La Fortuna, Costa Rica: The Lucky Tourist Town by Arenal Volcano

La Fortuna is a small town located in a picturesque region of Costa Rica, surrounded by lush rainforest and stunning natural beauty. Its prime location at the foot of the mighty Arenal Volcano adds to its appeal, making it a must-see destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

One of the most striking aspects of La Fortuna is its strong connection to the natural world. The town is surrounded by verdant rainforest, which provides a habitat for a variety of exotic wildlife including toucans, monkeys and sloths. Exploring the trails and trails that meander through the rainforest gives you the chance to witness these creatures in their natural habitat, a truly amazing experience.

The jewel in La Fortuna’s crown is undoubtedly the iconic Arenal Volcano. Tall and proud, its symmetrical conical silhouette dominates the skyline and creates a striking backdrop for the town. Arenal Volcano remained active until 2010, and remnants of volcanic activity are still visible, with occasional puffs of steam rising from the summit. The thermal activity of the volcano also provides excellent opportunities to relax and rejuvenate in natural hot springs heated by the geothermal energy of the volcano.

Its natural wonders, La Fortuna offers a glimpse into vibrant Costa Rican culture. The town is dotted with small restaurants where you can indulge in traditional Costa Rican food, try gallo pinto (a typical dish of rice and beans), casados (a plate of rice, beans, meat and char Herbs) and ceviche (marinated seafood). Local artisans showcase their talents at the town’s markets, offering unique handmade crafts and souvenirs that reflect Costa Rica’s rich cultural heritage.

The adventurous will find plenty to do in La Fortuna. From thrilling activities like zip lining through the rainforest canopy and rappelling down cascading waterfalls, to exhilarating whitewater rafting trips on nearby rivers, the town caters to those looking for an adrenaline rush. Hiking trails such as Arenal Volcano National Park offer breathtaking volcanic vistas, hidden waterfalls and fascinating biodiversity, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the natural wonders of the region.

La Fortuna’s warm and welcoming atmosphere, combined with its breathtaking natural landscape and rich cultural heritage, make it an ideal destination for those wishing to explore the beauty of Costa Rica. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a glimpse into the local way of life, La Fortuna promises an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories of this fascinating corner of the world.

1. La Fortuna Know Before You Go

Before you embark on your journey to La Fortuna, it’s worth gathering some key information to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some important details to keep in mind:

  • Currency: The currency used in La Fortuna and Costa Rica is the Costa Rican Colon (CRC). It is advisable to have some local currency on hand for small purchases, as not all establishments accept credit cards or foreign currency. Currency exchange services are available at the airport and in major towns.
  • Language: The primary language in La Fortuna is Spanish. While some locals may speak English, learning some basic Spanish phrases or carrying a pocket translation guide will help you communicate during your stay.
  • Climate: La Fortuna has a tropical climate with warm temperatures year-round. Daytime temperatures average between 25°C and 35°C (77°F and 95°F), with cooler nights. However, the weather is unpredictable and showers are common, especially during the wet season (May to November). It is recommended to bring light, breathable clothing and a waterproof jacket or umbrella for any changes in the weather.
  • Safety: La Fortuna is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. However, it is always wise to take common-sense precautions to ensure safe travel. Take care of your personal belongings, be aware of your surroundings and avoid displaying valuables or carrying large amounts of cash. It’s also a good idea to have copies of important travel documents and emergency contact numbers.
  • Health and Safety: Before traveling to La Fortuna, it is recommended that you discuss any necessary vaccinations or medical precautions with your healthcare provider. It is also recommended to purchase travel insurance that covers medical emergencies. Remember to drink plenty of water, use sunscreen, and protect yourself from mosquito bites by using insect repellent and wearing long sleeves and long pants, especially when venturing into the rainforest.
  • By keeping these key details in mind and taking the necessary precautions, you’ll be well prepared for an enjoyable and hassle-free trip to La Fortuna. Embrace the natural beauty, immerse yourself in the local culture and create unforgettable memories in this tropical paradise.

