s get to the fun stuff!
So without further ado, see below for a comprehensive guide to the 15 best things to do in La Fortuna.
VISIT LA FORTUNA WATERFALL
Let’s kick off this list of things to do in La Fortuna with La Fortuna Waterfall, one of the most popular tourist attractions located just 5 kilometers from the town center.
La Fortuna Waterfall is 70 meters high and features a large pool at the base where you can go for a refreshing swim after walking down the 530-step path.
The entrance fee to visit La Fortuna Waterfall is $18 per adult and children aged 8 and younger can enter for free. There is also a small café and souvenir shop located at the entrance to the falls.
I highly recommend arriving as early as possible to beat the crowds and to get the best photos. Be sure to purchase the skip-the-line La Fortuna Waterfall admission ticket so you get first access.
Opening hours for La Fortuna Waterfall are from 7 am to 5 pm daily.
It’s also possible to book a La Fortuna Waterfall Tour with an experienced guide which includes a hotel pick-up and drop-off, all entrance fees, and a guide who escorts you safely down the steep steps to reach the base of the falls.
So, if you’re feeling adventurous, be sure to take the trip to these magnificent falls – I guarantee you won’t regret it!
BOOK NOW: LA FORTUNA WATERFALL TOUR
MÍSTICO ARENAL HANGING BRIDGES
A visit to Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges is your chance to get up close and personal with the jungle and it’s not to be missed on your list of what to do in La Fortuna!
The park is located about 10 km from the center of town and features 12 bridges that range in length from 48 meters to 97 meters and are all closed on both sides, making you feel safe.
Suspended high above the ground, these hanging bridges offer stunning views of the jungle canopy and Arenal Volcano in the distance. You can also spot a variety of bird and animal species during your visit.
The Hanging Bridges entrance fee is $27 for adults and $16 for children and the park is open daily from 6 am to 4 pm, giving you plenty of time to spend a few hours here.
You have the option of visiting Mistico Hanging Bridges on your own or you can go one better and book a guided tour.
The rainforest circuit trail is an easy to moderate walk taking around 1 – 2 hours, and at the end, you can relax with a hot cup of coffee and grab something to eat from the café.
BOOK NOW: MÍSTICO HANGING BRIDGES TOUR
The BEST Backpack For Backpacking!
Less is more with the Atmos AG 50L, the newest arrival in the Osprey backpacking range!
From weekend explorations to month-long expeditions, this EPIC backpack is up to the task and will stand the test of time.
CHECK OUT THE EL SALTO ROPE SWING
Third on this list is one of the best free things to do in La Fortuna, the El Salto Rope Swing.
The swing itself is about 6 meters high and offers a thrilling experience as you launch yourself into the crystal clear river below.
RELATED ARTICLE: 2 WEEK COSTA RICA ITINERARY
If you’re not courageous enough to try the rope swing, it’s still possible to take a dip in the river and the cascading pools to cool off while being surrounded by jungle.
A word of warning… while it’s one of the coolest activities in La Fortuna, there’s no proper security in place, no lifeguards, and no staff members, so you’ll want to be extra careful and use the swing at your own risk.
As always, I highly recommend purchasing travel insurance, especially when partaking in activities like this. Safety first!
EXPLORE ARENAL VOLCANO NATIONAL PARK
Another one of the top La Fortuna activities is exploring Arenal Volcano National Park, one of the most popular attractions in Costa Rica, located just a short drive from the center of town.
The park is home to the active Arenal Volcano as well as a variety of hiking trails ranging from 600 meters to 3 kilometers. There’s also a cafe with a viewpoint at the end that makes it all worth it.
To enter the national park, there is a $19 entrance fee and you can hike along the trails self-guided as they are clearly signposted. You’ll also be given a map so you can’t get lost.
Alternatively, there are several Arenal Volcano National Park tours that you might like to consider. Click here to see a full list of guided tours available and book online in advance.
I personally did the Arenal 1968 Route which was sensational and I couldn’t recommend it enough. It wasn’t as difficult as other trails, taking just 1 hour from start to finish, and the views were phenomenal.
It’s worth noting that the views of the volcano won’t be as spectacular when coming during the rainy season and the only thing you’ll see are probably clouds. Of course, that doesn’t take anything away from the experience itself.
