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La Fortuna

La Fortuna (Costa Rica)

Practical information about La Fortuna

  • Spa and massage
  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Viewpoint
  • Hiking / Trekking
  • Volcano
  • Waterfall
  • Essential
4 / 5 - 2 reviews
How to get there
3hrs by car from San Jose
When to go
From December to April
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of La Fortuna

Travel writer
181 travel articles

One of the best places to see the Arenal volcano and a hub for tourists who enjoy life outdoors.

My suggestion:
Beware of touts, who'll tell you what you want to hear - where to eat, tours, hotels, advice from their brothers/wives/cousins/friends...

To be straight, the town of La Fortuna is not a quaint, authentic, little village - it's a tourist trap where you find food from all over the world, served in restaurants that line the main street and where hotels range from basic to luxury (you get my meaning?). You'll find something for all tastes and budgets - a kind of shabby, mini-Disney World, with a geological attraction and Arenal as its Mickey Mouse.  

It's true that there is nothing particularly enticing in the town, but when you look at where it is situated you'll quickly forget its tacky side. In other words, there are amazing things to do outside the town itself. Firstly, there's the volcano, which looms over the main street. Even though you can no longer see lava streaming down its sides, it's still an incredible view. And it's not often that you'll get the chance to sleep a few kilometers away from one of the most famous volcanic craters in the world.

If you want to go hiking, head to the Fortuna waterfall, where you are allowed to swim and another, inactive, volcano, the Cerro Chato; it's a hard walk but awesome - my personal favorite. You'll find hot thermal springs and tropical gardens in sites that have been well organized for canyoning, rafting, spas, mountain biking...

So you won't get bored at La Fortuna, which, in my opinion, is worth visiting when you travel around Costa Rica.

The church square
View of the Arenal volcano from the town
Travel writer
27 travel articles

La Fortuna is a picturesque town at the foot of the Arenal Volcano, and just a few minutes away from lots of easy to get to hot springs.

My suggestion:
It's worth asking the locals which are the best hot springs at the time because you have to pay to see them, and they come in all sorts, from Las Vegas look alikes to real small corners of nature and calm.

It's one of the rare towns that I found charming during my road-trip in Costa Rica. The church in the center of the village and the omnipresent Arenal Volcano as the backdrop make La Fortuna a real picture postcard town.

As the town is very touristy it has all sorts of places to stay: youth hostels, basic hotels, etc. I slept in a tent and it was really friendly and fun! The same goes for bathing and other activities - they do everything so do your research before you choose.

In the evening my advice is to leave the travelers and tourists behind, jump in a taxi, and go to Bar/Club El Establo, which is where the locals drink and dance to the Latin rhythms.

La Fortuna church