2. Things to Do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

In La Fortuna, there are several must-visit attractions and activities that will make your trip unforgettable. Here are a few specific recommendations:

  • Arenal Volcano National Park: Explore the trails and viewpoints of Arenal Volcano National Park, where you can witness the impressive volcanic landscape up close. Hike through lush rainforests, cross hanging bridges, and learn about the volcanic history of the region. Don’t miss the opportunity to relax in the nearby hot springs, which are heated by the volcano’s geothermal activity.
  • La Fortuna Waterfall: Take a short hike through the rainforest to reach the breathtaking La Fortuna Waterfall. Plunge into the refreshing pool at the base of the waterfall or simply admire the powerful cascade from the observation deck. The surrounding natural beauty is sure to leave you in awe.
  • Hanging Bridges: Explore the treetops and enjoy stunning panoramic views of the rainforest on a guided tour of the Arenal Hanging Bridges. Traverse a series of suspended bridges and trails that provide a unique perspective of the ecosystem, allowing you to observe various plant and animal species.
  • Lake Arenal: Venture to Lake Arenal, a picturesque body of water located near La Fortuna. Take a boat tour or enjoy a kayaking excursion on the lake, surrounded by the scenic backdrop of Arenal Volcano and rolling hills. Fishing enthusiasts can also try their luck at catching rainbow bass or machaca.
  • Ecotermales Fortuna: Indulge in a relaxing and rejuvenating experience at Ecotermales Fortuna, a natural hot springs resort. Soak in the warm, mineral-rich waters while surrounded by lush tropical gardens. The tranquil atmosphere and soothing waters provide the perfect way to unwind and connect with nature.

These are just a few of the many activities and attractions available in La Fortuna. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or the chance to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of Costa Rica, La Fortuna offers something for every traveler. Take your time to explore, embrace the beauty of the region, and create lasting memories.

3. La Fortuna Resorts and Hotels

La Fortuna is home to a variety of accommodations that cater to different budgets and preferences. Here are a few recommended resorts and hotels in La Fortuna:

  • Nayara Springs: This luxurious resort offers an intimate and exclusive experience with its secluded villas and personalized service. Nestled in the rainforest, Nayara Springs provides stunning views of Arenal Volcano. Indulge in the private plunge pools, spa services, and exquisite dining options. You can find more information and make bookings on their official website or popular travel booking platforms like or Expedia.
  • The Springs Resort and Spa: Situated on a hillside overlooking Arenal Volcano, The Springs Resort and Spa offers unparalleled views and a wide range of amenities. The resort features numerous hot spring pools, including a swim-up bar and a wildlife sanctuary. Enjoy the luxurious rooms, multiple restaurants, and access to adventure activities. Visit their official website or utilize popular travel booking platforms to make reservations.
  • Arenal Kioro Suites and Spa: This upscale hotel offers spacious suites with panoramic views of Arenal Volcano. Relax in the private hot tubs on each balcony, indulge in the spa treatments, or unwind in the thermal pools. Arenal Kioro Suites and Spa provides a tranquil setting amidst the natural beauty of the area. Check their official website or use online travel booking platforms for availability and reservations.
  • Arenal Manoa Hotel: Set amid lush gardens and boasting fantastic volcano views, Arenal Manoa Hotel offers comfortable rooms and an inviting pool area. This family-friendly hotel provides a relaxing atmosphere and convenient access to nearby attractions. You can find more details and make bookings on their official website or popular travel booking platforms.
  • When booking accommodations in La Fortuna, it’s recommended to compare prices and read reviews on trusted travel websites. Websites like, Expedia, or TripAdvisor can provide comprehensive information, guest reviews, and competitive rates for various hotels and resorts in La Fortuna. Remember to check the amenities, location, and cancellation policies before making your final decision.
  • Choose the accommodation that best suits your needs and preferences, ensuring a comfortable and memorable stay in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

4. Recommended La Fortuna, Costa Rica Restaurants

When it comes to dining in La Fortuna, you’ll find a variety of restaurants offering delicious Costa Rican cuisine. Here are a few recommended options to satisfy your taste buds:

