The area around La Fortuna is a “must see” for any visitor to Costa Rica. Home to beautiful jungle, active volcanoes, waterfalls, and hundreds of sloths, it is literally a tropical paradise! Plus, it’s named “fortune” but sits at the base of an active volcano, you gotta love that optimism!
Whether you want to go hiking, rafting, and kayaking, or just relax in a natural volcanic hot spring, you will definitely find something you love here. Read on for my tips on the best things to do in La Fortuna:
I have visited La Fortuna on four separate occasions over a span of five years. While I’m certainly no expert, this is what I recommend most:
Natural Hot Springs– Easily one of my favorite activities in the whole country, this is something unique to the area and definitely very memorable. Several springs here are naturally heated from underground volcanic activity, and so some resorts have taken advantage by building beautiful spas and hotels around them. For a fancy more expensive experience, I highly recommend Tabacón Hot Springs. You can buy day passes to swim there if the hotel is out of your budget like it was for me! For a more affordable experience that’s still great, I have been to Baldí Hot Springs several times and always loved it.
⇒Read my suggested 7-10 day itinerary in Costa Rica
Kayaking– Many visitors go out on Lake Arenal for beautiful views of the active Arenal volcano hovering above. The weather here is unpredictable however, and there is often cloud cover and rain. Keep this in mind, but maybe you will get lucky and still see the volcano on a clear day! There are options to rent kayaks on your own, or take part in a guided tour around the lake.
For organized day trip options and other fun activities, CLICK HERE
Hiking– Arenal National Park is the area immediately surrounding the volcano. The main hiking trail in the park is called “Arenal 1968“, named after the year this volcano last erupted, sadly killing 87 people in the town below. This hiking trail has lots of overlooks, but it is hilly and can take a full day. If you love hiking, I would recommend it, but it honestly wasn’t super rewarding in my opinion in terms of views- especially if you go on a cloudy day.
Waterfalls– One of the most popular hikes is the hike down to the seriously impressive La Fortuna waterfall (Catarata Río Fortuna).You hike down 400 wooden steps into a lush jungle, and can enjoy gorgeous views as well as even swim in the rock pools at the bottom. The only negative about visiting here is hiking the 400+ steps back up to the top!
White Water Rafting– There are some nearby places, but I honestly recommend making a day trip to Rio Celeste (about a 1.5 hour drive away) as it is the perfect place for fun rafting that’s not too intense or scary. I found rafting here to be the perfect combination of adrenaline and relaxation. The water is also a stunning blue color!
Ziplining– While I recommend you go zip lining in Monteverde instead, zip-lining here is better than no zip-lining at all! There are several options in the area too. Check this link for a list. Just as a warning- when it rains the rust from the metal can leak onto your clothing, so wear something you are okay with being ruined!
Getting there and around– The times I have been here, I came via rental car or public bus out of San Jose. There are plenty of options, although I think renting a car is easiest. Another more expensive (but more convenient!) option is to book a private shuttle using EasyRideCR.
Where to stay-If you are able to stay at one of many thermal spring resorts, I would recommend that first. If it’s not in your budget however, AirBNB has many great options, as well as Bookings.com! Pura vida!
Pin it for later -my top things to do in La Fortuna!
As always, all reviews and opinions are my own. However, should you choose to book any of the hotels or excursions linked above, please know I am a member of affiliate programs and may make a small commission.