When you’ve seen images of the magnificent Arenal Volcano, you’ve possible heard of La Fortuna, the city at its base. Identified for having a few of Costa Rica’s finest journey actions, it attracts guests who’re able to get their adrenaline repair in one of many nation’s most stunning spots.
That’s not all there may be to take pleasure in in La Fortuna, nevertheless. Many guests include the hope of swimming subsequent to the unimaginable waterfall there, seeing the color-changing waters of Río Celeste, and recognizing numerous wildlife.
From breaking down learn how to go to the waterfall to different actions in La Fortuna and the place to remain, it is a full information to some of the sought-after locations in Costa Rica:
La Fortuna Waterfall: What You Have 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 near the cascade.
The waterfall is likely one of the hottest actions in La Fortuna. In contrast to others I had been to in Costa Rica, I shortly 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 a very powerful issues that you must know:
Methods to go to La Fortuna Waterfall
The very first thing to know is that the waterfall itself is a part of Arenal Nationwide Park. Nevertheless, a number of the entry factors round it are on non-public property. I do know, it sounds complicated.
One approach to go to is to e book a ticket by the Catarata La Fortuna firm, that are $18 plus tax and embrace entry to lockers and a platform that serves as a viewpoint, very near the bottom of the falls. By visiting this manner, you’ve entry to all the things close by, together with the swimming areas. The hike to the waterfall consists of climbing 530 steps, so be prepared for a hefty exercise on the way in which again up.
The opposite approach to go to is on a tour like this one. The draw back is which you could’t entry the overlook, however in any other case it’s nearly the identical expertise. The doorway just isn’t the identical one, and you’re 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 suggest going throughout this time in case you don’t plan on renting a automobile. I relied on a tour to get to the waterfall, as the value of taxis to get there plus the doorway charge would have set me again nearly as a lot as a tour. The tour included extra actions, so this made probably the most sense for me.
Nevertheless, doing that signifies that you don’t have management over what time you get to the waterfall. After I went, there have been so many individuals there that it was exhausting to maneuver round. Then it began to rain, and we shortly needed to go away, because the wet situations could make the rocks slippery and subsequently harmful. I additionally noticed the water dramatically change coloration from shiny child blue to brown because it rained, which was lower than splendid.
When you hire a automobile in La Fortuna, goal to get to the waterfall proper when the doorway opens at 7am. That approach, you beat the tour crowds and have a greater probability of seeing the blue water, because the rain often 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 couple of hundred ft, with massive boulders speckled all through. The intense blue water is gorgeous, particularly in distinction with the deep greens of the encircling rain forest.
The opposite swimming space is on the base of the waterfall. You possibly can attempt to see how shut you may get to the autumn itself, however the sheer pressure of the water plummeting down creates a powerful 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
On account of volcanic exercise from Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is wealthy in sizzling springs. There are lots 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 must be a visitor on the resort to go to the recent springs, which embrace a extra pure sizzling river space along with sizzling spring swimming pools. The day passes right here vary from $75 to $110 and embrace at the very least one meal on the resort. This was dear for me, so I went on a mission to discover a extra reasonably priced 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 confess that it felt extra like an inexpensive 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 an area hangout.
One other one which I visited was Baldi Scorching Springs, which has day passes beginning at $40. It has a extra elevated really feel than Termalitas however the identical sort of format, with a number of swimming pools at totally different temperatures. I loved Baldi much more, as a result of there was total a greater collection of swimming pools.
2. Take a dip in a sizzling river
If you wish to expertise a sizzling spring totally free, you possibly can go right down to Río Chollín. It’s the identical sizzling river that goes by Tabacón however is totally free and straightforward to entry. It is a widespread spot amongst locals and will get very full through the day, so go to within the morning for a greater probability 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 aspect of the road. There’s nowhere to park moreover proper on the aspect of the highway. When 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.
Needless to say the river is harmful to go to when there may be 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 immediately that there are ample alternatives for zip-lining marketed round city.
Arenal Mundo Adventures is likely one of the finest 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 affords 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 a whole bunch of various corporations all working in the identical place and providing practically equivalent experiences. This doesn’t must be a nasty factor, although. I really felt like I used to be capable of go to extra locations than I might have in any other case, because the excursions take the stress off of discovering transportation, which is difficult in La Fortuna.
In case you are backpacking like I used to be, think about doing at the very least one full-day tour to get your bearings while you arrive. I did this waterfall, Arenal Volcano, and sizzling springs tour, which was an incredible 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, Crimson Lava Excursions, to go to Río Celeste as nicely.
