21 Best Things to Do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica for an Epic Trip

view of La Fortuna Costa Rica and Arenal Volcano with plenty of the best things to do in La Fortuna in the area

With an abundance of amazing things to do in La Fortuna including epic waterfalls, volcano treks, hanging bridges and thermal hot springs, I guarantee, you will never want to leave. No wonder La Fortuna is deemed the adventure capital of the country.

During my two weeks in the Arenal Volcano region, I did all the top things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

I stood in front of the thunderous La Fortuna waterfall, strolled across the Mistico hanging bridges, indulged in a few of the best hot springs in Costa Rica like Tabacon, day tripped to the stunningly blue Rio Celeste waterfall, hiked in the Arenal Volcano National Park and spotted the cutest Costa Rica sloths

And, of course, I spoiled myself with delicious chocolate on the top chocolate tour in Costa Rica. I have to say, La Fortuna is rich with exciting activities. For all of you adrenaline-loving folks, the best canyoning, white water rafting and ziplining in the country can be found here, too.

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With the town of La Fortuna at its core, you can find beautiful resorts and fincas all over the countryside of the Arenal Volcano region. Some of the top La Fortuna hotels and Arenal hotels will come with their very own hot springs.

I mean, how amazing is that. After a long day of La Fortuna activities, you can soak the day away in a bubbling thermal pool.

This guide to the best things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica includes my recommended La Fortuna tours, where to eat in La Fortuna (plus heaps more!).

things to do in La Fortuna include finding Costa Rica sloths in the rainforest canopy
Costa Rica Sloth

Best La Fortuna Tours

One of the best ways to experience all of the top things to do in La Fortuna is through an organized day tour:

Volcano, Waterfall + Hot Springs Tour (Top Pick!)
Waterfall, Volcano + Hanging Bridges Tour (Top Pick!)
Canyoning + Waterfall Repelling Tour
Rio Celeste Waterfall Day Tour
Sloths + Wildlife Tour
Rainforest Chocolate Tour

Best Things to Do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Several of the top Costa Rica attractions can be found in La Fortuna and the surrounding Arenal Volcano region. 

Top La Fortuna things to do and top things to do in Arenal Costa Rica are one and the same. My favourite activities in the region were La Fortuna waterfall, Arenal Volcano hike, Mistico hanging bridges and a day trip to Rio Celeste waterfall

I’ve outlined all the top La Fortuna activities, including free things to do in La Fortuna, for your browsing pleasure. 

1. La Fortuna Waterfall

panoramic of the La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica amongst dense jungle on a misty day
From the viewpoint at La Fortuna waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica (otherwise known as Catarata La Fortuna in Spanish) is located a 10 minute drive outside of La Fortuna town. The La Fortuna waterfall hike consists of 530 paved steps down to the falls, with a butterfly garden, orchid garden and on-site restaurant (opens at 9AM). 

Note, you cannot swim in the pool directly in front of the La Fortuna Costa Rica waterfall, rather you can swim in a lagoon a short 30 second walk down river.

La Fortuna Waterfall Hours | 7AM – 5PM Daily
La Fortuna Waterfall Price | $18USD per Adult (Free for Children under 8)

WHERE | La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall Skip The Line Entrance Ticket

2. El Salto Rope Swing

One of the top free things to do in La Fortuna, the El Salto Rope Swing is located at the junction of the main road that heads towards La Fortuna Waterfall (great to combine these two La Fortuna activities!). 

El Salto La Fortuna consists of one epic rope swing over a large deep lagoon that is situated at the base of a small, wide, yet powerful El Salto waterfall. You can also jump from the cliffs surrounding the lagoon. The water is crisp and refreshing.

You can find parking along the main road of El Salto La Fortuna. Make sure to roll up windows, lock doors and leave no valuables behind. 

