La Fortuna, Costa Rica Restaurants and Attractions

It is a five hour public bus ride from San José to La Fortuna, a small town located four miles from the active Arenal Volcano. The bus has no air conditioning, no bathroom, and makes frequent stops to pick up and drop off other passengers along the narrow, winding mountain road. Fields of sugar canes, pineapples, fruit trees, and cattle flash by through the small window.

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Views on the bus ride from San Jose to La Fortuna

Arenal Volcano

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 were off limit during our visit to La Fortuna.

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Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna

Los Lagos Hot Springs

We purchased a day pass through Desafio Adventure Company to Los Logos. Included with each pass is a buffet dinner and free transportation for groups of six or more. Our guide advised us to 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.

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A mother and baby sloth on the way to Los Lagos Hot Springs in La Fortuna
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Los Lagos Hot Springs, La Fortuna

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 ten swimming and Jacuzzi pools varying in size and temperature.

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The Lemnos Wet Bar and slide entrance to the pool in Los Lagos Hot Springs, La Fortuna

We spend the majority of our time in the main pool where Lemnos Wet Bar and a large water slide are located. If the thick clouds would scatter, we would have an amazing view of Arenal Volcano as we sip our mojitos in the ninety degree spring water.

Another popular hot spring is: Baldi Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Our guide advised us  Los Largos was less crowded, slightly cheaper, and had the same island vibes.

La Fortuna Waterfall

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La Fortuna Waterfall, La Fortuna

More touristy than expected, we receive a wrist band after paying a fifteen USD admission fee and follow the hanging bridge. We emerge from the rain forest to a breathtaking scene of La Fortuna Waterfall against the green rain forest background. A sign informs us after descending five hundred stairs we will reach the waterfall.

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La Fortuna Waterfall, La Fortuna
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Swimming in La Fortuna Waterfall, La Fortuna

Reaching the bottom of the stairs, we follow the path to a rocky area at the base of the waterfall. Finding a dry spot, we leave our bags and carefully climb over the wet, slippery rocks into the chilly water. The undercurrent is extremely strong and it’s difficult to tread water in one place. Freezing, we stumble up the rocks to dry off and begin our climb back to the top.

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Sign along the stairs at La Fortuna Waterfall, La Fortuna

Legs burning and out of breath passing Guru Sloth, we now understand his wise message. Nearing the top of the stairs, we follow signs to the orchid garden.  Unfortunately, only three flowers are in bloom along the trail. The remaining orchids are only photos of what the plants will become.

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.

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Exploring the streets of La Fortuna
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Exploring the streets of La Fortuna

Restaurants Recommendations:

Restaurante Nanku

The open air restaurant offers a menu prepared with locally grown vegetables and purchased meats paired with local Costa Rican craft beer options. We agree this was one of our favorite meals during our time in Costa Rica.

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Mitch’s 30th birthday dinner at Restaurante Nanku, La Fortuna
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Pollo al Limón, Filete de tilapia Nanku, and Filete de tilapia plancha at Nanku, La Fortuna

Lava Lounge Bar & Grill

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Lava Lounge Bar & Grill, La Fortuna

Drawn to the reggae, island theme of Lava Lounge Bar & Grill, we are not disappointed. There is a menu of great cocktails and a selection of sandwiches, salads, appetizers, pizza and pasta. We enjoy people watching the flow of pedestrians outside.

The Corner

After visiting Desafio Adventure Company, we walked to The Corner for lunch. The menu consists of tacos, quesadillas, sushi and wood fired pizzas.

Recommended Hotel:

Hotel Las Cabanitas

We had a stunning view of the Arenal Volcano from our hotel. Our G Adventures group separated into cabins of three or four. We enjoyed relaxing at the outdoor pool after a delicious breakfast of fresh fruit and granola.

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Hotel Las Cabanitas, La Fortuna
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Hotel Las Cabanitas, La Fortuna
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House geckos and a peccary at Las Cabanitas, La Fortuna

* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.

  1. Day 1: Fly into San José
  2. Day 2: San José travel to La Fortuna
  3. Day 3: La Fortuna
  4. Day 4: La Fortuna travel to Montezuma
  5. Day 5: Montezuma
  6. Day 6: Montezuma
  7. Day 7: Montezuma travel to San José
  8. Day 8: Fly out of San José

April 2018


Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

My fiancé, Mitch, and I have been traveling together over four years. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, PA, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, and experiences to maximize our time. Any time we travel, we try to visit to a local brewery and can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. 
 In Tokyo, we laughed every time we saw someone talking on their large, animated phone case. We had to buy one. Having an obsolete IPhone 5, the selection was limited. We purchased a gingerbread off a neglected rack in Shinjuku, Tokyo and The Traveling Gingerbread was born. You can purchase your own adorable gingerbread friend here! The Traveling Gingerbread is an entertaining account of our travels, fun facts, and tips we learned along the way.

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