How to Spend 3 Days in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Embark on an adventure in La Fortuna, Costa Rica, where the captivating beauty of the Arenal Volcano National Park awaits. With an array of exhilarating activities and breathtaking sights, a three-day itinerary in this popular Costa Rican destination will leave you in awe. From exploring the La Fortuna waterfall to indulging in the natural hot springs, there is no shortage of opportunities to immerse yourself in the wonders of this enchanting area. Discover the best places to stay, eat, and drink, along with a variety of must-do experiences that will make your time in La Fortuna truly unforgettable.

Day 1: Exploring the Arenal Volcano National Park

Morning Adventure: Hiking the Trails

Any visit to La Fortuna must include a hike through the Arenal Volcano National Park. With lush rainforests, diverse wildlife, and stunning views of the volcano, the trails offer a truly immersive experience in nature. Be sure to bring comfortable shoes, plenty of water, and your camera to capture the beauty of this natural wonder.

Afternoon Relaxation: Hot Springs Retreat

For an unforgettable afternoon, indulge in the natural hot springs that La Fortuna is famous for. With their therapeutic waters and serene surroundings, the hot springs provide the perfect retreat after a morning of hiking. Immerse yourself in the rejuvenating pools, surrounded by lush tropical gardens and the sounds of nature.

With various hot spring resorts to choose from, such as Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa or The Springs Resort, you can unwind and soak in the volcanic waters while taking in stunning views of the Arenal volcano.

Evening Enjoyment: Local Cuisine and Culture

After a day of adventure and relaxation, treat yourself to the flavors of Costa Rica at one of the local restaurants in La Fortuna. Indulge in traditional dishes like gallo pinto, casado, or ceviche, and savor the fusion of local ingredients and culinary expertise. Don’t forget to pair your meal with a refreshing guaro sour or a cold Imperial beer for a truly authentic dining experience.

With a satisfied stomach, take a stroll through the bustling streets of La Fortuna, where you can explore artisan shops, vibrant markets, and possibly catch a glimpse of local traditions and cultural performances. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Costa Rican culture as you embrace the warmth and hospitality of the people.

Where to Stay in La Fortuna

Luxury Accommodations

Not to be missed in La Fortuna are the luxurious accommodations that offer a truly spectacular experience. Consider staying at Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa, where guests can enjoy the amazing hot springs as many times as they want during their stay. Or, for a glamorous stay with stunning views of Arenal Volcano, The Springs Resort is a top choice.

Mid-range Hotels

Midrange options in La Fortuna provide a comfortable stay without breaking the bank. Another popular choice for mid-range hotels is the Arenal Manoa Hotel, offering a blend of affordability and quality service. These hotels are ideal for travelers looking for a balance between luxury and budget-friendly options.

Budget and Hostel Options

Family-friendly budget and hostel options are also available in La Fortuna for those seeking a more affordable accommodation choice. Consider staying at Hostel Backpackers La Fortuna, which provides a cozy and budget-friendly stay with amenities to suit family needs. These options are perfect for travelers looking to save on accommodation costs while still enjoying a comfortable stay.

Where to Eat + Drink in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Traditional Costa Rican Cuisine

After exploring the natural wonders of La Fortuna, be sure to taste the authentic flavors of Costa Rican cuisine. Local eateries like Tucanes offer traditional dishes such as Gallo Pinto, Casado, and Tamal as well as tasty desserts like Tres Leches. Whether dining at a restaurant in town or trying street food, you’ll get a true taste of Costa Rica in La Fortuna.

International and Fusion Restaurants

To experience a blend of flavors in La Fortuna, head to restaurants like Anch’io, which offer a fusion of international and Costa Rican cuisine. Enjoy dishes like wood-fired pizza, pasta, and local seafood with a twist. If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience, these restaurants will not disappoint.

Bars and Nightlife

Another way to unwind in La Fortuna is to visit the local bars and experience the vibrant nightlife. Traditional Costa Rican bars like Don Rufino offer a cozy atmosphere to enjoy local beers and cocktails. Get a taste of the local nightlife scene and dance the night away to Latin music.

Day 2: Adventure and Wildlife

Morning Excursion: Zip-lining and Canopy Tours

Canopy tours in La Fortuna offer an exhilarating way to explore the lush rainforest canopy and admire panoramic views of the Arenal Volcano. With options for zip-lining through the treetops, you can experience the thrill of flying while surrounded by stunning natural beauty.

Afternoon Exploration: Wildlife Watching

Wildlife watching in La Fortuna is a must-do activity for nature lovers. The Arenal region is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including sloths, monkeys, colorful birds, and various reptiles. Guided wildlife tours provide opportunities to spot these fascinating creatures in their natural habitats.

Adventure enthusiasts will be delighted by the variety of activities available in the Arenal/La Fortuna area. Whether you choose to explore the hanging bridges of Mistico, venture into the Venado Caves, begin on an ATV tour, or indulge in a chocolate tour, there is something for everyone seeking a thrilling adventure.

Evening Activities: Cooking Classes or Dance Lessons

Ziplining through the rainforest canopy in the evening offers a unique perspective as you glide through the trees under the canopy of starlit skies. Experience the magic of the rainforest at night and witness the nocturnal creatures that come to life under the cover of darkness.