The BEST Affordable Camera For Travel
If you’re on the hunt for a professional camera for traveling, check out the Canon G7 X Mark II.
This tiny camera fits in your pocket, captures high-quality photos and videos, and has Wi-Fi so you can instantly transfer to your phone!
DAY TRIP TO RIO CELESTE WATERFALL
One of the best day trips from La Fortuna is to Rio Celeste Waterfall. The waterfall is located in Tenorio Volcano National Park, about a 1-hour drive from La Fortuna.
The waterfall is truly a sight to behold as it features two tiers that cascade into a turquoise-blue pool. The blue color is created by minerals in the water that are illuminated by the sunlight.
The most convenient and best way to get there is by booking a full-day trip and you’ll get to hike in the wild, see unique Costa Rican wildlife, soak in the hot pools, and of course, enjoy the stunning Rio Celeste Waterfall.
What else to say, there isn’t much that can compete with a day trip to these majestic falls!
GO WHITE WATER RAFTING
You can’t travel to La Fortuna without going white water rafting, a fun-fuelled activity that will have you glide along rapids for over 10 km.
Start the trip by heading to the Balsa River and taking a quick safety briefing before getting on the raft and letting the fun begin.
From here, you’ll be rafting for about 2.5 hours straight, seeing monkeys, sloths, and rare birds, as well as the tropical setting.
To finish off, you’ll stop for lunch before being transported back to your hotel. Expect to be back in La Fortuna around 4.30 pm.
Book Now: Balsa River White Water Rafting
Capture All Your Adventures!
CERRO CHATO VOLCANO HIKE
Still looking for what to do in La Fortuna? Then look no further than the Cerro Chato Volcano hike!
This challenging hike takes you to the summit and inside the crater of Cerro Chato, an inactive volcano.
It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted and requires a high level of fitness to complete this 4-hour return hike.
The hike starts at the base of the volcano where you’ll follow a winding trail through the jungle which can be slippery and muddy, so make sure to wear appropriate footwear.
As you climb higher, the vegetation will become sparser until you reach the treeline. From here, it’s a steep scramble to the crater rim where you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Lake Arenal and La Fortuna.
If you’ve still got some energy, you can even hike for a further 20 minutes down to the crater lake and hop in for a swim to cool off.
Although the Cerro Chato trail is said to be officially closed by the government, the ticket office is still open and people hike it on a daily basis. Click here for up-to-date information on the trail.
SEE SLOTHS IN THE WILD
On top of the hot springs and adrenalin activities, La Fortuna is quickly gaining notoriety for its resident sloths.
These furry creatures can often be seen lounging in the trees or taking a leisurely swim in the nearby river.
While it’s possible to see sloths in captivity at many zoos, there is nothing quite like seeing them in their natural habitat, and the Sloth Watching Trail, just minutes away from La Fortuna downtown, is the right place for this.
The Sloth Watching Trail is open daily from 7 am to 5:30 pm and a tour costs $30 per person.
In case that’s not enough, you can come back in the evening and take the walking night tour to observe frogs, spiders, snakes, and more.
The price is the same as the day tour but seeing sloths isn’t guaranteed.
BOOK NOW: SLOTH WATCHING TOUR
RIDE AN ATV IN THE RAINFOREST
One of the best things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica is to see the rainforest from the seat of an ATV.
When booking an ATV tour in the rainforest, you can take in all the sights and sounds of this amazing ecosystem.
You’ll be transported to a farm near Arenal Volcano National Park and undergo quick safety training before driving the ATV.
Once ready, get on the vehicle and go on one of the best off-road adventures you’ll experience in your life.
You’ll get to stop for a natural mud facial treatment on the way, this definitely adds a layer of entertainment, and you’ll have a great time with other people on tour!
Just be sure to wear your wet weather gear, and take extra caution on slippery trails.
BOOK NOW: ATV TOUR IN LA FORTUNA COSTA RICA
The BEST reusable water bottle for travel!
The GRAYL GeoPress is a top-rated reusable water bottle perfect for backpacking, hiking, and traveling.
It allows you to purify water from anywhere and keeps you safe from all waterborne diseases.
