Ready for an epic adventure? La Fortuna Costa Rica is the perfect place to experience the thrill of waterfall jumping or try your hand at canyoning. Extreme sports get tons of attention here, but La Fortuna is also the ideal escape for those who long for a relaxing break. Part peaceful getaway, part adrenaline junkie paradise, it’s an incredible place to experience life at your own pace.
A Quick Introduction to La Fortuna
La Fortuna may be a small town with a quiet atmosphere, but don’t let the peaceful surroundings fool you. Whether you’re a dedicated adrenaline junkie or if you’re simply hoping to unwind and enjoy Costa Rica’s laid-back side, you’ll find that there are tons of unusual things to do in La Fortuna.
So, why make this community your home while vacationing or traveling the world digital nomad style? Staying In La Fortuna gives you endless opportunities for trekking through exotic landscapes and experiencing the rush of whitewater adventures. It’s also the perfect place for reenergizing yourself with spa treatments and long, lazy soaks in natural hot springs..
These are just a few ways to make the most of your trip. Here’s our list of 25 of the best things to do in La Fortuna.
Get Familiar with Arenal National Park
Arenal National Park is second to none! With a live volcano, a massive lake, curious monkeys, and more than 500 bird species, it’s the perfect place to experience La Fortuna’s wild, natural beauty. There are quite a few things to do in Arenal Costa Rica, so consider setting a day aside to explore.
Climb a Live Volcano
If your plans include climbing Arenal volcano, you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime. Your Arenal volcano tour will start around 5:30 a.m., and you’ll stop at bases that offer sweeping views of La Fortuna and the surrounding area. Don’t worry – the route is beautiful and you’ll feel perfectly safe! Guided Arenal volcano climbing tours stop short of the summit as hot gas and steam make the active caldera unsafe to enter.
Enjoy Endless Hiking Trails
Lace up your boots and stretch your legs, because there’s no shortage of hiking in Arenal national park and the surrounding area. Try a La Fortuna waterfall hike that winds through lush jungle landscapes. For something completely unique, take a guided Arenal volcano hike tour. Here, you’ll cross fields of black lava rocks and deep canyons before making your way to the Arenal Observatory for an amazing view of the valley below.
Go Mountain Biking
Come face to face with Costa Rican wildlife as you pedal through lush landscapes, eventually making your way to the shore of Lake Arenal, the perfect spot to unwind with a relaxing swim! Most mountain bike tours are beginner-friendly, with plenty of flat terrain and a few short hills.
Check Out the Hanging Bridges
The arenal hanging bridges tour winds its way through a beautiful nature preserve. Fourteen bridges mean views of lush canyons, and well-maintained trails lead the way to La Fortuna waterfall. A short hike takes you to a crystal-clear pool, where you’re welcome to enjoy a refreshing swim!
Discover Lake Arenal
For jaw-dropping views of Lake Arenal National Park from the water, head for Costa Rica’s largest lake. Located just 10 miles from La Fortuna, Lake Arenal Costa Rica covers 33 square miles plus, it’s a hub for all things water-related. Whether it’s kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding or renting a pedal board if you’re up for an unusual adventure, we’ve got you covered…
See the Jungle from Above
La Fortuna is home to the best canopy tour Costa Rica has to offer, complete with spectacular sights and the sounds of birds calling. High in the treetops, you’ll make your way from one platform to another, encountering wildlife as you go. No special skills are required for this Arenal canopy adventure since every tour begins with instructions for safe navigation.
See How Coffee is Grown
If java is your lifeblood, you’ll have a whole new appreciation for it after experiencing a Costa Rica coffee tour. Besides an up-close encounter with the plants that make these delicious beans possible, you’ll learn about the history of coffee, its role in Costa Rican culture, and of course, tasting is part of the tour too!
Go on a Safari Float
Guided safari floats take you deep into the jungle, where you’ll see sleepy sloths and curious monkeys peeking out from hiding spots among the trees. If you’re lucky, you may even catch sleepy iguanas, river turtles, and crocodiles posing for photos along the river’s edge.