Measures should be taken to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience, such as wearing appropriate gear and following the instructions of experienced guides. With a wide range of options for evening activities in La Fortuna, cooking classes or dance lessons offer a fun and interactive way to immerse yourself in Costa Rican culture and cuisine.

What to Do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Waterfall Visits

Once again, La Fortuna beckons with its stunning natural beauty, this time in the form of captivating waterfalls. For a refreshing and awe-inspiring experience, don’t miss the chance to visit the famous La Fortuna waterfall. Immerse yourself in the lush surroundings and take a dip in the cool waters at the base of the waterfall for a truly unforgettable moment in Costa Rica.

Cave Spelunking

With mysterious depths waiting to be explored, cave spelunking in La Fortuna offers adventurers a thrilling experience like no other. Descend into the underground world of Venado Caves for a fascinating journey through ancient rock formations and hidden chambers. Guided tours ensure your safety while uncovering the secrets of these underground wonders.

Cave spelunking in La Fortuna provides a unique opportunity to investigate into the geological history of the region while marveling at the natural beauty that lies beneath the surface. Explore the intricate passageways and learn about the fascinating formations that have been shaped over millions of years, creating a truly awe-inspiring environment for intrepid explorers.

Horseback Riding

Embark on a memorable horseback riding adventure in La Fortuna, where you can traverse picturesque landscapes and soak in the breathtaking views of the Arenal volcano. Whether you’re a seasoned rider or a beginner, guided horseback tours offer a unique way to explore the lush surroundings of Costa Rica. Ride through lush rainforests, meander along scenic trails, and experience the natural beauty of La Fortuna from a different perspective.

With expert guides leading the way, horseback riding in La Fortuna promises an unforgettable experience filled with stunning vistas, rich wildlife sightings, and a sense of connection to the vibrant nature that surrounds you. Saddle up and commence on a journey through the heart of Costa Rica’s beautiful countryside, where every moment is an opportunity for discovery and wonder.

Day 3: Leisure and Local Interaction

Morning: Leisure Time and Souvenir Shopping

For a relaxed morning in La Fortuna, take some time to leisurely explore the local shops and pick up some unique souvenirs to remember your trip. The town offers a variety of handmade items, from traditional Costa Rican crafts to locally sourced products, providing the perfect opportunity to support the community.

Afternoon: Community Tours and Sustainable Tourism

Time for an enriching afternoon experience by participating in community tours that focus on sustainable tourism practices. Engage with locals, learn about their culture and traditions, and contribute to the preservation of the environment. These tours not only provide a memorable experience but also support the livelihoods of the community members.

Tourism in La Fortuna, Costa Rica plays a vital role in the local economy, with a focus on sustainable practices to protect the natural beauty of the area. By participating in community tours, visitors can actively contribute to the preservation of the environment while gaining a deeper understanding of the culture and traditions of the region.

Evening: Final Night Dinner and Reflection

Your final night in La Fortuna calls for a special dinner to reflect on your experiences in this beautiful destination. Choose a local restaurant to savor traditional Costa Rican cuisine while reminiscing about the adventures of the past few days. Share highlights of your trip with fellow travelers and take some time to appreciate the memories you’ve made.


Travel Logistics and Planning

Transportation to and within La Fortuna

Logistics play a key role in making the most of your 3 days in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. The gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna is located about 2.5 hours from San Jose in the Northern Highlands. To get to La Fortuna, you can either drive or take a shuttle from San Jose. Once in La Fortuna, rental cars, taxis, and shuttle services are available for transportation within the area, making it easy to explore the attractions.

Weather and Packing Guide

Services and amenities in La Fortuna are tailored to the tropical climate that prevails in the region. It is important to pack light clothing suitable for hot and humid weather, as well as swimwear for enjoying the natural hot springs. Additionally, don’t forget to pack comfortable hiking shoes for exploring the Arenal 1968 Hike and other outdoor activities available in the area.

Extending Your Stay: Nearby Attractions and Destinations

Lake Arenal and Surrounding Activities

Despite La Fortuna’s main attractions, a visit to Lake Arenal and its surrounding activities should not be overlooked. Lake Arenal is the largest lake in Costa Rica and offers a picturesque setting for various water sports like stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing. Additionally, the area is known for its wind conditions, making it a popular spot for windsurfing and kitesurfing enthusiasts. For those looking for a more relaxed experience, boat tours on the lake provide stunning views of the surrounding landscapes.

Further Afield: Trips to Monteverde or Other Regions

With La Fortuna as your base, consider exploring further afield with trips to Monteverde or other regions in Costa Rica. Monteverde is a cloud forest reserve known for its biodiversity and unique ecosystem. Explore the treetop canopy via hanging bridges or zip-line adventures, or take a guided nature hike to spot exotic wildlife. Other regions worth exploring include the beaches of the Nicoya Peninsula or the bustling city of San Jose, each offering its own distinct charm and attractions.

Summing up

Taking this into account, spending 3 days in La Fortuna, Costa Rica offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation. From exploring the stunning La Fortuna waterfall to enjoying the natural hot springs, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. Whether you choose to stay at a luxurious resort like Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa or opt for a more budget-friendly option, La Fortuna has something for everyone. Make sure to sample the delicious cuisine at restaurants like Tucanes and Anch’io, and don’t miss out on exciting adventures like white water rafting and rappelling. With its breathtaking scenery and abundance of activities, La Fortuna is a must-visit destination in Costa Rica.