In a small town at the base of Costa Rica’s youngest volcano, tourists flock to discover the endless adventures that La Fortuna has to offer. The lush rainforest that surrounds the volcano is packed with hot springs that sit at 100 degrees year-round, waterfalls that feed the very soul of all who venture there, and a collection of rivers commonly regarded as one of the top-10 places for whitewater rafting in the world.
While the possibilities that await may seem overwhelming, La Fortuna is home to some of the most incredible resorts that Costa Rica has to offer for travelers to unwind. Spending time under the active volcano is exhilarating in itself, as at any moment the Arenal volcano could erupt—but that doesn’t mean your visit can’t also be therapeutic. If the thought alone of being able to witness one of the most beautiful phenomena in nature doesn’t make this location worth adding to your list, take a look at but a few of the many more reasons why La Fortuna is a travel destination that will be worth your while.
Spending some time in the Arenal hot springs is a must during your visit to La Fortuna. The rivers that flow from the base of the volcano are typically anywhere from 96-102 degrees and are heated by the thermal energy of the volcano. These waters are rich in volcanic minerals, which are said to have some serious health benefits and detoxifying effects on the body when soaked in.
Some of the best experiences do come at a price, however. To enjoy the natural thermal spas at one of the well-maintained resorts in the area, there will be an entrance fee that covers the cost to enjoy the private hot springs for the day. Many of these day-passes will also include lunch, dinner, or both. For those who don’t want to pay the prices of admission, fear not, because just down the river can be found a few local spots where the Ticos hang out and enjoy the same waters free of cost.
La Fortuna Waterfall
A short 8-minute drive from the center of town will bring you to one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Costa Rica. Standing at 230-feet tall, this waterfalls eminence, beauty, and power draw in quite the crowd during a hot Costa Rican day—and reasonably so.
A steep 500-meter walk down the cliffside spotted with wildlife will lead you to the base of the waterfall, engulfed by the rainforest and a plethora of monkeys, toucans and tree frogs which can be seen around every corner you turn. An abundance of pools for swimming lay along the river with cool running water coming from the river, making for an ideal place to spend a few hours or even the entire day.
White Water Rafting
The Pacuare River is home to some of the best rapids this world has to offer, ranging from Class III-IV rapids. Rafting down its current is a must during your time in Costa Rica. The thrill of racing down the river in these intense conditions is what draws a crowd, but the Pacuare River runs along the Talamanca Mountain Range, which is home to toucans, monkeys, deer, butterflies, ocelots, and even jaguars!
So, when you’re not grasping onto the raft for dear life, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the incredible wildlife hiding in the cliff sides over the river right over your head. It is important to note that due to the extremity of the rapids, women who are pregnant or children under the age of 14 are not permitted to participate in these tours.
Costa Rica’s youngest and most famous volcano stands at 5,437 feet, over a mile high, above the town of La Fortuna. While the volcano has been Costa Rica’s most active volcano for the past 43 years, with its most destructive eruption in 1968, the volcano has been in a deep sleep since 2010. However, it still very much active. Travelers most likely won’t be fortunate enough to see lava flowing from the mouth of the volcano or ash fumes clouding from the top, but the perfectly shaped cone is still a marvel to see without the noticeable seismic activity.
The watershed from the Arenal volcano is responsible for the hot spring Rivers that flow in the surrounding jungle at the base of the volcano, which is this wonder’s most popular attraction. However, visitors can also get active by taking a hike around and on the volcano to really immerse themselves in Arenal’s unique natural beauty.