Ahh La Fortuna, the perfect jungle paradise filled with a ton of fun things to do. One of the (many) things we love about La Fortuna is that there are activities for everyone at a variety of price points. We put together this list of things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica to help you find the best activities for you and your travel partners.
Let’s get planning!
Enjoy a Day at a Hot Spring
Visiting a hot spring is one of the most popular things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Hot springs are great because people of all ages will love them. There are hot pools for relaxing and large pools with waterslides for the more adventurous people.
For a more budget-friendly experience, we suggest Termales Los Laurales or Termalitas de Arenal. Both these places have picnic tables and grills for guests to use. Just bring some charcoal and food from the store nearby and you can have a full day of fun at these places.
You can find out everything you need to know about La Fortuna hot springs with our hot spring guide.
Go Swimming in a River
Most of the hot springs have nice pools for swimming, but if you want a unique experience head to the river where the locals go swimming. There is a nice little “pool” with a rope swing you can enjoy.
It can be a bit slippery getting down to the river from the road. If you have water shoes like Chacos definitely bring them. Also, the experience is not for everyone. I would suggest not bringing kids or anyone who has trouble walking to this spot.
Visit the La Fortuna Waterfall
Check out the La Fortuna waterfall if you want a nice half day trip that is not too expensive (it costs $15 for entry). This waterfall is seriously impressive and I consider it a “must do” activity in La Fortuna!
There is free parking, a bathroom with changing rooms, and a cafe on site.
The walk to get to the waterfall consists of an insane amount of steps (400 to be exact). Going down is not so bad but going back up will have your legs shaking for sure. Bring a full water bottle and take a few breaks. Also, bring your bathing suit.
If the water level is not too high you can swim under the waterfall (which is really fun). You can ask at the top when you buy your ticket if swimming is allowed that day. If you can’t swim under the waterfall there is a nice stream next to it where you can take a cold dip.
If you want more info about the La Fortuna Waterfall, we have a complete post here.
Take a Cacao Tour & Eat Chocolate
Rainforest Chocolate Tour is located down the street from the La Fortuna waterfall. This fun tour will teach you about the history of chocolate and how chocolate is made. You then get to eat as much chocolate as you want. Yeap, as much as you want.
The tour costs $20 per person. We suggest reserving ahead of time by phone or just stopping by the day before you want to do a tour. They fill up fast!
Go on a Coffee Plantation Tour
There are two companies we know of that lead coffee production tours in La Fortuna. Don Juan and North Fields Cafe both offer great tours of their plantations and facilities in English. These tours actually teach you about chocolate production as well.
Go Inner Tubing Down a River
We took our entire families on this tour with us and had a blast!
The price is $45 per person. It is best to reserve a spot ahead of time so, head on over to their website right now and email them to confirm a spot. They are generally really good about emailing you back within 24 hours.
The tour will begin at 10am and will return around 2pm. Transportation from your hotel is included. Make sure to wear a bathing suit or something you don’t mind getting wet.
Go Rafting for all Skill Levels
There are several rafting companies in La Fortuna. We suggest asking at your hotel if they have a particular company that they suggest. Sometimes they can get you a nice discount. 🙂
Rafting tours typically last for a full day and cost a little less than $100 per person. Most companies have several tour options depending on your skill and adventure-seeking level.
Visit the Bright Blue Rio Celeste
Have you ever seen water that naturally looks so blue? This natural phenomenon occurs on the river Celeste. Rio Celeste is located about 1.5 hours from La Fortuna. It is a nice place to spend a night, but it is also completely possible to visit this unique national park as a day trip as well.
We have a complete guide to Rio Celeste which will help you plan the perfect visit.
Go Hiking on a Volcano
There are a few hiking spots in La Fortuna, but the best we have found is the Arenal 1968 trail. It somewhat strenuous in some parts and will take you a few hours.
The hike does not actually go to the top of the volcano but instead follows an old lava field. There are some nice views in certain spots.
Visit a Butterfly Garden
If you have a car with you, head a bit out of La Fortuna to the Butterfly Conservatory. This place is one of those hidden gems that most people don’t venture to. It is run by volunteers (who are really helpful) that will show you around and tell you a bit about each butterfly and reptiles.
