Welcome to La Fortuna
First impressions of La Fortuna may be somewhat lacking, what with all the tourists and uninspired cinder-block architecture. But, with time, this town’s charms are revealed. Here, horses graze in unimproved lots, spiny iguanas scramble through brush, sloth eyes peer from the riverside canopy, and eternal spring mornings carry just a kiss of humidity on their breath. And always, there’s that massive volcano lurking... Read More
Top experiences in La Fortuna
La Fortuna activities
Arenal Volcano and Tabacón Hot Springs Day Trip from San Jose
After a minivan pickup from your hotel in San Jose, your day trip begins with the 35-minute drive northwest to Sarchí, a Central Valley town famous for its crafts, particularly wood and leather furniture and decorated oxcarts. Pick up a souvenir or two from a local artisan before making the 2.5-hour drive further north to the town of La Fortuna, which sits below Arenal and offers an unobstructed view of the volcán on clear days. On arrival in La Fortuna, head to a local restaurant for a typical Costa Rican lunch of rice, beans, chicken or steak, and plantains, accompanied by a great view of Arenal. Then, continue your tour about 20 minutes down the road to Mirador Arenal 1968, a trail system on the edge of Arenal Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal) named for the 1968 eruption. Walk along the paths to find the best photo spots of the volcano and Lake Arenal (Lago Arenal), and watch for glimpses of bright orange lava flowing down the volcano. Finally, head a few miles back toward La Fortuna to the Tabacón hot springs — officially Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort — one of Costa Rica’s biggest and most luxurious hot springs resorts. Enjoy roughly 3.5 hours here to soak in the various pools, which range in temperature from 77 to 102°F (25 to 38°C).The resort is beautifully landscaped with waterfalls and lush vegetation and offers many ways to relax, from secluded pools to a swim-up bar (drinks at your own expense), so sit back and enjoy it until dinner is served. The resort’s buffet dinner lasts about 30 minutes and offers a selection of Costa Rican cuisine, similar to lunch. After dinner, head back to your hotel in San Jose (about 2.5 hours), where your tour ends.
Rio Balsa Whitewater Rafting Tour from La Fortuna
After hotel pickup in La Fortuna, drive through lush back roads and arrive less than an hour later at the launch site by the Rio Balsa, a river that snakes through a dense rainforest. If this is your first time out on a raft, or you're part of a family with younger kids, this 6-hour trip is a great way to experience the thrill of paddling through Class II and III rapids.Your day on the Rio Balsa starts with a safety briefing from your expert guide. You'll learn paddling techniques and then get fitted for gear. Follow your guide’s lead and paddle down the river through 6 miles (10 km) worth of rapids. A photographer accompanies your group so you can concentrate on the river; pictures are available for purchase after the tour. Depending on the water flow that day, the river’s depth may range from shallow and rocky to fairly deep. Expect a bumpy and wet ride during the first half, as you make your way through Class III rapids with names like Congo Loco and the crocodile-free Rock Around the Croc. Pay heed to your guide’s instructions: You might hear ‘Stay to the right of this one’ or ‘Mind the big boulder.’Once you get your bearings, admire the gorgeous green scenery around you, as well as its inhabitants: Your sharp-eyed guide points out monkeys, sloths and toucans along the way. About halfway through, pull over to a riverbank and enjoy a refreshing snack of fresh seasonal fruit. Then take a dip in the river or simply relax.After your break, climb back aboard your raft for a leisurely paddle through mostly Class II rapids, allowing you more time to look at the rainforest surrounding you. Look up to see birds and butterflies fluttering overhead.Your white-water adventure complete, you’re taken to a charming local restaurant for a delicious lunch. You’ll have an opportunity to shower and change before you enjoy a lift back to your hotel.
Canyoning in the Lost Canyon
Costa Rica is an adventure seeker’s dream. And this 4-hour tour is the best way to take advantage of the great nature that is in abundance in this Central American country. Get picked up at your hotel in La Fortuna and shuttled in an air-conditioned van to the Lost Canyon. After learning proper safety techniques and getting outfitted with the right equipment, rappel down a 10-foot (3.5-meter) cliff, known affectionately as ‘Baby,’ next to a small waterfall. If that doesn’t sound adventurous enough, don’t worry, because it’s just a warm-up.Move on to ‘Big Boy,’ a 150-foot (45-meter) cliff and waterfall. Rappel about halfway down and then experience an exciting plummet into the water. Your adrenaline should be pumping by now. Finally, conquer the biggest cliff and waterfall of them all: a 200-foot (60-meter) rappel, ending with a drop into a refreshing pool of chilly water. But canyoning in the Lost Canyon is more than just rappelling. Get a full-body workout as you clamber over rocks, slide down a natural water slide and swim in the natural pools. Then take a short walk through the rainforest with your guide, learning about the indigenous plants and animals of the area. Top off the 4-hour guided tour with a hearty Costa Rican lunch before returning to La Fortuna, with drop-off at your hotel.