WHERE | El Salto Rope Swing + Waterfall, La Fortuna

3. Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges La Fortuna

a girl in a white hat and shirt and black shorts walks along a bridge at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges in Costa Rica La Fortuna attractions

Mistico Hanging Bridges Arenal is located a 30-minute drive west of La Fortuna town and is a great la Fortuna things to do combined with an Arenal Volcano hike or the aforementioned La Fortuna waterfall. 

The park at Mistico Costa Rica is nestled into the Arenal jungle with breathtaking views of Arenal Volcano from its starting point. Make your way through several hanging bridges (some of the top hanging bridges in Costa Rica!) and witness life, including flora and fauna, amongst the jungle. 

On my visit to these epic Costa Rica hanging bridges, I witnessed the most stunning pair of motmots, several cute white-nosed Coatimundi (pizote), a small viper snake, and so much beautiful flora and fauna.

I recommend getting to the Mistico park at opening to enjoy the trails and wildlife to yourself.

Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Opening Hours | 6AM – 4PM Daily

WHERE | Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges

Mistico Hanging Bridges Natural History Walk

4. La Fortuna Hot Springs

a girl in a red bathing suit soaks in one of the best hot springs in Costa Rica, one of the top things to do La Fortuna has to offer
EcoTermales Hot Springs

The La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano region contains 12 swimmable hot springs in Costa Rica. When it comes to choosing what hot spring in Costa Rica La Fortuna you would like to spend the morning or afternoon in, I have a few recommendations below based on your priorities and budget. 

Some Arenal hot springs provide luxury spas, swim-up bars or amusement parks for kids. 

All 12 hot springs derive their thermal therapeutic waters directly from Arenal Volcano and provide a luxurious and pampering experience no matter which you choose. 

Indulging and relaxing in a La Fortuna hot springs is an absolute must while in the area and can be great after a hike around Arenal Volcano, like the recommended tour below.

Arenal Volcano + Hot Springs Tour

Luxury La Fortuna Hot Springs: Tabacon

a woman in a black swimming suit sits on the edge of a tiered hot spring at Tabacon, one of the best things to do near La Fortuna

The best natural hot springs in Costa Rica, in my humble opinion, is the Tabacon Hot Springs located at the world-class Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa. As one of the most luxurious La Fortuna hot springs, it offers a swim-up cocktail bar, multiple waterfalls and rivers to choose from, cool-off pools, canopied sun beds, a fine dining restaurant and an indoor cocktail lounge

What I really loved about Tabacon Hot Springs Costa Rica is there were so many opportunities for privacy throughout the property. Therefore, I would highly recommend it for couples, honeymooners and people seeking peace and quiet.

You can purchase a Tabacon hot springs day pass on site that includes access to the majority of the hot springs facilities (besides the guest-only area), locker, towel and delicious 3 course al-a-carte lunch or dinner. 

TIP | Wearing water shoes is strongly recommended. I personally wear these water shoes.

WHERE | Tabacon Hot Springs

Tabacon Hot Springs, Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall + Hanging Bridges Combo Tour

Mid-range La Fortuna Hot Springs: EcoTermales

a manmade hot spring pool with small waterfall and dense rainforest at the best hot springs in La Fortuna Costa Rica

At a mid-range price point, EcoTermales La Fortuna offers natural and man-made pools of differing temperatures and depths. With plenty of opportunity to grab a cocktail at the bar and lounge on the sunbeds, you will definitely experience a few hours of relaxation here. 

Do note, for families, there isn’t much for kids to do here, although when I visited there were definitely a few kids enjoying the shallow, cooler pool. 

A day pass to Ecotermales Costa Rica comes with a buffet lunch, although its nothing to write home about.

Eco Termales Hot Springs Admission Ticket

Family Friendly La Fortuna Hot Springs: Baldi Hot Springs

Baldi Hot Springs is the most family friendly hot springs in La Fortuna and the Arenal region. Baldi is located on a large property with 25 thermal pools, jacuzzis and saunas, restaurants and bars on offer. 

