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Costa Rica is a destination famous for its lush vegetation, beautiful beaches, active volcanoes, and incredible waterfalls. Waterfalls in Costa Rica are scattered all over the country, and while most are usually located in off the beaten path destinations, there are a few that can be easily accessed from main tourist destinations. 

One of the easiest waterfalls to visit in Costa Rica is La Fortuna Waterfall, located in the town of La Fortuna, at the base of the Arenal Volcano. 

How To Plan A Trip to Visit La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
Fortuna waterfall, Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of Alex Keshavjee via Flickr CC

About La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica

La Fortuna Waterfall, also known as Catarata Fortuna, is located at the base of Cerro Chato Volcano, just outside of  Arenal Volcano National Park, in the province of Alajuela. La Fortuna waterfall is about 70 meters (230 ft.) tall and drops down into a deep pool suitable for a cool refreshing dip.  

How To Plan A Trip to Visit La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

There is an $18 USD entrance fee to visit La Fortuna Waterfall, but all proceeds from the sale of tickets go towards conservation and preservation of Arenal National Park.

La Fortuna Waterfall opens at 7:30 a.m and closes at 4:00 p.m. Since this park is very popular, we recommend arriving early in the day to avoid the crowds.

How To Plan A Trip to Visit La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
Fortuna waterfall from afar, Costa Rica. Photo by Clara via Flickr CC

There is a parking lot at the entrance, a bathroom and a small souvenir shop. From the entrance office, it’s about a 15-minute hike down 500 stairs. The staircase is newly built with handrails and benches for those that need to take a break on the way down or on the way up. The walk down is easy, but it’s important to always be careful, as the stairs may be slippery when wet.

Pay attention to your surroundings and take your time on the way down. If you are lucky, you may be able to spot some birds and even monkeys.

Bathing in the chilly water of the La Fortuna Waterfall is highly recommended and offers a nice relief from the heat and sweat! Be careful as you go in, depending on the rains, the water may be high and the current – strong. 

How to Get to La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica

Considering that Costa Rica doesn’t have a great public transportation system outside of its big cities like San Jose, where you can catch taxis and buses, getting to La Fortuna Waterfall might be a challenge

Uber was introduced in Costa Rica a few years ago, but it’s not very common outside of San Jose. If you do not have a rental car and are looking to hire a taxi to get to La Fortuna Waterfall, check Uber – you never know when the service might become available in La Fortuna. 

Another alternative is ordering a taxi. A taxi to La Fortuna Waterfall from La Fortuna town will cost around $15 each way. You can negotiate with the driver to wait for you in the parking lot, while you explore the falls. If you are staying outside of town, be prepared to pay more.

Unfortunately, there is no public transportation to La Fortuna Waterfall. 

La Fortuna Waterfall Tours

If you are traveling on your own and want to join a group for a trip to La Fortuna Waterfall, or if you want to combine a visit to La Fortuna Waterfall with some other great activities in town, consider joining a group tour to the La Fortuna Waterfall.  Here are a few great options: 

  • Half-Day Waterfall Tour with Lunch: This unique tour offers an opportunity to visit the La Fortuna Waterfall and enjoy a typical Costa Rican lunch as well as a visit to a little village of the Maluku Indians. 
  • Nature Lovers Combo Tour: Visit La Fortuna Waterfall, hike the paths of the Arenal Volcano, and the suspension bridges of the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park. This tour lasts 8 hours and departs from La Fortuna town. Lunch is included in the price, so you can enjoy being out in nature without worrying about food along the way!
How To Plan A Trip to Visit La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
Photo courtesy of smilla4 via Flickr CC
  • 4 Activities Tour includes all the stops at the above tour but includes an additional visit to one of the Hot Springs in town. The hot springs in La Fortuna are not only beautiful but also natural and relaxing and provide a great way to end your day. We highly recommend Tabacon, but other hot springs are just as enjoyable
How To Plan A Trip to Visit La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
Fortuna hot springs. Photo courtesy of WhatsAllThisThen via Flickr CC

Tips for Visiting La Fortuna Waterfall

Stay Hydrated

Considering that getting to La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica requires lots of hiking, swimming, and even propelling down cliff sides, one thing you need to consider is hydration. Costa Rica is hot and humid on any given day and staying hydrated while hiking or spending time in the hot sun is important. So fill up a reusable water bottle so you can stay hydrated throughout the day. 

Pack Right

Make sure you wear comfortable clothes including proper hiking shoes with a good grip. If you’re planning on swimming, make sure to bring proper swimming attire. Swim shorts for men are great. Swim shoes also make a big difference, as the bottom of the waterfall pool can be quite rocky. 

How To Plan A Trip to Visit La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
Swimming at Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica. Photo courtesy of Tony Mendez via Flickr CC

Protect Your Skin

La Fortuna Waterfall is in a relatively shady area, but it’s a good idea to take sunblock. The sun is strong in this part of the world.

Make sure you bring mosquito repellent as well. Mosquitos are everywhere, and they will come at you in swarms. DEET is terrible for nature and for our bodies, so pack a more natural mosquito repellent.

How Much Time Do You Need at La Fortuna Waterfall?

La Fortuna Waterfall itself can be visited in half a day, even less, if you just want to walk down to the pool, take a few photos and head back.

If you are looking to combine your visit to La Fortuna Waterfall with other things in Arenal, we recommend staying in the area for at least 3-4 days. 

READ NEXT: The Ultimate Guide to Visiting Arenal Costa Rica

La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica is possibly the most popular waterfall in the country. It’s at the base of two dormant volcanoes with lush vegetation and incredible sites around every corner. This picturesque area can be as tame or as extreme as you want it to be. 

How To Plan A Trip to Visit La Fortuna Waterfall Costa Rica
Photo courtesy of Wilma Compton via Flickr CC

Have you hiked to La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica? Do you have any other tips to add for fellow travelers? 

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