5. Have the final word white-water rafting expertise
Rafting is one other widespread adrenaline-pumping exercise in La Fortuna that draws hundreds of holiday makers per 12 months. There’s a seemingly countless variety of corporations that provide white-water rafting experiences, like this one which you could e book on Get Your Information. It consists of transportation, a meal, and a information.
Becoming a member of a tour is the simplest approach to go white-water rafting in La Fortuna, as most corporations function the identical approach. They nearly all the time 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. Attempt 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, as a result of climate situations. For the reason that clouds grasp so low right here, it’s robust to get a glimpse of it through the wet season.
The solar units behind the volcano, so heading out to the primary avenue in La Fortuna for sundown means you would possibly have the ability to see a formidable show of colours, with the silhouette of the volcano including to the surroundings.
7. Admire Río Celeste’s vibrant coloration
The intense-blue Río Celeste flows by the Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Park, about 90 minutes from La Fortuna. I went on a tour to Tenorio, since getting there with no automobile 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 motive sufficient to go to the park, as its blue coloration is a spectacular sight by itself. The paths within the park weave by the jungle, operating parallel to the river for someday earlier than ultimately crossing it on a small hanging bridge.
8. Don’t miss out on the Río Celeste Waterfall
When you thought Río Celeste was spectacular, wait till you see the waterfall. This large cascade is actually a magical sight, because the white falls distinction superbly with the plush inexperienced foliage and shiny blue water.
There are a whole bunch of steps main right down to the waterfall, and the way in which again up is a doozy. Convey loads of water — you’ll want it! One other vital 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 attempt 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 is likely to 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 coloration 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 coloration. Guides will inform you that these two variations of the story, the scientific and the religious, are equally revered and vital to the Costa Rican folks.
10. Spot wildlife
The sheer quantity of wildlife in La Fortuna is spectacular, which makes it an apparent alternative for animal fanatics. In each Arenal and Tenorio Volcano Nationwide Parks, I couldn’t imagine what number of totally 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 forms 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, think about 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 might need missed it. I’m so glad I didn’t, as a result of it was one among my favourite locations in all of La Fortuna. The path, in contrast to the nationwide parks, is on non-public property and maintained by the proprietor and his workforce 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 dwelling there. I noticed a sloth, a number of crimson and blue tree frogs, a few small snakes, and dozens of forms of birds right here — all with no information.
You possibly can go to the Bogarín Path with no information for $15 plus tax, or e book a bunch tour for $50. A guided tour is nice if you need a extra in-depth expertise, though I totally 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 motels to gigantic sizzling springs resorts, there’s really one thing for each type of traveler. Since I used to be in search of one thing extra reasonably priced and centrally positioned, I went with FAS, a small resort only a block away from the city heart. It’s a family-owned resort with solely eight rooms, and it grants free entry to some close by sizzling springs.
I beloved the mom-and-pop ambiance of FAS and bought to fulfill the proprietor’s complete household. As a solo feminine traveler, I can wholeheartedly suggest this place due to the nice and cozy hospitality I acquired there. You possibly can e book your keep at FAS by Hostelworld.
For different forms of vacationers, listed here are my suggestions for the place to remain in La Fortuna:
Backpackers on a price range: Poshpackers Hostel
Situated proper on the primary avenue in La Fortuna throughout from the city heart, you’ll discover Poshpackers Hostel. Specializing in elevating the backpacker expertise whereas protecting costs reasonably priced, it has a number of the finest charges for the worth in La Fortuna. Dorms are simply $18 per evening; non-public 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 automobile: Casa Luna Lodge & Spa
With nature at its doorstep, Casa Luna Lodge & Spa makes positive that visitors can take pleasure in gorgeous views of Arenal Volcano and the encircling 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 heart, which makes it an incredible choice for vacationers who’ve a automobile, since you’ll have the ability to escape the bustle of the town and reap the benefits of the seclusion.
Rooms at Casa Luna Lodge & Spa begin at $160 per evening, which is about mid-range for this space.
In search of luxurious: Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa
Relating 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, versus the man-made swimming pools that you just’ll discover at different resorts.
Rooms at Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa begin round $300 per evening and go as much as 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 extra value makes a whole lot of sense.
Methods to Get to La Fortuna
This is likely one of the best locations to get to in Costa Rica attributable 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 visitors. Go to the station the day earlier than you journey to examine the schedule, because it isn’t posted on-line.
In case you are 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 in case you get to take a ship throughout the lake. It’s undoubtedly extra dear than taking public transportation, however fully value it.
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Now you’re prepared to begin planning your subsequent epic Costa Rican journey!
Of this stuff to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica, what are you most excited for?