What makes it the most family-friendly Arenal hot springs is its addition of a kid’s play zone (Baldi Kids) with a plethora of interactive activities. 

Baldi Hot Springs Costa Rica is best for families, and large groups of people.

Baldi Hot Springs Day Pass with Lunch or Dinner

Free La Fortuna Hot Springs: Public Tabacon Hot Springs

a hot springs bubbles below heavy rainforest the best free things to do La Fortuna
Free Public Hot Springs downriver of Tabacon

At the top of the best free things to do in La Fortuna, is the public hot springs located just downstream from the famous Tabacon Hot Springs.

As part of the same thermal river, you can park your car on the side of the road, climb down a few rocks by the bridge and enjoy a free hot springs experience. Make sure to bring water shoes!

The free hot springs La Fortuna has to offer is great combined with a hike around Arenal Volcano, like in the below recommended guided tour.

Arenal Volcano + Hot Springs Tour

5. Arenal Volcano Hike

a pathway through jungle along a hike at Lake Arenal, the best things to do in Arenal, Costa Rica
Hiking the Sendero Las Coladas

As a dominant feature of the Arenal region and an epic backdrop to La Fortuna town, a hike around Arenal Volcano is a top La Fortuna Costa Rica activity. There are a couple of hikes to choose from in Arenal Volcano National Park that will take you through forest and lava fields, ending with epic views of Arenal Volcano itself. 

Main Sector of Arenal Volcano National Park

Choose from the Arenal 1968 Trail (3 miles / 4.7km) that will take you past a small lagoon and up to an epic viewpoint of the Volcano with medium difficulty trails. Or, Sendero Las Coladas (meaning Flows Trail), an easy difficulty loop of 2.5 miles (4km) up to an Arenal Volcano mirador.

Half-Day Arenal Volcano Hike

La Peninsula Sector of Arenal Volcano National Park

You can also choose to explore the less frequented Peninsula sector of Arenal Volcano National Park. The Arenal Volcano hiking trail is an easy 0.8miles (1.3km) from the Visitor’s Centre and takes you by a couple of Lake Arenal viewpoints, including a tower you can climb to see epic views over the region and volcano. End the hike at a viewing platform located right on the lake.

I saw plenty of white-nosed Coatimundi, and a variety of interesting birds including the rare white eagle along the peninsula trail!

a woman smiles wearing a white cap and shirt with black purse in front of a jungle with Lake Arenal La Fortuna Costa Rica in the distance
The Peninsula Sector has nice views of Lake Arenal

TIP | Check the La Fortuna weather forecast before hiking. I’d hate for you to miss the view of Arenal Volcano at the end of your hike like I did (it rained the entire time). The best way to avoid ruining one of your Arenal volcano hikes is to start your hike right at sunrise, as it’s common for the sky to clear for the first hour of sunlight every day.

6. Day Trip to Rio Celeste Waterfall

Rio Celeste Waterfall gushes into an electric green blue pool below with rugged cliffs, one of the best day trips from La Fortuna Costa Rica
Viewpoint of Rio Celeste Waterfall

One of my favourite things to do in Arenal was a day trip to Rio Celeste and its bright blue Rio Celeste waterfall. Located in Tenorio Volcano National Park, about a 1.5-hour drive northwest of La Fortuna Costa Rica, I highly recommend scheduling a full day for this experience.

Rio Celeste Costa Rica is comprised of a hiking trail, a river, the famous Rio Celeste waterfalls, a bright blue lagoon, and bubbling thermal waters. There is a lot to see and explore here. Even though my entire trip to Rio Celeste Waterfall Costa Rica was dampened by constant rainfall, it was still a memory I’ll cherish forever (muddy shoes and all).

TIP | Single-use plastics are not allowed in the park, make sure to bring a reusable water bottle. This purifying water bottle is my favourite!

