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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
After visiting Desafio Adventure Company, we walked to The Corner for lunch. The menu consists of tacos, quesadillas, sushi and wood fired pizzas.
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.
* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.
- Day 1: Fly into San José
- Day 2: San José travel to La Fortuna
- Day 3: La Fortuna
- Day 4: La Fortuna travel to Montezuma
- Day 5: Montezuma
- Day 6: Montezuma
- Day 7: Montezuma travel to San José
- Day 8: Fly out of San José