Should you’ve seen photographs of the magnificent Arenal Volcano, you could have seemingly heard of La Fortuna, the city at its base. Identified for having a few of Costa Rica’s greatest journey actions, it attracts guests who’re prepared to get their adrenaline repair in one of many nation’s most lovely spots.
That’s not all there’s to get pleasure from in La Fortuna, nevertheless. Many guests include the hope of swimming subsequent to the unbelievable waterfall there, seeing the color-changing waters of Río Celeste, and recognizing various wildlife.
From breaking down how to go to the waterfall to different actions in La Fortuna and the place to keep, it is a full information to some of the sought-after locations in Costa Rica:
La Fortuna Waterfall: What You Want to Know
At 230 ft tall, the La Fortuna Waterfall is a showstopper. Because the water barrels into the pool under, you possibly can really feel its mighty pressure because it generates a misty breeze that’s nothing wanting magical. Talking of the pool under, you possibly can swim in its baby-blue water, including to the already stellar expertise of being so shut to the cascade.
The waterfall is without doubt one of the hottest actions in La Fortuna. In contrast to others I had been to in Costa Rica, I rapidly realized that there was a substantial amount of complexity round visiting it. So that you don’t make the identical errors I did, listed here are crucial stuff you want to know:
How to go to La Fortuna Waterfall
The very first thing to know is that the waterfall itself is a part of Arenal Nationwide Park. Nonetheless, among the entry factors round it are on personal property. I do know, it sounds complicated.
A method to go to is to guide a ticket by way of the Catarata La Fortuna firm, that are $18 plus tax and embrace entry to lockers and a platform that serves as a viewpoint, very shut to the bottom of the falls. By visiting this manner, you could have entry to every part close by, together with the swimming areas. The hike to the waterfall contains climbing 530 steps, so be prepared for a hefty exercise on the way in which again up.
The opposite means to go to is on a tour like this one. The draw back is which you can’t entry the overlook, however in any other case it’s virtually the identical expertise. The doorway just isn’t the identical one, and you are taking a distinct nature path, alongside which you’ll discover a hanging bridge and hike alongside the river. I went this manner and loved it.
Greatest time to go to La Fortuna Waterfall
I visited La Fortuna Waterfall throughout wet season, in July. Trying again, I might not advocate going throughout this time when you don’t plan on renting a automotive. I relied on a tour to get to the waterfall, as the value of taxis to get there plus the doorway price would have set me again virtually as a lot as a tour. The tour included further actions, so this made probably the most sense for me.
Nonetheless, doing that implies that you don’t have management over what time you get to the waterfall. Once I went, there have been so many individuals there that it was arduous to transfer round. Then it began to rain, and we rapidly had to go away, because the wet situations could make the rocks slippery and due to this fact harmful. I additionally noticed the water dramatically change colour from vivid child blue to brown because it rained, which was lower than best.
Should you hire a automotive in La Fortuna, intention to get to the waterfall proper when the doorway opens at 7am. That means, you beat the tour crowds and have a greater likelihood of seeing the blue water, because the rain normally comes within the afternoon. The most recent you possibly can enter is 4pm; the doorway closes at 5pm.
Swimming at La Fortuna Waterfall
There are two areas the place you possibly can swim right here. One is in Río Fortuna, the river that flows from the waterfall. It has various depths, and the swimming space stretches a few hundred ft, with giant boulders speckled all through. The intense blue water is beautiful, particularly in distinction with the deep greens of the encompassing rain forest.
The opposite swimming space is on the base of the waterfall. You possibly can attempt to see how shut you will get to the autumn itself, however the sheer pressure of the water plummeting down creates a robust present, so that you gained’t get very removed from the water’s edge. In any case, this swimming space is gorgeous, and the cool temperatures are a welcome change from the thick warmth.
Extra Issues to Do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
1. Loosen up within the sizzling springs
Due to volcanic exercise from Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is wealthy in sizzling springs. There are a lot of locations to select from the place you possibly can go for a soak, with a variety in costs and specs. Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa is probably the most well-known. You don’t have to be a visitor on the resort to go to the recent springs, which embrace a extra pure sizzling river space as well as to sizzling spring swimming pools. The day passes right here vary from $75 to $110 and embrace at the least one meal on the resort. This was expensive for me, so I went on a mission to discover a extra inexpensive choice.
I checked out Loosen up Termalitas (see map under for the situation) which was solely $18. Right here you’ll discover a number of swimming pools with various sizes and warmth ranges. I loved soaking within the hottest pool, however I’ve to admit that it felt extra like an affordable waterpark than a pure sizzling spring. This was additionally one of many solely locations I visited in La Fortuna the place I used to be the odd one out as a foreigner, because it’s extra of a neighborhood hangout.