Rio Celeste Opening Hours | 8AM – 2PM Daily
Rio Celeste Entrance Fee | $13.50 USD per person
Best Rio Celeste Tour | Full-Day Rio Celeste Tour

Rio Celeste Waterfall Day Tour

Experience Rio Celeste on Horseback

7. Spotting Costa Rica Sloths

best things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica Sloths
Costa Rica Sloth

You can’t visit Costa Rica and not see a few cute and cuddly sloths. This La Fortuna sloth tour will take you to a multiple viewing spots for the best chance to witness sloths in their natural habitat.

On this 3-4 hour tour you also have a chance to see monkeys, toucans, frogs and more. You will be provided binoculars for your viewing pleasure.

Sloth Tour La Fortuna

Alternatively, you can choose to do a walk through Bogarin Sloth Trail La Fortuna.

8. Chocolate Tour in Costa Rica La Fortuna

red and orange cacao pods sit on a table on a chocolate tour in Costa Rica La Fortuna activities
Chocolate Pod

Y’all, Costa Rica has some of the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten in my life. No joke. As a religious chocolate snob, that is no easy testimonial. I even opted to take two different chocolate tours in la Fortuna while there for two weeks, I couldn’t get enough. 

What’s great about taking a La Fortuna chocolate tour is the educational information about the growth, culture and business of chocolate making in Costa Rica. You won’t find locals eating anything less than 80% dark chocolate, which can be a bit bitter for Western palettes, but you definitely need to try it at least once in your life.

I loved that they toured the plantation and then made chocolate the traditional Costa Rican way. You can then add ingredients to satisfy your cravings. I loved the sea salt and vanilla dark chocolate combo.

I can recommend the purely chocolate Rainforest Chocolate Tour or the combination coffee/chocolate tour through the North Fields Specialty Tour. Both chocolate tour La Fortuna options were top-notch.

Rainforest Chocolate Tour (top pick!)
Eden Chocolate Tour
Don Olivo Chocolate Tour

9. Coffee Tour La Fortuna

Although coffee isn’t grown in the Arenal region (mainly in the neighbouring Central Valley), coffee still happens to be one of Costa Rica’s main exports. Get educated about the process with the coffee and chocolate tour from North Fields as they show you the traditional way to grow, harvest and process the Costa Rican coffee bean. 

Enjoy a cup of freshly brewed medium roast and dark roast coffee and try a few variations of decadent dark chocolate.

North Fields Coffee + Chocolate Tour

10. La Fortuna Cooking Classes in Costa Rica

Join a local Costan Rican chef for a hands-on experience cooking some of the country’s top specialties including ceviche, patacones, chayote picadillo, and encrusted fish all while sipping on a mojito. Enjoy a three-course meal at the finale of your Costa Rica cooking class.

3-Course La Fortuna Cooking Class

Always wanted to learn how to make classic tortillas? This Tortilla Making Cooking Class is your chance!

11. Canyoning in Costa Rica La Fortuna

As the Arenal region’s most popular La Fortuna canyoning tour, the Pure Trek canyoning + waterfall repelling adventure is an absolute must when visiting La Fortuna Costa Rica. Buckle up and repel down four waterfalls and one rock wall. Lunch included. What’s great, is no previous canyoning or repelling experience is necessary, the guides are really great and encouraging.

If you identify as an adrenaline seeker, or even if you don’t, this canyoning adventure will be a highlight of your trip to Costa Rica. You might even see a monkey, sloth or toucan!

TIP | Wear clothes and shoes that can get soaked and don’t bring your camera for photos unless you have a waterproof case.

La Fortuna Canyoning + Waterfall Repelling Tour

12. White Water Rafting La Fortuna

eleven people ride a red raft with turbulent river water with helmets on on a white water rafting La Fortuna activity

Take an hour’s drive through picturesque countryside to reach the thundering rapids of either Balsa River, Sarapique River or Toro River for an epic La Fortuna white water rafting adventure. 