Get a GeoPress today and never buy single-use plastic bottles again. Mama Earth will thank you for it!
ZIP LINING IN LA FORTUNA
Another one of the best La Fortuna activities that is not to be missed during your visit is zip lining!
Book a zip line tour and zip through the Costa Rican rainforest on 12 different canopy cables that go over the beautiful La Fortuna Waterfall.
While between cables, take in views of Arenal Volcano and Cerro Chato, and discover hidden secrets about La Fortuna with your guide.
Can you think of a more adrenaline-pumping activity to add to your trip? Don’t miss out and be sure to book online in advance to secure your spot on the tour.
BOOK NOW: LA FORTUNA ZIP LINING
DON OLIVO CHOCOLATE TOUR
Looking for a unique way to spend an afternoon in La Fortuna? Then be sure to check out the Don Olivo Chocolate Tour.
Learn all about the process of making chocolate, from bean to bar, while sampling some of the delicious products made by the family.
The tour takes place in a beautiful setting surrounded by the rainforest, and you’ll even have a chance to tour the cocoa plantation and see how the beans are grown.
The property produces over 150 pounds of cacao each week and they have a total of 1600 trees.
Watching the chocolate being made is fascinating, and of course, the best part is getting to try all the different kinds of chocolate at the end.
And if all this wasn’t enough, there’s also a sloth on the property!
Let’s be honest, this is the complete package you’re looking for – interesting history, delicious treats, fun, and affordable price.
LA FORTUNA HOT SPRINGS
An attraction that certainly made La Fortuna famous is the hot springs. That’s right, some of the best hot springs in Costa Rica are in La Fortuna!
Soaking in the natural hot springs in La Fortuna Costa Rica is an unforgettable experience and some springs even offer different pools with cooler and hot water.
The best hot springs in La Fortuna are:
- Tabacon Hot Springs – Best overall – $75 to $110 per person
- EcoTermales Hot Springs – Best value for money – $45 to $70 per person
- Paradise Hot Springs – Best to stay until late – $30 to $150 per person
- Baldi Hot Springs – Best for the space available – $40 to $80 per person
- Kalambu Hot Springs – Best for families – $15 to $20 per person
- Free Natural Hot Springs River – Best for budget travelers – Free admission!
As you can see, the La Fortuna hot springs indeed come at a cost with some of them reaching more than $100 per visit.
Don’t get me wrong, the paid hot springs are some of the best activities in La Fortuna and it’s easy to see why – amazing food, stunning setting, outstanding service, and dozens of pools with different temperatures.
And luckily there is the Free Natural Hot Springs River for travelers on a budget.
Located only 12 km from the center of town, you can indulge in a relaxing spa in nature without spending a cent!
ARENAL VOLCANO HORSEBACK RIDING
If ATV isn’t your thing, then why not try the best alternative and book a horseback riding tour around Arenal Volcano National Park?!
This popular tour takes you through the lush rainforest at Mistico Park, across sun-dappled streams, and up to the base of Arenal Volcano itself.
Along the way, you’ll have the chance to spot some of the park’s resident wildlife, including howler monkeys, sloths, and toucans.
And, of course, the views of Arenal Lake and the surrounding mountains are simply breathtaking.
What I particularly liked about going horseriding was the trail’s peacefulness, and you could hear all the birds and observe flora and fauna which wasn’t possible on an ATV.
Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a complete beginner, this is one of the La Fortuna activities that you don’t want to miss.
BOOK NOW: HORSEBACK RIDING TOUR
Keep Yo’ Sh*t Organized!
Packing cubes are a traveler’s best friend, perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, underwear, and more!
Shacke Pak Cubes make packing easier and leaves extra space in your bag to fit more essentials.
WATERFALL CANYONING TOUR
Costa Rica’s Northern Plains boasts the most stunning natural scenery in the world, and there’s no better way to experience it than by joining in on a waterfall canyoning tour.
The most top-rated tour with great reviews is the 4-in-1 half-day trip from La Fortuna, offering an adrenaline-pumping adventure that’s perfect for nature lovers and thrill-seekers alike.
This canyoning tour will take you through a series of beautiful waterfalls, each one more breathtaking than the last.