One other one which I visited was Baldi Sizzling Springs, which has day passes beginning at $40. It has a extra elevated really feel than Termalitas however the identical kind of format, with a number of swimming pools at completely different temperatures. I loved Baldi much more, as a result of there was total a greater number of swimming pools.
2. Take a dip in a sizzling river
If you would like to expertise a sizzling spring without cost, you possibly can go down to Río Chollín. It’s the identical sizzling river that goes by way of Tabacón however is totally free and simple to entry. It is a common spot amongst locals and will get very full in the course of the day, so go to within the morning for a greater likelihood of getting some peace and quiet within the river.
To get to Chollín, observe the indicators for the Tabacón resort. When you move the doorway to Tabacón, the doorway to the free sizzling river is on the alternative facet of the road. There’s nowhere to park in addition to proper on the facet of the street. Should you take a taxi, simply allow them to know you’re going to Chollín, and they need to know the place to drop you off.
Remember the fact that the river is harmful to go to when there’s heavy rainfall. The rain causes the river to rise quickly, plus the once-bluish river turns a muddy brown.
3. Go zip-lining over the rain forest
La Fortuna is the go-to vacation spot in Costa Rica for adventurous vacationers who need to get their adrenaline pumping. You’ll discover instantly that there are ample alternatives for zip-lining marketed round city.
Arenal Mundo Adventures is without doubt one of the greatest locations to go zip-lining in La Fortuna, due to the number of cables they’ve and the worth for the value. The AMA Excessive Tour provides seven cover traces, round-trip transportation out of your lodging, and a naturalist information for $54 plus tax.
4. Head out on a tour
Costa Rica felt to me just like the land of the excursions, with what felt like lots of of various corporations all working in the identical place and providing practically an identical experiences. This doesn’t have to be a foul factor, although. I really felt like I used to be ready to go to extra locations than I might have in any other case, for the reason that excursions take the stress off of discovering transportation, which is difficult in La Fortuna.
If you’re backpacking like I used to be, take into account doing at the least one full-day tour to get your bearings whenever you arrive. I did this waterfall, Arenal Volcano, and sizzling springs tour, which was an ideal worth for the value because it included all park charges, lunch, and entry to a sizzling spring on the finish. I ended up reserving one other tour with the identical firm, Pink Lava Excursions, to go to Río Celeste as nicely.
5. Have the final word white-water rafting expertise
Rafting is one other common adrenaline-pumping exercise in La Fortuna that draws hundreds of holiday makers per 12 months. There’s a seemingly infinite variety of corporations that supply white-water rafting experiences, like this one which you can guide on Get Your Guide. It contains transportation, a meal, and a information.
Becoming a member of a tour is the best means to go white-water rafting in La Fortuna, as most corporations function the identical means. They virtually at all times present resort pickup and drop-off, making transportation simpler. The rafting websites are outdoors of La Fortuna, so having transportation is a large plus.
6. Strive to catch a glimpse of the Arenal Volcano
I’ve to sadly report that I by no means noticed the highest of the Arenal Volcano whereas I used to be in La Fortuna, due to the climate situations. For the reason that clouds hold so low right here, it’s robust to get a glimpse of it in the course of the wet season.
The solar units behind the volcano, so heading out to the primary avenue in La Fortuna for sundown means you may find a way to see a formidable show of colours, with the silhouette of the volcano including to the surroundings.
7. Admire Río Celeste’s vibrant colour
The intense-blue Río Celeste flows by way of the Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Park, about 90 minutes from La Fortuna. I went on a tour to Tenorio, since getting there with no automotive proved to be costlier. The park is smaller than Arenal Nationwide Park, however simply as full of wildlife and pure wonders to see.
Río Celeste is purpose sufficient to go to the park, as its blue colour is a spectacular sight by itself. The paths within the park weave by way of the jungle, operating parallel to the river for someday earlier than finally crossing it on a small hanging bridge.
8. Don’t miss out on the Río Celeste Waterfall
Should you thought Río Celeste was spectacular, wait till you see the waterfall. This large cascade is really a magical sight, because the white falls distinction fantastically with the luxurious inexperienced foliage and vivid blue water.
There are lots of of steps main down to the waterfall, and the way in which again up is a doozy. Convey loads of water — you’ll want it! One other essential tip for visiting the Río Celeste waterfall is that it will get fairly crowded. I didn’t have the choice of when to go to, since I used to be on the mercy of the tour schedule, but when I had been to do it once more, I’d go by myself and take a look at to enter the park proper when it opens at 8am.
9. See the work of “God’s Paintbrush”
After seeing the colour of Río Celeste and admiring it once more on the waterfall, you could be left questioning how the water will get its hue. On the website referred to as El Teñidero inside Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Park, you possibly can see the chemical response that causes the change within the river’s colour with your individual eyes.
