La Fortuna, Costa Rica : Things to Do

The area around La Fortuna, Costa Rica is a “must see” for any visitor. Home to lush jungle, active volcanoes, waterfalls, and hundreds of sloths, it is a tropical (humid) paradise! Plus, it’s named “fortune”, but sits at the base of an active volcano- you have to love that optimism!

Whether you want to go hiking, rafting, and kayaking- or just relax in natural volcanic hot springs, you will definitely find something you love. Read my tips for the best things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica:

I have visited La Fortuna on four separate occasions over a span of five years. This is what I recommend most:

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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 using their hotel day pass, and always loved it.
tabacon thermal spa, hot spring
Image via Tabacon’s Website

⇒Read my suggested 7-10 day itinerary in Costa Rica 

Kayaking Many visitors go out on Lake Arenal for views of the active Arenal volcano hovering above. The weather here is unpredictable though, 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.lake arenal, la fortuna costa rica
kayak lake arenal
Some people in my group kayaking on the lake

Click for more Arenal day trip options and activities

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 terms of views, especially if you go on a cloudy day.
volcano arenal, la fortuna costa rica hike
A typical “cloudy day” view we had
arenal volcano hike, la fortuna
One of the scenic overlooks

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 gorgeous jungle, and can enjoy incredible views and 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!

la fortuna costa rica, waterfall


White Water Rafting There are some nearby rafting 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 a great 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 Arenal ziplining options too. Check that link for a list! Just as a warning: when it rains, the rust from the metal can leak onto your clothing, so when you go ziplining, always wear something you are okay with being ruined!
ziplining, la fortuna costa rica
Not the most glamorous photo of me- but zip lining is SO FUN

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 convenient option is to book a private or shared shuttle into La Fortuna.
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! Pura vida!

More helpful links:
♥ Get yourself some travel insurance– honestly, don’t go abroad without it!
♥ Book your hotels with my go-to platform,
♥ Find organized day trips or tours all over Costa Rica
♥ Browse my Amazon storefront to see my favorite travel products
♥ Discover my favorite beach towns in Costa Rica
♥ Read about why I say Costa Rica is the perfect study abroad destination
♥ Follow me on Instagram, and send me a DM with any questions!

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Things to do with 1-3 days in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

My top things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica!

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