La Fortuna is a must-do when visiting Costa Rica. From wildlife to hot springs it has something for everyone. We have visited La Fortuna twice, once on our honeymoon, and once on our backpacking trip when my sister joined us!
On our most recent trip we stayed in a small rustic hotel owned by a lovely family. The rooms weren’t much but the volcano views were insane! Plus the hospitality was unparalleled. Check it out here.
We were also in La Fortuna on Easter. And while we ended up celebrating the holiday in nature rather than in church, but there is a gorgeous small church right on the main plaza.
The joke in La Fortuna is if you want to see a sloth look pn the side of the road for a bunch of people with cameras. That is so true! They are in the trees close to town and are so adorable. You must stop to take 100 pictures that will only look like a ball of fur later. We really enjoyed all of the fun activities in La Fortuna!
Read about all of our Costa Rica travels here.
1. Relax in the Hot Springs
Hot springs tourism is a thing when visiting La Fortuna. Tabacon is a famous luxury hotel and spa which has dozens of hot springs including private ones for hotel guests only. It is so fabulous! We stayed here on our honeymoon. When we re-visited on our backpacking trip we were on more of a budget but still wanted to indulge in the hot springs so we headed to Eco Termales where we paid $40 for a day pass. There is an option that includes a buffet lunch but we skipped on that and ended up grabbing nachos at the pool bar which were great! Eco Termales was very nice and perfect for a day trip. They have lockers and changing rooms so you don’t have to worry about anything. Insider Tip: Snag a chair first thing! We headed straight for the pools and were left laying our towels on concrete.
There are also public hot springs literally steps from Tabacon. These are great! While they are much more casual, think people barbecuing and babies everywhere, they are equally as relaxing. And they are absolutely free! Simply park on the side of the road before Tabacon and you will see people in the springs. You may have to pay a local guy to “watch” your car. It’s not official but better safe than sorry right?! Because it’s free you can bring food and drinks and stay as long as you want. We brought a bottle of wine. If you can get past wading through warm water in a graffiti filled tunnel, then you’ll be fine!
2. Swim in the La Fortuna Waterfall
The La Fortuna Waterfall is seriously epic! This 230 ft waterfall is quite a little hike at 400+ steps, but it is absolutely worth it. We visited here on both trips and the second time was equally impressive. Go early to avoid the crowd. It opens at 8am even though Google says 7am. The swim is cold but it is invigorating! Once at the bottom be sure to walk to the left towards the stream to see more natural beauty.
3. Visit Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National Park is a must do! At a cost of only $15 You get to see volcanic rock, huge trees, and tons of wildlife! We saw monkeys, warthogs, and toucans! Drive down to the other park entrance (your ticket is valid for both) to see beautiful views of the lake and volcano. We forgot our camera for the second part, (cringe!)
4. Eat Delicious Food
La Fortuna has surprisingly good food and lots of options compared to most Central American cities. We especially loved the pizza at La Leña and the sushi at Kappa Sushi. La Fortuna also has amazing fresh juices (my favorite is maracuya!) and decent craft beer!
5. Sip Coffee at Red Frog Coffee Roasters
I’ve already mentioned food in La Fortuna but Red Frog gets its own category when it comes to delicious food and drinks. First, the coffee! It is outstanding, and the owner does it all with a sock filter! We have recently had coffee in Cuba and Colombia and I must say this one is top notch. We came once for coffee and once again to try the breakfast! It may not look like much but it is an absolute must-do when in La Fortuna.
La Fortuna is a tourism hub but it is the perfect base camp for any adventures you have planned. With abundant wildlife and a good restaurant scene it is a Central America must visit spot!
Want more information to plan your trip to Arenal and La Fortuna? Check out the Costa Rica Lonely Planet here.
Having fun in La Fortuna,