Try Your Hand at Canyoning
Get the ultimate adrenaline rush! Canyoning La Fortuna Costa Rica is all about steep rappels and thrilling zipline rides, plus a scenic 4x4 trek. You’ll get wet and dirty on this adventure, but don’t worry: You can hop into dry clothes in private change rooms once your tour comes to an end. Canyoning is an unforgettable experience, topping the list of the most exciting things to do in La Fortuna.
See Selvatura Park
Experience the unique beauty of Costa Rica’s cloud forest with a side trip to Selvatura Park, located near Monteverde. With 850 acres to explore, it features butterfly and hummingbird gardens, hanging bridges, zipline canopy tours and more.
Relax at Arenal Hot Springs
For natural hot springs, La Fortuna is next to impossible to beat. While there are many different hot springs to experience throughout the area, Baldi Hot Springs is among the best. Here, crystalline waterfalls plunge into 25 warm, pure thermal water pools. Meals and light refreshments are available in case you’d like to spend all day floating in dreamy blue water.
Don’t worry if you’re a little short on time. Many tours and packages end with a visit to a La Fortuna hot springs resort – perfect for relaxing at the end of an adventurous day, and one of the best things to do in Arenal Costa Rica!
Experience the Jungle at Night
After dark, the jungle takes on a whole new life. Guided tours bring nature lovers face to face with nocturnal wildlife. Try the Peñas Blancas Nocturnal Safari Float for an up-close look at monkeys, long-nosed bats, caimans, and more.
Be on the lookout for bats and other cave-dwelling creatures as you cool off with an excursion to Venado caves, where massive stalactites and stalagmites wait around every turn. The caverns stretch for about 2,700 meters, winding their way through the dry remains of ancient seabed and underground rivers. Be sure to put a Costa Rica cave tour on your itinerary if you’re looking for unusual things to do in La Fortuna. Top tip: packing swimwear and a change of clothing is a must.
Jump from Waterfalls
Experience an extreme adrenaline rush with a La Fortuna waterfall tour that includes multiple leaps into secret swimming holes. The adventure begins with a heart-pounding rappel down the face of a 140-foot rainforest waterfall and a drop into a deep pool of crystal-clear water. There’s nothing else like it!
Go Horseback Riding
Saddle up and see the landscape from a different vantage point. Some tours include only horseback riding La Fortuna, and others are complete packages that include zip line adventures, relaxing hot springs experiences, and more. If you’re interested in places that are tough to access by foot, be sure to put a horseback ride on your list of things to do in Arenal Costa Rica.
Ride a Sky Tram
Discover a unique way to get in touch with the nature that surrounds La Fortuna Costa Rica: Take in soaring volcanic vistas and see the jungle from above. The Arenal Sky Tram treats you to treetop views from the comfort of an open-air gondola.
Take a Side Trip to Tortuguero National Park
Unforgettable wildlife encounters make Costa Rica’s Tortuguero National Park a must-visit for nature lovers. Easygoing sloths, mischievous monkeys, colorful toucans, and river-dwelling crocodiles are just a few of the animals waiting to greet you. Plus, if you visit between July and October, you’ll encounter sea turtles nesting on the park’s pristine beaches.
Experience the Thrill of Whitewater Rafting
La Fortuna white water rafting is an unforgettably extreme experience. Guides and safety equipment are part of the package, and most tours give you the opportunity to stop for refreshments and a swim. Depending on the season, you may encounter rapids between classes 1 and 4.
Try Whitewater Tubing
Not a fan of paddling? No problem. You can experience the rush of whitewater rafting while riding on your own inflatable tube. This guided adventure takes place on the Balsa River, where ledges and holes create class 1 & 2 rapids that provide a bouncy ride through gorgeous surroundings.
Safari by Kayak or Raft
Kayaking La Fortuna Costa Rica is like nothing else. As you slowly make your way down the Peñas Blancas River, you’ll encounter an array of animals including sloths, monkeys, toucans, and long-legged herons. Other kayak adventures are available at Lake Arenal and on whitewater rapids.
Satisfy Cravings with a Chocolate Tour
This is where the magic happens: On a La Fortuna chocolate tour, you’ll see how bitter cacao is transformed into sweet, delicious goodness, plus you’ll have the opportunity to try your hand at blending chocolatey treats for yourself. Delicious samples are part of the package.
