La Fortuna Costa Rica

Jungle adventure with volcano views

The La Fortuna Vibe

La Fortuna Costa Rica is home to Arenal Volcano (pictured above). In fact, this area is often referred to as Arenal Costa Rica.

This area is the perfect jungle destination complete with amazing waterfalls, hanging bridges, zip lining, great hiking spots, white water rafting, hot springs and more.

If you are looking for adventure, this is our top pick for you. We usually aren’t into the really touristy destinations like La Fortuna, but there is just so much to do for everyone and the scenery is amazing. We come up here pretty often and take every person who visits us to this unique area.

Now on to the rest of the La Fortuna Costa Rica travel guide.

Map Of La Fortuna

La Fortuna is located about four hours north of San Jose by car. This area is dense with jungle, mountains, and waterfalls.

La Fortuna at a Glance

Nearest International Airport

Both international airports are semi easy to get to

Popular Things to Do

Visit the La Fortuna waterfall, relax at a hot spring, go zip lining, go white water rafting

Best Way to Get Around

Rental car, walking in the downtown area

Best Time of Year to Visit

Dry season is from late December until mid-April

Best Hikes

The Arenal 1968 trail, a day trip to Rio Celeste

 

Getting to La Fortuna

Flying into the Liberia or San Jose airport are both good options for going to La Fortuna. From San Jose to La Fortuna will take you about three and a half hours to drive. From Liberia it will take about two and a half hours.

More and more airlines are starting service to Liberia so check out the rates. It may be cheaper for you to fly there than San Jose.

For flight booking we suggest Skyscanner. They are our go-to flight booking site for great rates.

 


I need to preface this by saying I absolutely love the drive to La Fortuna coming from Liberia or San Jose. 

Both drives are some of the nicest drives in the country.

However, if you are prone to car sickness, definitely stock up on those motion sickness pills. 

Some of the roads are very curvy.

If you plan to rent a car we suggest renting from our favorite local company called Adobe Rent a Car. They have given us a 10% discount plus other great perks to pass on to you. You can book your car with discount here

car rental

Rental Car From Liberia

Your drive from Liberia will start on the nicest highway in Costa Rica. 

In the town of Canas you will turn on to a smaller (but well maintained) road and continue into the mountains, around Lake Arenal, and to La Fortuna.

For me, the road around Lake Arenal is where I get the worst motion sickness in all of Costa Rica. I always arrive to La Fortuna like a zombie and need to sleep it off. But, I’m prone to bad motion sickness.

We have done this route with other people and they have had no problems. 

Rent Your Car Here

Rental Car from San Jose

The drive from San Jose to La Fortuna will take about 3:30h. 

The drive starts on a well-maintained and somewhat busy highway. 

There are tolls on this first stretch. They do not accept credit cards but cash in dollars or colones is accepted.

You will then drive through downtown San Ramon. This can be a bit chaotic. 

After San Ramon, things calm down and you can enjoy beautiful views as you make your way along well maintained (but sometimes curvy) roads to La Fortuna.

Just be aware that sometimes you might get stuck behind a slow truck and passing can be difficult. 

Rent Your Car Here

Taking a Private Shuttle

From Liberia or San Jose, it is possible to take a private shuttle to your hotel in Fortuna. 

We suggest this for families or groups who don’t feel comfortable driving.

You can ask for a quote from our go-to private shuttle company here

Public Bus from San Jose

From downtown San Jose you will take the bus to Ciudad Quesada and then from Ciudad Quesada to La Fortuna. 

This is possible multiple times a day and will take about four hours.

Public Bus from Liberia

Taking the bus from downtown Liberia to La Fortuna is somewhat complicated.

You will need to take the bus from Liberia to Cañas, from Canas to Tilaran, from Tilaran to Fortuna.

If you catch all the connections this will take about 4:30h.  

When planning your bus route we suggest looking at CentroCasting and TheBusSchedule

Domestic Flight

Sansa is the main domestic airline in Costa Rica. They offer flights to La Fortuna from San Jose but not from Liberia. 

This is definitely the fastest way to get to La Fortuna, but if you have a fear of small planes, this is not the option for you. 

Getting Around in La Fortuna

We suggest depending on a rental car while in La Fortuna.

The downtown area is very condensed and walkable, but most activities are located within a twenty to thirty minute drive of downtown.

This means that if you don’t rent a car you will have to book day tours which include transportation. 

Fortunately, there are tons of tour options in La Fortuna that include transportation if you don’t have a car, but they can be expensive. 

If you opt to take the bus or a shuttle to get here, you can rent a car from Adobe and input La Fortuna as your pick-up location. They have an office directly in the downtown area of La Fortuna.

In the comments section of the rental car reservation, you can specify that you need the car delivered to you at your hotel in La Fortuna. Adobe will deliver it to you free of charge if you are within 12 miles of their location.

Also, there are taxis in La Fortuna if you need them.

Just always make sure that you always take a registered Costa Rican taxi so you are not overcharged.

You can recognize a legal taxi because it is red with a yellow triangle on the drivers and passenger side door. 

 

Book Your Transportation

La Fortuna Weather

It’s hard to write about the climate in La Fortuna because this is a jungle. You never really know how the weather is going to be.

If you visit between December and mid-April you will almost without a doubt have dry and hot weather. This is the dry season in Costa Rica and you will have the best chance of having a clear view of the volcano.

The downside is that La Fortuna is one of the most popular destinations in Costa Rica and every other tourist will also be here at that time.

During the rest of the year, the weather is totally unpredictable. We have visited and had perfect weather every day. We have also visited and had a lot of rain and no views of the volcano.

Even during the rainy season, it tends to stay warm in La Fortuna. I always bring pants and a long sleeve shirt just in case, but usually, I don’t need them.