Native legend has it that that is the place God cleaned his paintbrush whereas portray the sky, giving the river its colour. Guides will inform you that these two variations of the story, the scientific and the religious, are equally revered and essential to the Costa Rican individuals.
10. Spot wildlife
The sheer quantity of wildlife in La Fortuna is spectacular, which makes it an apparent selection for animal fans. In each Arenal and Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Parks, I couldn’t imagine what number of completely different sorts of animals there have been, lots of which I’d by no means seen earlier than! Since I opted out of getting a information in Manuel Antonio (5 hours to the south), I went for excursions in La Fortuna. This completely paid off, as a result of my guides had been specialists at recognizing animals, even from far-off. From uncommon sorts of Quetzal birds to brightly coloured snakes and hidden tarantulas, I used to be amazed to see so many critters. There are additionally sloths, frogs, lizards, monkeys, and small floor mammals to see.
If this sounds proper up your alley, take into account this twilight safari tour, which takes place on the Peñas Blancas River.
11. Hike the Bogarín Path
If a pal in San José hadn’t talked about visiting the Bogarín Path, I may need missed it. I’m so glad I didn’t, as a result of it was one in every of my favourite locations in all of La Fortuna. The path, not like the nationwide parks, is on personal property and maintained by the proprietor and his crew of conservationists.
This park is small however mighty. It solely has about 1.5 miles of strolling trails, however there’s a formidable density of untamed animals residing there. I noticed a sloth, a number of pink and blue tree frogs, a few small snakes, and dozens of varieties of birds right here — all with no information.
You possibly can go to the Bogarín Path with no information for $15 plus tax, or guide a gaggle tour for $50. A guided tour is nice if you’d like a extra in-depth expertise, though I completely loved having the liberty to stroll alongside the paths by myself.
The place to Keep in La Fortuna
There’s a variety of lodging in La Fortuna. From quaint Airbnbs to small inns to gigantic sizzling springs resorts, there’s actually one thing for each type of traveler. Since I used to be in search of one thing extra inexpensive and centrally situated, I went with FAS, a small resort only a block away from the city middle. It’s a family-owned resort with solely eight rooms, and it grants free entry to some close by sizzling springs.
I cherished the mom-and-pop environment of FAS and acquired to meet the proprietor’s complete household. As a solo feminine traveler, I can wholeheartedly advocate this place due to the nice and cozy hospitality I acquired there. You possibly can guide your keep at FAS by way of Hostelworld.
For different varieties of vacationers, listed here are my suggestions for the place to keep in La Fortuna:
Backpackers on a price range: Poshpackers Hostel
Situated proper on the primary avenue in La Fortuna throughout from the city middle, you’ll discover Poshpackers Hostel. Specializing in elevating the backpacker expertise whereas maintaining costs inexpensive, it has among the greatest charges for the worth in La Fortuna. Dorms are simply $18 per night time; personal rooms begin at $56. Comparatively, different hostels within the space start round $20 for a dorm room and $70 for a non-public room, so Poshpackers is a discount.
Mid-range vacationers with a automotive: Casa Luna Resort & Spa
With nature at its doorstep, Casa Luna Resort & Spa makes certain that visitors can get pleasure from beautiful views of Arenal Volcano and the encompassing jungle. The resort has its personal nature trails, together with a pool and 4 jacuzzis. Casa Luna is about two miles away from La Fortuna’s city middle, which makes it an ideal choice for vacationers who’ve a automotive, since you’ll find a way to escape the bustle of the town and reap the benefits of the seclusion.
Rooms at Casa Luna Resort & Spa begin at $160 per night time, which is about mid-range for this space.
In search of luxurious: Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa
When it comes to luxurious stays in La Fortuna, it doesn’t get a lot better than Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa. To start with, it’s most well-known for its pure sizzling springs and one of many solely such resorts that has entry to the recent river itself, as opposed to the man-made swimming pools that you just’ll discover at different resorts.
Rooms at Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa begin round $300 per night time and go up to round $700. Contemplating a day move for simply the recent springs begins at $75, staying right here and having fun with the recent springs for no further price makes lots of sense.
How to Get to La Fortuna
This is without doubt one of the best locations to get to in Costa Rica due to its reputation. From San José, you possibly can take a bus to La Fortuna at Terminal 7-10 for about $5 and the journey takes between 4-6 hours relying on site visitors. Go to the station the day earlier than you journey to verify the schedule, because it isn’t posted on-line.
If you’re coming from Monteverde like I used to be, I like to recommend taking a bus-boat-bus shuttle like this one. Lake Arenal is between Monteverde and La Fortuna, and makes for an elevated journey expertise when you get to take a ship throughout the lake. It’s undoubtedly extra expensive than taking public transportation, however fully price it.
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Now you’re prepared to begin planning your subsequent epic Costa Rican journey!
Of these items to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica, what are you most excited for?