Whether you choose the class 2-3 or class 3-4 tour, you will enjoy a Costa Rican lunch, snacks and beverages along the way. Of course, all rafting gear is provided on the tour. 

White Water Rafting + Wildlife Adventure (Class 2-3) 

  • Balsa River rapids
  • 6 hour duration
  • Starts at 10:30AM

Full-Day White Water Rafting + Zip Line Experience (Class 2-3) 

  • Balsa River rapids
  • 9 hour duration
  • Starts at 7:30AM
  • Includes Zip-lining adventure

Full-Day White Water Rafting Adventure (Class 3-4) 

  • Rio Sarapiqui or Rio Toro rapids
  • 8 hour duration
  • Starts at 8:30AM
  • Optional one-way transfer to San Jose

13. ATV Tour

Hop on your own ATV and zoom through the trails of the Arenal rainforest for a mud-splattering, fun 2 hour ride. If you are new to driving an ATV, don’t fret, your guide on this La Fortuna ATV tour will give you a thorough lesson before the ride on a local Costa Rican farm. You can have the option to book as a couple (riding one ATV) as a solo driver. 

You can also opt to take part in a pampering mud mask facial.

Arenal Volcano ATV Experience

14. La Fortuna Zip Line Tour

a person with a white helmet zip lining La Fortuna top things to do
Zip Lining in La Fortuna Costa Rica

Zip over the iconic bright blue La Fortuna waterfall and through the lush La Fortuna rainforest on this epic zipline adventure. Spend 2.5 hours at the Arenal Mundo Aventura Park ending your adrenaline-rushing excursion with a wind down at the Maleku Cultural Rescue Centre.

Ziplining is one of the most popular things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica, and very family friendly!

La Fortuna Zip Line Adventure

15. Horseback Riding

Tour through the epic landscapes of Arenal Volcano and the surrounding rainforest on the back of a majestic horse. Enjoy the Mistico hanging bridges park and trails of a private natural reserve. Spot Costa Rican animals, birds and plant life on your 2.5 hour horseback riding La Fortuna tour.

You can choose to be picked up from your hotel, or if you have a rental car, you can purchase the tour without transportation. 

Arenal Volcano Horseback Ride

16. Wildlife Safari Float

La Fortuna things to do include floating along the river spotting wildlife

Take a 3.5 hour exploratory cruise down the ​​Penas Blancas on this scenic and serene float safari. Listen to commentary from your naturalist guide and spot quintessential Costa Rican wildlife like monkeys, iguanas, turtles, toucans and a plethora of birdlife. 

End the safari float excursion at a local farm tasting homemade local snacks, all washed down with a hot cup of world renowned Costa Rican coffee, made traditionally from a ‘sock’. 

Wildlife Safari Float Tour

17. Kayak or Paddle Board on Lake Arenal

Experience the stunning views of Arenal Volcano from the waters of Lake Arenal. After a quick lesson on how to use a stand-up paddleboard, you will explore along the shores of Lake Arenal on a 2-5km (1.2-3 miles) paddle, depending on your proficiency.

Take part in challenges along the way and learn extensively about the area and the lake. 

Choose between a kayak (single or tandem) and a paddle board.

Lake Arenal Kayak or Paddle Board Tour

18. La Fortuna Spa Massage

You’ve been canyoning, repelling, white water rafting through the Arenal region, and now it’s time to relax. Enjoy a massage and spa treatment at Spa Bamboo Massages

I loved the aromatherapy massage and facial combo performed in the charming and private backyard setting of a Costa Rican home.

19. Volunteer at a Wildlife Rescue Centre

Dive into a half-day volunteer adventure at a wildlife rescue center near La Fortuna, where you’ll connect with Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity. Engage in hands-on conservation work, from preparing animal meals to habitat maintenance, all while learning from local experts.