You’ll rappel down cliffs, jump into pools of crystal-clear water, and enjoy some of the most incredible views you’ve ever seen.
Before you book the tour, it’s important to research and ensure you’re comfortable with the trip, but with the experienced tour guide, you will be just fine, even if it’s your first time canyoneering.
So go ahead and get ready for the experience of a lifetime on a waterfall canyoning adventure.
BOOK NOW: 4-IN-1 WATERFALL CANYONING TOUR
JOIN A COOKING CLASS
La Fortuna is the perfect place to learn how to cook traditional Costa Rican food.
The rich soil in the area provides healthy growing conditions and a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
In addition, many experienced chefs in La Fortuna are passionate about sharing their knowledge of cooking with others, and the best way to learn is with a local family.
When you join a cooking class, you will be able to see first-hand how the food is prepared, what ingredients are used, and learn how to cook classic dishes like Casado and Picadillo.
This cooking class is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and learn about the food that is so central to Costa Rican life
To sum up, this experience is one of the best things to do in La Fortuna and you also get to indulge at the end!
BOOK NOW: LA FORTUNA COOKING CLASS
Check Out This Must-Have Travel Accessory!
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN LA FORTUNA
Now that we’ve covered all the best things to do in the region, there is no doubt that all this adventuring is going to make you hungry!
I’ve listed a few of the best restaurants in La Fortuna below that I highly recommend sampling during your stay.
If you haven’t tried Costa Rican food just yet, then Tiquicia Restaurant should be on your list of places to go.
They serve up some of the best Costa Rican food I’ve ever had, and the prices are reasonable too, which is a bonus.
Make sure to taste the Costa Rican Fried Pork Casserole with Cassava and Fried Green Plantain, and the Casado of fish, 2 of the best dishes they have on offer.
The seafood at Snappers House in the heart of the town is the place to go for several reasons. The price is reasonable, the fish is fresh, and the service is outstanding.
Among the best dishes, you can have the Puerto Viejo rice with coconut milk and mixed seafood, or try the whole red snapper served with red beans, potatoes, and fried cassava.
La Forchetta Ristorante
When craving Italian food, La Forchetta is the best place to go.
With authentic Italian dishes such as chicken with marsala sauce and beef tagliata, you simply can’t go wrong at La Forchetta.
In addition, they have excellent wine that will have you craving more.
WHERE TO STAY IN LA FORTUNA
There are dozens of unique hotels in Costa Rica, and those in La Fortuna are definitely a great place to have as a base for a few days.
I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay to suit the needs of luxury travelers, budget backpackers, and everyone in between.
See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
LUXURY: TABACON THERMAL RESORT & SPA
MID RANGE: CASA LUNA HOTEL & SPA
SEARCH FOR MORE HOTELS IN LA FORTUNA
For all other places to stay in La Fortuna, here is an interactive map of all the available accommodations in the region.
Simply enter your dates of stay below and hit the search button!
More Costa Rica Travel Guides
Click the button below to view all articles related to Costa Rica!
WHAT TO PACK FOR COSTA RICA
When visiting Costa Rica, here is a list of items I highly recommend bringing with you:
Must-Have Travel Essentials
Hidden Money Wallet
Keep your cash and other valuables safe with this anti-theft hidden money wallet!
Reusable Water Bottle
The GRAYL GeoPress is the best reusable bottle that allows you to purify water from anywhere!
The Nomatic Travel Backpack has 20+ innovative features, perfect for everyday use!
Quick-Dry Travel Towel
The most compact, lightweight, and quick-dry towel for traveling!
Keep your phone, laptop, and accessories charged while you’re on the go with the Anker PowerBank!
FINAL THOUGHTS – THINGS TO DO IN LA FORTUNA COSTA RICA
I hope you enjoyed reading this article and if you have any questions about what to do in La Fortuna, please leave a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
Search and book accommodation worldwide.
Compare and book cheap flights to anywhere.
Find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world.
Book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance.
Search all rental cars in your next destination.
Need travel insurance for your next trip?
THANKS FOR READING
Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!
Please know this post may contain affiliate links. When making a purchase through one of my links, I earn a small kickback at no extra cost to you and it’s a big help to keep the site up and running. Rest assured, I only promote products and services that I personally use and recommend.