Sarapiquí River Whitewater Rafting Tour
After hotel pickup in La Fortuna, travel for about two hours through picturesque villages to the town of San Miguel de Sarapiquí. When you arrive at the launch site, your expert guide provides a safety briefing, teaches paddling techniques, and gets you fitted in gear for your 2.5-hour journey down the Sarapiquí River on Class III and IV rapids. Expect to get soaked on this jarring but high-spirited ride. During your 6-mile (10-km) descent down the river, follow your guide through 30 rapids. Wipe water off your face as you paddle hard, rocking from side to side, through turbulent waters called the Terminator, the Pipeline and Dos Locos. A photographer follows your group in a separate raft to capture you in action, and pictures are available for purchase after the tour.About halfway through your journey, take a break and pull over to a riverbank. Enjoy fresh tropical fruit snacks as you get to know some of your fellow riders. Depending on where your guide takes you for this break, there might be time to swim, or even leap off a cliff into the river.Back aboard your raft, screech in delight during another bumpy ride down the river. Afterward, reward your physical exertions and reenergize with a satisfying Costa Rican lunch at a local restaurant. You’ll have a chance to shower and freshen up before you relax on a ride back to your hotel.
Río Celeste Waterfall Hike from Arenal
After morning hotel pickup in La Fortuna, travel northwest on a scenic 1.5-hour drive, passing charming rural villages and the rolling hillsides of Arenal Volcano National Park. You’ll get an opportunity to pick up snacks (own expense) for your hike before arriving at remote and peaceful Tenorio Volcano National Park, home to the gorgeous Río Celeste and Tenorio and Miravalles volcanoes. Inside the park, follow your expert guide into the dense rainforest on a moderate 4- to 5-hour hike, depending on your group. Listen for Río Celeste, or Sky-Blue River, which runs through the center of the park, and gaze in awe when you come upon the majestic river, whose currents run baby blue. Learn how natural mineral deposits in the river combine to give the river its incredible hue, a phenomenon found in few places around the world. During the hike, with calls of exotic birds accompanying you along the way, your guide points out the flora that thrives here, as well as the wildlife lurking in the foliage. Perhaps you’ll glimpse the hooked snout of a Baird’s tapir, the leopard-like spots of an ocelot, or high in the canopy, the furtive movements of spider monkeys. The terrain can prove tricky and steep at certain spots; travel at a pace comfortable for you. Arrive at Río Celeste waterfall, which thunders into a stunning blue lagoon that seems to glow; your guide shares with you local myths attributing the color. Enjoy free time here, feel the waterfall mist and soak up the surrounding beauty. If you’re lucky, maybe blue morpho butterflies will flutter by.Next, continue to Los Teñideros, where two clear-water rivers meet. Watch in amazement as the water turns blue at the point where the currents crash together, an illusion created by chemical reactions of volcanic minerals. Take a short video to capture this weird but wonderful natural episode. Follow your guide out of the park, dig into lunch at a local restaurant serving delectable regional cuisine and then relax during the drive back to your hotel.
Arenal Observatory and Hiking Tour from La Fortuna
Your tour begins at 2:00pm when you are picked up from your hotel located in La Fortuna. You'll enjoy a 45-minute drive as you travel to the far side of the volcano where you'll be able to see the Arenal from different angles. You'll be taken to the Observatory lodge. Here, you'll enjoy a picturesque panoramic view of the volcano and Arenal Lake. You'll then hike through gardens and forests, passing two hanging bridges. You'll visit Danta river and waterfall. Along the way, your guide will explain the ecosystem, the volcanoes and point out the different animals you'll see. Some of the animals you may see include monkeys and tropical birds. You'll visit the Arenal Observatory with its informative museum where you will learn more about the volcano and its history. You will finish the hike at the Observatory lodge to watch the sunset over Lake Arenal. On your drive down from the lodge, you may be able to see the red-eyed tree frog. To finish the tour in the most relaxing way, your last stop will be to the natural hot water river where you can relax in its soothing warm water. Your visit here will be for about an hour. You can enjoy a volcanic mud facial and a complimentary cocktail. You'll be taken back to your hotel by about 8:00pm depending on local traffic.