Day 3: La Fortuna

Today will be filled with adventure! After waterfall rappelling, zip lining, free falling, hiking through the rain forests and climbing through the canyon, we will earn our swim in the La Fortuna Waterfall after climbing 500 stairs. 

At 4:00am a rooster crows, followed by a rumpus of birds, a howler monkey, and other jungle noises outside our cabin at Las Cabanitas. Unable to fall back asleep, we pack a small bag for the day and walk to reception for a tropical breakfast of coffee, fresh fruit, granola, and toast.

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House geckos and a peccary at Las Cabanitas, La Fortuna 

Lost Canyon

After breakfast, we relax by the pool and wait for the rest of our G Adventures group to board the Desafio van to canyoneering.

Yesterday, we purchased tickets through Desafio Adventure Company for the Lost Canyon. The cost was one hundred and thirty USD including transportation, equipment, and lunch. Only having a pair of sneakers and flip flops, we each purchased a pair of water shoes to wear canyoneering for ten USD.

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Views along the drive to canyoneering, La Fortuna

As we leave the city behind, the winding, dirt, mountain roads become less developed, requiring a transfer to a diesel off-road vehicle, or jungle limo. Encountering unexpected road repairs along our route, we hike uphill along the dusty trail to another vehicle taking us the remaining distance.

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Lost Canyon Adventures Canyoneering Operations Center, La Fortuna

Forty minutes later, we arrive at Lost Canyon Adventures Canyoneering Operations Center. Canyoneering is a combination of waterfall rappelling, zip lining, pool jumping, and hiking through the canyon and rain forest. Being warned we will be fully submerged in water, all of our belongings are left in a locker except for our disposable underwater camera. After demonstrations and being outfitted with gloves, helmets, and a harness, we are ready for our adventure to begin.

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Canyoneering, La Fortuna

In a single file line, we follow a narrow path into the forest. Quickly, our hike includes climbing and maneuvering over roots, rocks, and small saplings. As the trees become more dense, we encounter our first rappel down a ten foot waterfall.

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Canyoneering, La Fortuna

We continuing to hike, splashing through the canyon, to our second rappel down the second largest waterfall into a free fall zip line down the canyon. Finding footholds as we climb down the boulders, we are instructed to sit within the rocky crevice.

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Before, during, and after our canyoneering shower, La Fortuna

Above us, a guide lays down across the small opening of the stream blocking the flow of water. Once the pool of water becomes more than he can restrain, a whistle blows, and a rush of frigid spring water engulfs us. As we continuing hiking to the grand finale, a two hundred foot waterfall rappel, we hear the screams of our group members behind us as the man made dam is released.

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Our final rappel (right) canyoneering, La Fortuna
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Canyoneering, La Fortuna

After our final rappel, we begin climbing out of the canyon. Small waterfalls emerge from moss covered rocks. The sun peeks through the dense forest attempting to warm small pools of water. Red ants scurry along branches and leaves on forest floor. The air becomes warmer as we follow the stairs out of the ravine.

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Mother and baby sloth outside Lost Canyon Canyoneering Operations Center, La Fortuna

Emerging from the forest, we reach the operation center where a mother and baby sloth are napping in a nearby a tree. After changing into dry clothes, we snack on fresh watermelon and pineapple while viewing photos taken during our adventure. All of us decide to purchase photos and provide our email address to receive a link. Gathering our belongings, we ride to an open air buffet of local food for lunch before returning to our cabins.

La Fortuna Waterfall

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La Fortuna Waterfall, La Fortuna

Ready for our next adventure, we take a fifteen minute taxi ride to 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.

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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. Planning to explore La Fortuna this evening, we walk outside in search of a taxi.

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

Returning to town, we walk along the streets of spas, stores, and hostels with elaborate entrances to alley ways, island themed restaurants, and colorful souvenir shops.

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Lava Lounge Bar & Grill, La Fortuna

Drawn to the reggae, island themed Lava Lounge Bar & Grill, we grab a table. After a couple drinks, we stay for dinner and watch the steady flow of pedestrians on the streets outside.


* 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