La Fortuna is probably the most popular place in Costa Rica amongst visitors. When thinking of its lush green landscapes and volcano view, we can totally understand why. Besides, there are lots of activities you can do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. There is something to do for everyone, from ziplining and white water rafting to relaxing at a hot spring or making your own chocolate. In this blog post, we share the best things to do in La Fortuna and places to stay, and the best place to eat in town.
7 Best things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica
Enjoy the Hot Springs
One of the most popular things to do in La Fortuna is to spend a relaxing day in one of the many hot springs. This area is so famous for the hot springs because they are naturally heated by the Arenal Volcano close by. You can choose from hot springs in all different price ranges, and depend on the accommodation you choose; you might have access to their hot springs included.
We stayed at the exceptional Tabacon Resort for two nights and had access to their famous and gorgeous hot springs included in our stay. You don’t have to stay at their Resort to visit their hot springs. You can get a day pass to enter the hot springs, and you will have food included. But the prices for day passes are relatively high, so we found staying at the hotel is the better option compared. Also, as guests from the resort, we had earlier access to the springs at 8 am, while with a day pass, you can enter at 10 am. The price for a day pass with one meal starts at 85 USD per person.
If you look for a cheaper option to relax at a hot spring, you can have a similar experience at Eco Termales Fortuna for about half the price.
Refresh at La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall is a must-see when in La Fortuna. It’s a spectacular and powerful waterfall just about 8 min drive from town. It opens at 8 am, and we recommend going early because it’s quite popular. The entrance fee is 18 USD per person, and then walk down to the waterfall is about 10 min.
It’s not the most natural waterfall experience we had in Costa Rica because paths and stairs are all paved. But still, the waterfall itself is worth seeing. The water is quite cold and perfect for a refreshing dip. You can swim at the bottom of La Fortuna Waterfall.
Go Hiking along with Arenal Volcano
There are several different options of hiking trails in La Fortuna Costa Rica that you can choose from. We highly recommend hiking in this area because you get to enjoy spectacular views onto the Arenal Volcano, the lake, and maybe even spot some Wildlife.
We decided to take the Arenal 1968 trail. It has two parts you can choose from. One is a bit more challenging and longer than the other. The entrance fee is 15 USD per person, no matter what trail you choose. The path has its name from the unexpected volcano eruption that happened in 1968 in La Fortuna. The volcano was considered inactive before that eruption. The hike takes you through the lava field, where you can still see lots of these black rocks of the eruption. It’s a beautiful contrast between the green surroundings and the black rocks. We found the hike was very scenic and can recommend doing it while in La Fortuna.
On our way back, we were lucky to meet a family of cute Coatis along the way. They were looking for food and did not really mind having us around so we could sit there and watch them for about an hour.
Tipp for the hike: bring bug spray because it has a lot of mosquitos.
Go Ziplining over the Jungle
A very popular and fun thing to do in Costa Rica is to go ziplining. You can do this in pretty much every part of the country, but we recommend doing it in the northern region because you will get the best views over the jungle.
We went ziplining in Monteverde with Sky Adventures. They offer it in La Fortuna too. It was very well organized, and the staff was so lovely. You could really see they have so much fun in their job. Well, why wouldn’t you love zipping above the jungle every day? You get to the highest point of the zipline with a sky tram from where you start to zip back down to the bottom. The views were breathtaking, to say the least. This package is called Sky Trek and costs 84 USD per person.
Sky Adventures offer river rafting as well if that is something you would like to do.
Walk above the forest at Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park
If you looked at photos from the northern region of Costa Rica you must have stumbled across pictures from hanging bridges in the jungle. If that is something you’d like to experience you must go to Mistico Arenal hanging bridges park where you get to hike on a trail with several different hanging bridges. General admission for a self-guided tour is 24 USD per person.
Visit the stunning Rio Celeste Waterfall
One hour drive from La Fortuna, you find the most famous and very stunning waterfall, called Rio Celeste. It is located in the Tenorio Volcano Nationalpark. It is a fun adventure to make from La Fortuna; if you travel in a car, make sure to rent a 4×4 because many streets in Costa Rica are unpaved.
What makes this place unique is that the water of the Celeste River and also from the waterfall is very blue. Unfortunately, it is not allowed to swim inside the Nationalpark, not in the waterfalls, and not in the river. There is a spot outside of the Nationalpark next to the bridge where you get access to the blue river and can go for a swim.
Besides the waterfall, you can walk a beautiful and jungly trail along with the Rio Celeste for about 1.5 hours. The entrance fee is 12 USD per person. If you come by car, you will have to pay an additional 2 USD to park the car.
Learn how to make your own Chocolate
A very unique and interesting experience is to make your own chocolate, especially if you are a chocolate lover just like us!
Several places offer this experience around La Fortuna. We chose to do it at La Finca Amistad, which is located a 10 min drive from Rio Celeste Waterfall. It was perfect to combine those two experiences and allowed us to be at the waterfall early.
La Finca Amistad offers beautiful accommodation and delicious food, as well as tours on their organic chocolate plantation and chocolate making courses. It was fascinating to learn everything about the process of making chocolate, from the fruit to the final product. The chocolate we made was Dark 70%, and it was so delicious. The course costs 35 USD per person, and you get to make around 1 kg of chocolate that you can take with you.
Best place to eat in La Fortuna Costa Rica
Our favorite restaurant in La Fortuna Costa Rica is Organico Fortuna. They offer super delicious organic food with a big choice of Vegan and Gluten-Free options. Besides, the restaurant is cozy and lovely furnished and located in town.
Another new place we like is called El Jardin de Frida. They offer good vegan options with falafel and hummus and dishes with cashew parmesan.
Where to stay in La Fortuna Costa Rica
If you want to treat yourself to a nice hotel and hot springs spa, we can recommend Tabacon Resort. The staff at Tabacon was amazing, and we loved our room with a volcano view. Their exceptional springs are complimentary for all guests of the resort, and breakfast is included too.
Our favorite place to stay close to La Fortuna is at Finca Luna Nueva, a beautiful permaculture farm about 30 min drive from town. They have their own restaurant with delicious food, a beautiful garden with a pool and hot tub, and you can do farm tours and chocolate tours at the Finca.
In general, we can highly recommend using Airbnb for accommodations in Costa Rica. We stayed at this lovely place near La Fortuna Waterfall, and the hosts were super friendly.
How to get around
For individual travelers, it’s best to explore the area in a rental car. We rented ours using the platform Discover Cars. There is always parking available, and you are free to go earlier than tours. But there is a shuttle to every attraction you’d like to see from La Fortuna town if you don’t want to drive yourself. If you stay in a hotel, they usually offer to arrange shuttles and tours for you.
La Fortuna is one of the most touristy areas of Costa Rica, especially because of all the hot springs. But it’s still well worth a visit if you either like to relax and treat yourself with some spa days or if you want to go on an adventure like ziplining or swimming in the powerful La Fortuna Waterfall. Also, La Fortuna Costa Rica has some kind of magic because it’s located very close to the impressive Arenal Volcano. Even though it seems like the volcano can rarely be fully seen because it’s mostly covered by clouds.