  • Restaurante Benedictus: Located in the heart of La Fortuna, Restaurante Benedictus offers a cozy and welcoming atmosphere. Indulge in traditional Costa Rican dishes such as casados, where you can choose from a variety of meats, including chicken, beef, or fish, accompanied by rice, beans, salad, and plantains. Their extensive menu also includes other local favorites and international options.
  • Soda Viquez: This family-run soda (small restaurant) is a local favorite, known for its authentic Costa Rican cuisine. Enjoy hearty portions of gallo pinto, a traditional breakfast dish consisting of rice and beans, often served with eggs, plantains, and tortillas. Soda Viquez also serves a variety of homemade soups, grilled meats, and fresh seafood Nene’s Restaurant: Situated near the Arenal Volcano National Park, Nene’s Restaurant offers stunning views of the volcano and delicious Costa Rican fare. Try their flavorful ceviche, a dish made with marinated seafood like shrimp or fish, mixed with lime juice, onions, and herbs. You can also enjoy a range of other seafood dishes, grilled La Parrilla de María Bonita: Located in the center of La Fortuna, La Parrilla de María Bonita offers a cozy and rustic ambiance. This restaurant specializes in grilled meats, including succulent steaks and tender grilled chicken. Pair your meal with traditional Costa Rican side dishes like plantains and pico de gallo salsa for an authentic dining experience.
  • Lava Lounge: Situated at the base of Arenal Volcano, Lava Lounge provides a unique dining experience with breathtaking views. Enjoy a variety of dishes ranging from Costa Rican specialties to international cuisine, all prepared with fresh and locally sourced ingredients. Don’t miss their specialty cocktails and desserts.

These are just a few of the many restaurants in La Fortuna that offer delicious Costa Rican cuisine. Exploring the town will allow you to discover more hidden gems and local eateries that will satisfy your cravings for authentic flavors.

5. La Fortuna Town

The town of La Fortuna is a delightful destination worth exploring during your visit. Stroll through its charming streets and immerse yourself in the local culture and vibrant atmosphere. Here are a few highlights to make the most of your time in town:

  • Shop and Discover: As you wander through the streets of La Fortuna, you’ll find a variety of shops and boutiques offering unique souvenirs, handicrafts, and local products. Explore the colorful market stalls where you can find everything from handmade jewelry to traditional Costa Rican coffee. Engage in friendly conversations with the local artisans and learn about their craft.
  • Local Cuisine and Cafés: The town is dotted with cozy cafés and eateries where you can indulge in Costa Rican delicacies and international cuisine. Treat yourself to a cup of freshly brewed coffee, sample local snacks like empanadas or try a traditional Costa Rican casado. Don’t forget to savor the flavors of tropical fruits and juices, which are abundant in the region.
  • Central Park: Take a leisurely stroll to La Fortuna’s Central Park, a bustling gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. Find a shaded bench under the tropical trees and soak up the laid-back ambiance. Observe the daily life of the town as people go about their activities, children play, and vendors sell their goods. It’s a great place to relax, people-watch, and soak in the local culture.
  • Nightlife and Entertainment: La Fortuna comes alive at night with its vibrant nightlife scene. Enjoy live music at local bars and restaurants, where you can dance to the rhythms of reggae, salsa, or traditional Costa Rican music. Join in the festive atmosphere, mingle with locals and fellow travelers, and create unforgettable memories.
  • Local Experiences: Engage in cultural activities and experiences that showcase the traditions and heritage of Costa Rica. Attend a cooking class to learn how to prepare authentic Costa Rican dishes, participate in a traditional dance workshop, or visit a local family-run farm to learn about sustainable agriculture practices. These activities provide a deeper insight into the local way of life and create meaningful connections.

Exploring the town of La Fortuna allows you to immerse yourself in the local community, experience the warmth of the Costa Rican people, and appreciate the vibrant culture that permeates every corner. Take your time to wander, interact with the locals, and embrace the laid-back charm that makes La Fortuna a unique destination.

6. How to Get to La Fortuna

There are several transportation options available to reach La Fortuna, providing flexibility and convenience for travelers. Here are some ways to get to La Fortuna:

  • By Air: The closest international airport to La Fortuna is Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO) in San Jose. From there, you can take a domestic flight to the nearby Arenal Airport (FON). Several local airlines offer flights between the two airports, providing a quick Private Transfers: Many hotels and resorts in La Fortuna offer private transfer services, which can be arranged in advance. This option provides a hassle-free and comfortable journey from the airport directly to your accommodation in La Fortuna.
  • Shared Shuttles: Shared shuttle services are a popular transportation option in Costa Rica. They operate between major tourist destinations and offer door-to-door service. You can book a seat on a shared shuttle from San Jose or other popular destinations, and they will drop you off at your hotel in La Fortuna. This is a convenient and cost-effective option for travelers.
  • Public Buses: Public buses are an economical way to travel in Costa Rica. From San Jose, you can take a direct bus to La Fortuna from the Terminal 7-10 or the Coca-Cola bus station. The journey takes around 4-5 hours and provides an opportunity to enjoy the scenic countryside along the way.
  • Car Rental: If you prefer the flexibility of driving yourself, renting a car is a viable option. Several car rental agencies are available at the airports and in major towns. The drive from San Jose to La Fortuna takes approximately 3-4 hours, depending on traffic and road conditions. It’s important to note that driving in Costa Rica may require an international driver’s license and familiarity with local driving regulations.

It’s advisable to plan your transportation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability and secure the best option for your needs. Consider factors such as budget, convenience, and desired travel experience when choosing your mode of transportation to La Fortuna.

7. What to Pack for La Fortuna, Costa Rica

When packing for your La Fortuna trip, it’s important to consider the tropical climate and the activities you plan to attend. Here is a complete list of what to bring:

  • Clothes: Bring light, breathable clothing for warm weather. Includes t-shirt, tank top, shorts and skirt. For outdoor activities, consider quick-drying and moisture-wicking fabrics. Don’t forget to pack a light sweater or jacket for cooler evenings. Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots are essential, especially if you plan to explore trails or engage in adventurous activities.
  • Swimwear: La Fortuna offers opportunities to relax and swim in hot springs, rivers and waterfalls. Remember to pack your favorite swimsuit or trunks to enjoy these natural attractions.
  • Rain gear: Since La Fortuna often rains, a light raincoat or poncho is recommended. This will keep you dry during outdoor trips or sudden downpours. Consider a waterproof cover for your backpack or backpack to protect your belongings.
  • Sun Protection: Due to the tropical climate, sun protection is essential. Pack high SPF sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the harsh sun. Bringing a lip balm with SPF will also help provide extra protection.
  • Insect repellant: Mosquitoes and other insects can be present in tropical areas such as La Fortuna. Protect yourself from bites by carrying an effective insect repellant that contains DEET or another recommended ingredient.
  • Travel Essentials: Carry a lightweight backpack or daypack to carry your essentials on short trips. Don’t forget to bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated. Charging electronic devices may require a travel adapter, as Costa Rica uses Type A and Type B electrical outlets.
  • Medications and First Aid: If you take any prescription medications, make sure you have adequate supplies during your trip. It’s also wise to pack a basic first aid kit, with essentials like bandages, antiseptic cream, and pain relievers.
  • Electronics and Documents: Remember to bring your camera or smartphone to capture stunning scenery and memorable moments. It’s also important to have a waterproof bag or case to protect your electronics from moisture. Keep copies of your passport, ID, travel documents and important contacts in a safe and easily accessible place.

By packing these essentials, you’ll be well prepared to enjoy the beauty and adventure of La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Remember to pack light, make comfort a priority, and embrace the tropical feel of this extraordinary destination.

From witnessing the awe-inspiring Arenal Volcano and exploring its surrounding national park to indulging in delicious Costa Rican cuisine and immersing yourself in the vibrant local culture, La Fortuna has it all. You’ve had the opportunity to hike through lush rainforests, soak in natural hot springs, and partake in thrilling activities like zip lining and white-water rafting. The friendly locals, lively markets, and charming streets of the town have left a lasting impression.
Throughout your stay, you’ve experienced the magic of La Fortuna’s natural wonders and have been captivated by the beauty of the rainforest, the power of the volcano, and the serenity of its hot springs. The memories of adventurous excursions, the flavors of Costa Rican cuisine, and the warmth of the local community will stay with you for years to come.
La Fortuna has provided you with a glimpse into the incredible biodiversity and cultural richness of Costa Rica. It has allowed you to connect with nature, challenge yourself with thrilling activities, and immerse yourself in the vibrant tapestry of local life.
As you depart from La Fortuna, take a moment to reflect on the beauty and tranquility you’ve experienced. Carry these memories with you and let them inspire your future adventures. Whether you return to explore more of Costa Rica or embark on new journeys around the world, La Fortuna will always hold a special place in your heart.

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