This intimate, small-group experience offers a unique glimpse into the lives of exotic species and conservation efforts. Ideal for families and eco-conscious travelers looking to enrich their visit with meaningful action. Discover more about this unforgettable experience and how you can contribute to wildlife preservation.

Volunteer at a La Fortuna Wildlife Rescue Centre

20. Wildlife & Frog Night Tour

a red and blue frog sits on a mossy tree on a tour about wildlife in La Fortuna Costa Rica attractions
Blue Jeans Frog in La Fortuna

Take a journey through La Fortuna’s lush nocturnal forests with a specialized night tour, designed to unveil the mysteries of the jungle after dark. Led by expert naturalist guides, you’ll venture into the heart of the jungle, uncovering the hidden lives of its nocturnal inhabitants. Your guide will share insights into the fascinating behaviors and habitats of species such as vibrant frogs, elusive sloths, fluttering bats, and stealthy reptiles.

Throughout the tour, receive professional advice on how to capture the perfect wildlife photographs, immortalizing your adventure. This intimate, small-group excursion ensures personalized attention, enriching your understanding of the rich biodiversity that thrives in the shadows of La Fortuna.

La Fortuna Best Frogs & Wildlife Night Tour

21. Explore Underground at the Venado Caves

Descend into the depths for a thrilling 4-hour journey through the Venado Caves, departing from La Fortuna. Venture along subterranean paths into breathtaking caverns and hallways etched into the earth over millennia. Dressed in provided gear, light your way through this ancient limestone canvas, once an ocean floor, with a knowledgeable guide leading the adventure.

Embrace the mud and water as you discover spectacular rock sculptures, towering stalactites, and deep stalagmites. Encounter a hidden world where bats flourish in the perpetual twilight of these caves. After resurfacing, relax and reflect on your adventure with a refreshing snack of local fruits.

Venado Caves Underground Experience

Best La Fortuna Costa Rica Tours

a woman with long hair and white top stands before a small waterfall and pool in La Fortuna free things to do
El Salto La Fortuna – one of the best free things to do

Some of the best Costa Rica excursions can be found in the Arenal region surrounding the town of La Fortuna. The top two La Fortuna tours include an easy hike around Arenal Volcano National Park, and a stop at La Fortuna waterfall

Then, you can choose from additional activities like  Mistico hanging bridges, visiting one of the many amazing hot springs in Costa Rica (most located here, like Tabacon) or choose to take a Costa Rica sloths tour or chocolate tour.  

A day trip to Rio Celeste waterfall is also a must thing to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica. 

Top Picks for La Fortuna Tours
Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall + Hot Springs Tour
La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Hike + Hanging Bridges Tour
Canyoning + Waterfall Repelling Tour

Other Cool Things to Do in La Fortuna
Full-Day Rio Celeste Tour
Sloth Tour La Fortuna
Rainforest Chocolate Tour

Where is La Fortuna Costa Rica?

La Fortuna town and Arenal Volcano National Park (including Lake Arenal) are located in the verdant jungle of the northern Alajuela Province. La Fortuna San Carlos can be reached within 3 hours of the major airports of San Jose and Liberia in Costa Rica.

Click on the La Fortuna map below to interact with Google Maps.

Arenal region highlighted on a Map of Costa Rica La Fortuna
The Alajuela Province of Costa Rica
Digital Map of La Fortuna Costa Rica
La Fortuna Town in Arenal Region / Alajuela Province, Costa Rica

About La Fortuna Town + Arenal Volcano National Park

Upon starting my research about things to do in La Fortuna, confusion set in. How is La Fortuna or Arenal different? I saw so many interchangeable references. So, to set things straight, La Fortuna is the main town of the Arenal region. 

The Arenal region includes Arenal Volcano, Lake Arenal and La Fortuna town. La Fortuna town acts as a great base to explore all of the top things to do in Arenal. All in all, there isn’t much to do in terms of activities in downtown La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

If you have a rental car (which I highly recommend you do!) it’s also a nice experience to book a few nights at a hot springs resort in the rural areas of the region. 

About Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano National Park La Fortuna Costa Rica on a sunny partly cloudy day in La Fortuna what to do
Dormant Arenal Volcano

Sitting prominently in the region, the symmetrically beautiful Arenal Volcano is a top attraction for visitors to La Fortuna Costa Rica, with many hiking its surrounds. Until October 2010, the stratovolcano spewed lava and rocks, much to the enjoyment of onlookers.

My mom still talks about standing on the side of the road enjoying a Costan Rican beer and witnessing its magnificence.

Today, Arenal Volcano sleeps. But, that doesn’t take away from its magic, with many of the top things to do in La Fortuna and Arenal National Park Costa Rica centred around its immense grandeur, like the many luxurious thermal hot springs.

Lake Arenal

Lake Arenal in La Fortuna Costa Rica
Lake Arenal

Situated at the base of Arenal Volcano and straddling the line between Alajuela and Guanacaste provinces, Lake Arenal in Costa Rica is the largest land-locked body of water in the country.

Growing in size due to hydroelectric dams constructed in 1979, Arenal Lake is now an important source of electric energy for Costa Rica, contributing an astonishing 12%.

WIth a strong dependable wind, Lake Arenal Costa Rica provides consistent conditions for great windsurfing amongst other activities like fishing, boating and kayaking. The Lake spans 33 square miles (85 square kilometres) and a depth of 200 feet. 

Town of La Fortuna, Costa Rica

views of Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna Costa Rica things to do
La Fortuna town with an epic backdrop

wIth Arenal Volcano as its backdrop, the once sleepy farming town of La Fortuna Costa Rica is now the beating heart of adventure for the entire country of Costa Rica. With one main drag and a small enchanting park at its centre, La Fortuna boasts 16,000 residents. 

The town itself swells with tourism during the high season months of December-April and acts as the main base for people visiting the Arenal region. 

Tenorio Volcano National Park

a girl in a rain jacket and white hat strolls over a wooden bridge about the Rio Celeste river on her way to the Rio Celeste Waterfall Arenal things to do
Bridge over Rio Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park

Neighbouring the north of Arenal Volcano National Park is Tenorio Volcano National Park. Made famous for its alluring bright blue Rio Celeste waterfall, the park can be reached from La Fortuna on an epic day trip.

The National Park is located at the northernmost end of Alajuela Province.

How Many Days in La Fortuna Costa Rica

bubbling blue water flows down the Rio Celeste river amongst Costa Rica rainforest near La Fortuna what to do
Rio Celeste

Gosh, there is much to do in La Fortuna and the Arenal region of Costa Rica, you could spend a couple of weeks here and not be bored (that’s what I did!) So, the longer you can stay in La Fortuna, the better.

If you are travelling to Costa Rica during your 10-day or 14-day holiday, make sure to spend a solid 2-3 full days in La Fortuna Costa Rica. 

I’ve included a sample 3 day La Fortuna itinerary below leaving evenings open for whatever suits your fancy. Note, that most of what I suggest in this La Fortuna Costa Rica itinerary below are organized and guided day tours for visitors without cars.

If you have a rental car, you can follow the itinerary with the added flexibility of your own transportation.

A Simple 3 Days in Costa Rica La Fortuna Itinerary:

I’ve put together this 3 day La Fortuna itinerary for people that are travelling without a rental car. If you happen to have one, take a boo through the activities below and determine which you’d like to travel to on your own.

I took every single one of these day trips and recommend them all. Spending two weeks in La Fortuna, I was able to experience most of the top attractions in the region and these experiences were the highlights for me.

