Getting to La Fortuna
La Fortuna, a small town located 4 miles from the active Arenal Volcano, is about a 3 hour drive or 5 hour public bus ride from San José. The public bus ride is scenic, passing fields of sugar cane, pineapples, fruit trees, and cattle but be advised there is no air conditioning, no bathroom, and frequent stops to pick up and drop off other passengers along the narrow, winding mountain road.
Costa Rica’s most active volcano until 2010, La Fortuna, is now the third most active. There are many activities and hikes offered at the Arenal Volcano by Desafio Adventure Company. Unfortunately, due to unsafe conditions near the volcano these excursions are off limits during our visit to La Fortuna.
Los Lagos Hot Springs
The resort pools are strategically placed for a continuous flow of water directly from the rain forest hot springs. Hidden throughout the tropical gardens are water slides and more than 10 swimming and Jacuzzi pools varying in size and temperature.
Traveling Gingerbread Tip: Purchase tickets in advance. The cost of a day pass purchased at the resort’s reception is determined by the amount the employee decides to charge at that time. A day pass purchased through Desafio Adventure Company to Los Logos Hot Springs includes a buffet dinner and free transportation for groups of 6 or more.
Lemnos Wet Bar and a large water slide are located at the main pool. It is overcast during our visit, but on a sunny day there would be a great view of Arenal Volcano while sipping on an ice-cold drink in the 90 degree Fahrenheit spring water.
Traveling Gingerbread Note: Another popular hot spring is: Baldi Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Our guide advised us Los Largos is less crowded, slightly cheaper, and has the same tropical vibes.
La Fortuna Waterfall
More touristy than expected, we receive a wrist band after paying a $15 USD admission fee. Walking across a hanging bridge into the rain forest is a breath-taking view of La Fortuna Waterfall and the beginning of the trail to the orchid garden. Visiting in April, there are only 3 orchids are in bloom.
Visitors must walk down 500 stairs to reach the base of the waterfall. A path at the bottom of the stairs leads to a rocky area at the edge of the falls scattered with swimmers’ belongings. The rocks are very slippery on the way to the waterfall and the water is cold. Use caution, the undercurrent is strong making it difficult to tread water in one place.
Explore the Colorful Streets of La Fortuna
La Fortuna has streets of spas, stores, and hostels with elaborate entrances to alley ways, island themed restaurants, and colorful souvenir shops.
Be on the Lookout for Sloths
Our taxi driver to Los Lagos Hot Spring asks if we have seen a sloth yet. He pulls over, points to a mother and baby sloth in a nearby tree, and allows us to take our time snapping photos and enjoying the moment. A more likely opportunity to spot a sloth than by luck is hiking the Bogarin Wildlife Trail.
Go on an Adventure
We had a great time on the Lost Canyon Canyoneering Adventure with our G Adventures group. Check out our experience here. Tickets, transportation, and packages to many excursions and nearby attractions can be purchased through Desafio Adventure Company.
The open air restaurant offers a menu prepared with locally grown vegetables and purchased meats paired with local Costa Rica craft beer options. We agree Restaurante Nanku was one of our favorite meals during our time in Costa Rica.
Lava Lounge Bar ‘n Grill
Lava Lounge Bar ‘n Grill, has open air seating, great people watching, and fun reggae vibes. There is a great cocktail menu and selections of sandwiches, salads, appetizers, pizza and pasta.
A short walk from Desafio Adventure Company, is the open air restaurant, The Corner. The menu consists of tacos, quesadillas, sushi, and wood fired pizzas.
Hotel Las Cabanitas
Hotel Las Cabanitas has a stunning view of the Arenal Volcano, an outdoor pool, and fresh breakfast options of fruit and granola. Most cabins comfortably fit 3-4 people. House geckos and a peccary can be found roaming the gardens.
Traveling Gingerbread Tip: If traveling with a larger group, there is limited hot water so shower early.
* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.