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In the eight days Dad and I spend in Costa Rica, we saw so many different cities. There were interesting and delicious aspects of every place we went, but one place just had that special something. Located in the shadow of the active Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna had excitement, charm, and awesome volcano views. Make sure you visit La Fortuna, Costa Rica next time you are exploring the land of pura vida. 

Arenal Volcano

Getting around La Fortuna

If you are coming from San Jose, you can rent a car and enjoy a winding three hour drive through the mountains. You can also take a bus from San Jose to La Fortuna, which takes a bit longer. The bus station is in downtown and everything in town is walkable. A car is necessary to get to the natural attractions around La Fortuna unless you plan to do an organized tour with a tour company. Many organized tours provide transportation from a pick up location, but this might not be ideal if you want to go at your own pace.

AirBnb Success in La Fortuna 

Two of my all-time favorite Airbnb’s were in La Fortuna. Dad and I booked the first Airbnb thinking we would spend one night in La Fortuna, but we loved the town so much we decided to stay another night. We reached out to our host to extend our stay, and our first Airbnb was already booked for the second night. He suggested another property of his that was equally excellent, so we got to experience two different areas of La Fortuna.

Our incredible view

Both were cosy, two bedroom apartments with awesome views. They were both very close to town. The first was about a three minute drive, but there was a side walk most of the way so it could easily be walked. The second was a few minute walk to the center of town through a cute family neighborhood. At both locations, families were sitting out on their porches and kids were playing outside. In the evening, the park in the center of town came to life with people playing soccer, throwing the frisbee, and hanging out. The school was very close to the center of town and we could hear the band practicing. From every street, you can see the massive Arenal Volcano.

Downdown La Fortuna

Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

The town of La Fortuna has great vibes, and it is surrounded by stunning natural beauty that only an enormous volcano can create. We took a morning walk through Arenal Hanging Bridges Park where we saw monkeys and birds. The monkeys were clearly used to packs of humans walking through their jungle living rooms, and they made sure to strike a few poses for the cameras.

Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

Monkey friends at Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

Natural Beauties

The La Fortuna Waterfall

In the afternoon, we visited the La Fortuna Waterfall. Sure, it might look quiet and tranquil in the pictures, but this thing is a beast. With the force of a thousand fire hydrants or pressure washers or bowling balls, the waterfall spills over a rock face at break-neck speeds and swirls into a turquoise pool at the bottom. The current is strong. Strong enough that dad and I would cling to boulders in the water and the current would simply lift us AND THE BOULDER and carry us away if we weren’t holding our ground. The water is churning and cool, a delicious break after hiking down 500 steps. When you get to the bottom, there is a lifeguard who tells you not to go under the waterfall or basically you will be toast.

It is nature at its most powerful, most beautiful.

The La Fortuna waterfall from the top

Aaaand…. from the bottom

Swimming at La Fortuna waterfall

After being sufficiently cooled down, we warmed back up by hiking 500 steps back. Thankfully, there were motivational sloth posters along the way reminding climbers that they got this.

Don’t forget Lunch!

La Fortuna is also home to my favorite soda (or local diner) in Costa Rica, Soda Hormiga. It had great veggie friendly options and was a little off the beaten path, so it didn’t have the touristy feel that some places had. It was also the first place I had this delicious yellow squash mixture that I need to learn how to recreate!


Because it is right by the volcano, La Fortuna has famous hot springs. On this trip, it was too hot to even think about getting in a pool of hot water, but in the future I would love to take a dip in these natural hot tubs.

When traveling through Costa Rica, plan to spend some time in La Fortuna! It has a slower feel than the big cities, but there is no shortage of beautiful and awesome things to do.

Arenal Hanging Bridges Park

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Categories: Costa Rica


Anne Draper · October 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

You certainly made this sound like a perfect getaway destination.
I would love to join you next time you go.

    Nic · October 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I hope you do! Thank you 🙂

Ron · January 1, 2018 at 1:19 pm

Simply beautiful. I heard that Jurassic park was filmed somewhere nearby and it does indeed look “prehistoric”. Thank you for sharing your experience…very helpful for someone planning a trip to the area. Costa Rica is definitely more than just beautiful beaches.

    Nic · January 4, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! The beaches are spectacular, but there are hidden gems all over this country. I am excited to spend more time here in the future. 🙂

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