Day 1 in La Fortuna, Costa Rica:

La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano + Hanging Bridges Tour

Day 2 in La Fortuna, Costa Rica:

Day 3 in La Fortuna, Costa Rica:

NOTE | If you only have 2 days in La Fortuna Costa Rica, you can choose to forgo the day trip to Rio Celeste waterfall

Budget for Costa Rica La Fortuna

Costa Rica La Fortuna town centre with white building with tower and gardens on a sunny day
La Fortuna Costa Rica town centre

Costa Rica is known for being a relatively expensive country. Why? There are several reasons. With a relatively stable government (rare for Central America), Costa Rica enjoys higher quality labour laws, a better national health system and generally speaking, higher quality of life. 

It’s important to note, that Costa Rica’s top earning economy is tourism, and the majority of that tourism comes from the USA. Given that, the government decided to price tourism related amenities closer to American prices. 

Also, the government puts a lot of money into preserving the biodiversity of Costa Rica, making the rainforests in Costa Rica some of the best maintained in Central America. 

You most definitely can do Costa Rica on a budget, just make sure you have extra time built into your Costa Rica itinerary to deal with multiple bus transfers.

Costa Rica uses both the Costa Rican Colones (CRC) and the American Dollar (USD).

Daily La Fortuna Costa Rica Budget (for Couple)

*excludes international flights

  • La Fortuna Hotel: ~$70-90USD Nightly
  • La Fortuna Car Rental: ~75 USD Daily
  • La Fortuna Tours: ~$100 USD Daily per Person
  • La Fortuna Food: $30 USD Daily per Person

Total Daily La Fortuna Costa Rica Budget (for Couple): ~$405 USD Daily Budget (or $200 USD excluding day tours)

Daily La Fortuna Costa Rica Budget (for Family of 4) 

*excludes international flights

  • La Fortuna Hotel: ~$120 USD Nightly
  • La Fortuna Car Rental: ~75 USD Daily
  • La Fortuna Tours: ~$100 USD Daily per Person
  • La Fortuna Food: $30 USD Daily per Person

Total Daily La Fortuna Costa Rica Budget (For Family of 4): ~$715 USD Daily Budget (or $315 USD excluding day tours)

Best Restaurants in La Fortuna Costa Rica

one of the best things to do is explore the food in La Fortuna Costa Rica Arenal
Lunch at Mercadito Arenal

La Fortuna restaurants come in all shapes and sizes and cater to most dietary needs. Whether you are toting along a full family, here on a honeymoon with your partner, or backpacking with a group of friends, La Fortuna restaurants have something for you.

Depending on your preferences, you can enjoy a healthy salad bowl at Organico Fortuna, dig into a local casado at Soda La Hormiga, scoop up a smoothie bowl from Jungle Bowls or cut into some amazing steak at Don Rufino Fine Dining. For variety, head to the artisanal food court at Mercadito Arenal.

Read the full guide on Best Restaurants in La Fortuna

La Fortuna Costa Rica Packing List

Generally speaking, the dress code in Costa Rica is comfortable and casual. In La Fortuna, with its humid rainforest climate, I would recommend clothing that is quick-dry or moisture-wicking. 

I lived in athletic shorts, a cotton tank top and light linen cover up most of my trip in Costa Rica, but especially in La Fortuna. You also couldn’t find me without a trusty ball cap to keep the sun off my head. Even when it’s cloudy, you can still be affected by UV.

A packing list for Costa Rica also always includes mosquito repellent and sunscreen.

TIP | Don’t wear flip flops in La Fortuna. A solid waterproof hiking shoe or sandal will do the best along volcano hikes and waterfall climbs

Here are some other essentials to bring to La Fortuna, Costa Rica:

Best Things to Do in La Fortuna Costa Rica Final Thoughts

So there you have, my extensive guide on what to do in La Fortuna, and the top La Fortuna attractions. I loved my time exploring everything this region has to offer, from hiking around volcanoes to soaking in hot springs and even trekking to epic waterfalls, there is no wonder it’s called the adventure capital of Costa Rica.

Happy travels!

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