Arenal and La Fortuna, Costa Rica Adventure Guide
The small town of La Fortuna is nestled at the base of Arenal Volcano and surrounded by vibrant jungles, dramatic waterfalls, and even a serene lake. We love small towns and jungle trekking so this was easily our favorite part of Costa Rica. If relaxing and listening to the sounds of the jungle with an Imperial (awesome local beer) after a day of hiking, spelunking, or ziplining is your thing, then read on! Below is our ultimate guide to spending your time in the gorgeous Arenal region of Costa Rica.
Where to stay:
Casa Luna Hotel & Spa is a peaceful mid-range boutique hotel located about 1 mile outside of La Fortuna. You can easily arrange for a 5 minute taxi ride or take a leisurely 30 minute stroll into town. The grounds of the hotel are covered with lush vegetation and you are likely to encounter one of the many bright green basilisks that scurry around the property. We also enjoyed the hidden hot tubs, nature trails, and our room even had a view of the Arenal Volcano. The open air restaurant onsite served delicious fish tacos and chifrijo (local dish consisting of crispy pork, rice, and beans). Casa Luna was the perfect base for exploring both the Arenal Volcano National Park and the town of La Fortuna.
What to do (our favorite adventures around Arenal and La Fortuna):
Take a tour through the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park
Hiking across bridges suspended above the jungle floor was a magical experience. It is a unique way to immerse yourself in the tropical jungle with breathtaking views of Arenal Volcano. While you can do this as a self-guided walk, we highly recommend hiring a tour guide (we booked through our hotel). Without the tour guide we would have missed much of the hidden wildlife the park has to offer – like bright yellow pit vipers (which were surprisingly small and cute)! Our tour included transportation from our hotel and a fresh fruit snack at the end of the hike.
DIY hike to La Fortuna Waterfall
The impressive 200-foot La Fortuna Waterfall is a must see while visiting the area. The entrance to the waterfall was an easy 30 minute walk from our hotel – we even saw a toucan on the way! Once at the entrance, there was an $18 fee (steep, but worth it) to hike the rest of the way to the falls. The gorgeous hike will take you down 500 steps to the base of the falls and offers stunning views through the forest canopy. Swimming at the falls is permitted, which was super refreshing after the humid hike. We recommend bringing water shoes as the area around the falls is very rocky, along with some drinks and snacks. Get there early (the falls open at 7am) and get ready to spend a beautiful day enjoying La Fortuna Waterfall.
Zipline above the jungle canopy with SkyAdventures
We chose SkyAdventures to zipline with because it is safe, professional, and offers spectacular views of Arenal Volcano and lake. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but the guides were friendly, funny, and made the experience that much more enjoyable. The tour includes soaring across 7 different cables above the jungle canopy. The highest was over 650 feet and the longest was over half a mile! It was the perfect way to get an exhilarating bird’s eye view of the Arenal jungle.
Spelunk in Venado Caves
Taking a tour through Venado Caves was definitely the most unique way to explore a different side of the jungles surrounding Arenal. Our friendly and knowledgeable guide picked us up at our hotel and 45 minutes later we were at the caves. Our guide provided us with rain boots, a helmet, and flashlight, then took us on a short walk through the jungle to the Venado Caves entrance. We were lucky enough to be the only ones on the tour so it felt like we had the caves all to ourselves.
For about 2 hours we crawled, climbed, and waded our way through the caverns. We saw bats, huge scorpion spiders, and even a few poison dart frogs at the mouth of the cave. If you are up for a bit of a challenge and don’t mind squeezing through a few small spaces (we felt totally safe the whole time), then don’t miss this adrenaline pumping adventure through Venado Caves.
After all of that adventure around La Fortuna and Arenal, you might want to take some time and relax before your next destination. Since we planned to visit the Manuel Antonio region of Costa Rica next, that’s exactly what we did. A night pass to Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa was the perfect option for us. The pass included dinner and access to many thermal pools surrounded by beautiful greenery.
If you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or breathtaking nature, La Fortuna has it all. Check out our Costa Rica 10 day Jungle and Beach Itinerary and leave any comments or questions below. Happy adventures!