After looking at all the butterflies on the grounds you can take a nice little walk through their property. At the end of the hike, you will be rewarded with a great view of Arenal volcano.
You could combine this with a hike on the Arenal 1968 trail, a kayak trip around the lake, or a trip to the hanging bridges. They are all located close together.
Walk on some Hanging Bridges
Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridge Park is a great place to take a walk through the jungle while enjoying volcano views and the thrill of crossing suspension bridges. This is a great family friendy activity.
Go Zip Lining
La Fortuna and Monteverde are the best places to go zip lining in Costa Rica (in our opinion). La Fortuna is great because you get a unique view of the jungle from above as you soar over treetops.
There are several zip lining companies in La Fortuna. We suggest asking at your hotel if they can provide you with a company that they recccommend. Sometimes they may be able to get a discount for you.
If not, we suggest the company Sky Adventures.
Repel Down a Waterfall
If you have ever wanted to repel down a waterfall, La Fortuna is the perfect place for it.
Desafio Adventures offer repelling tours (often called canyoning in Costa Rica) down a nearby waterfall. The tours are $99 per person and are seriously fun.
Visit Cute Downtown La Fortuna
Downtown La Fortuna is filled with hostels and touristy restaurants. In other words, it’s not exactly beautiful. However, the church in the center of town is picture-perfect. I like to just relax by sitting in the park across from the church and do some people watching. On a clear day you will be able to get an amazing shot of the church with Arenal volcano in the background.
Go Kayaking on Lake Arenal
There are many tour companies who will offer to take you kayaking on Lake Arenal, but these tend to be expensive. Instead, just drive to the lake and see if you can find some locals renting kayaks. They are not always there, but when they are they will give you a much more reasonable rate and you can paddle around for an hour or so.
OK, I was absolutely terrified to do go caving at Venado Caves. I don’t do well with tight spaces and I’ve been known to have some anxiety issues, but the three guys I was traveling with were super into doing this so I decided to try and be brave. Little did I know that once my adrenaline kicked in, I would be totally ready to go.
We actually really enjoyed this activity. It was a unique experience which I’m totally happy that I did. After you finish your caving tour there is a nice pool you can relax in on the property for free.
Venado Caves is located a little less than an hour from La Fortuna. They are open every day from 8:00 to 3:00 pm. The caves are really tight at some points (I mean as in you’ll be slithering like a snake to get through certain spots) but there is always an alternative route if this freaks you out.
Rubber boots are provided and you should wear clothes you don’t mind getting wet (you’ll be soaked by the end). I wore my bathing suit under gym shorts and a t-shirt. Also, sometimes things get caught on rocks (I ripped my shorts) so don’t wear anything you want to preserve.
They suggest bringing an extra change of clothes, a towel, an underwater camera (GoPro is perfect for this), knee pads (not necessary but I did get some cuts on my knees and I also accidentally kicked our guide in the nose and gave him a bloody nose) and bug spray.
Take Pictures of the Volcano
If you are blessed with a clear day in La Fortuna, take advantage of it and go get those volcano pics! It is not unusual for the volcano to be completely clouded over, so getting a good view is a privilege.
Our Tips for Things to Do in La Fortuna
-Ask at your hotel if they partner with any local companies to provide discounts. Sometimes you can save money on hot springs, rafting, etc. this way.
-There are plenty of tour companies in La Fortuna who will plan out a day with several different excursions. These tours are great because it means you can skip the planning BUT it is usually so much cheaper to just plan things on your own.
-Usually, it is not necessary to book things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica more than a few days in advance. We have never had a problem just going to La Fortuna and planning our activities the day before.
However, during the main tourism season (January until late April) things can get booked out fast. If you know exactly what you plan on doing in La Fortuna it doesn’t hurt to book things like zip-lining and rafting ahead of time so you can guarantee a spot.
-Keep in mind that La Fortuna is sometimes referred to as Arenal (the name of the volcano). If you are looking for things to do in La Fortuna and see something saying an activity is located in Arenal, that is the same place.
-For more info on La Fortuna such as transportation tips, great restaurants, the best hotels, etc. check out our La Fortuna guide.
If you have any questions about any of these things to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica or have other great activities to add, please leave them in the comment section below. We love to hear from you all and are happy to help you out!
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