For a guilt-free experience, try an excursion that pairs an activity like whitewater rafting or a La Fortuna waterfall hike with a chocolate tour. If a day of laid-back fun is on your list, look for a tour that combines coffee and chocolate with or without other included activities. Both are among the most popular things to do in La Fortuna.
Take Flight on a Zip Line
Mount Arenal zip line tours are like nothing else on earth. You’ll have your pick of several including Sky Limit, which combines a full range of challenging activities into one heart-pounding adventure. Soar high above the ground on the zipline, scream through the trees on the Tarzan swing, tiptoe across narrow rope bridges, and more. Many popular tour packages combine ziplining with other activities, so you can pack plenty of excitement into a single day.
Feast on Local Fare
From little roadside stands to the best restaurants in La Fortuna Costa Rica, there are tons of delicious options to tempt your taste buds. In all, La Fortuna is home to more than 100 restaurants that offer everything from high-end cuisine to local specialties such as gallo pinto, casados, and arroz con pollo.
Treat Yourself to a Massage
If a relaxing Swedish massage is your idea of the perfect way to unwind after a day of exciting activities, you won’t be disappointed. La Fortuna day spas offer a full range of services that leave you feeling refreshed and ready for whatever lies ahead.
How to Get To La Fortuna
La Fortuna is located in the northwest region of Costa Rica, at the base of Mount Arenal. Many travelers arrive here by way of San Jose, which is just a three-hour drive away. Buses and shuttles run from San Jose to La Fortuna several times each day. Rental cars are an option, as well.
You can also get to La Fortuna from Punta Arenas, Tilaran, or Monte Verde. There are quite a few options for ground travel, and for those who want to save time, national flights into the Arenal / La Fortuna airport are available.
Best Time to Visit La Fortuna
When to visit La Fortuna? We’re glad you asked. While the rainy season has its upsides, most people prefer to come during the dry season, which starts in December and runs through April. This is also the busiest time of year.
If you’re hoping for a combination of good weather and smaller crowds, consider visiting La Fortuna during the shoulder season, which runs from May through mid-August. It rains more during these months but there’s also some sun on most days and the freshly watered landscape is an incredible sight.
Q: What is there to do in La Fortuna?
A: There are plenty of things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica, so there’s never a dull moment: Explore the jungles, try extreme sports like canyoning, take a canopy tour, or climb Mount Arenal. Check out our complete list for 25 suggestions.
Q: How far is La Fortuna from Arenal Volcano?
A: It’s about 10 miles from La Fortuna to the Arenal Volcano entrance.
Q: What can you do at Arenal National Park?
A: Climb Arenal volcano, hike short trails that lead to lava fields and lookout points, or simply enjoy the lush natural surroundings, where you can encounter birds and wildlife.
Q: How long is the La Fortuna waterfall hike?
A: The La Fortuna waterfall hike and swim experience takes about 2 hours. There’s a hanging bridge to cross and 500 steps down to the waterfall’s pool.
Where to Stay: Hotels in La Fortuna
When it comes to Hotels, La Fortuna offers lots of options. Those looking for a luxurious experience will enjoy five-star hotels that offer spas and fine dining. Adventurers in search of a comfortable getaway have plenty of budget-friendly choices too!
At Selina La Fortuna, there are options for everyone, all in stunning surroundings: Get closer to nature in one of our unique teepees, feel at home in a comfy suite, or share a community room with fellow adventurers. Chill by the pool, sip your morning coffee on one of the terraces, and treat yourself to wellness activities like yoga and sound therapy. There’s plenty of coworking space in case productivity is part of your plan, plus there’s an onsite bar where cold beer and cocktails pave the way for relaxation.
With so many things to do in La Fortuna, it’s easy to create the perfect itinerary. Still planning? Check out other Costa Rica experiences. Beautiful beaches and world-class surfing await around Nosara, Jaco, Tamarindo, and Santa Teresa. Manuel Antonio is a getaway every nature lover ought to take at least once. If you’re looking for something completely different, you’ll love the way Puerto Viejo puts you in touch with Costa Rica’s Caribbean side. Whether you’re a thrill seeker, a nature lover, or a combination of the two, this is the perfect place to be.
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