La Fortuna is located in the Northwestern hills of Costa Rica, approximately 3.5 hours from the capital, San Jose. The Arenal Volcano is the main backdrop and main attraction of this stunningly beautiful Costa Rican town, with the surrounding areas offering rich wildlife, landscapes, and culture. La Fortuna is one of the main traveler destinations in Costa Rica, but still maintains a charming local appeal. Keteka puts travelers in touch with the best tours in La Fortuna, providing an authentic experience of the culture and the landscape. Click here to read more.
For hundreds of years, La Fortuna was nothing more than an agricultural town, cultivating papaya, yucca, pineapple, sugar cane, oranges, and coffee. But in 1968, the Arenal Volcano, located just 3.5 miles (6 kilometers) from town, erupted. Suddenly, tourists from all over the world began flocking to La Fortuna to see the molten lava flow and light up the night skies.
After 42 years, the Arenal became dormant once again in 2010, but the tourist traffic remained due to the natural wonders and vibrant beauty in the Northwest hills of Costa Rica. Despite the tourist infrastructure, La Fortuna maintains a local feel, with ticos, native Costa Ricans, living in and amongst the travelers with their laid back, pura vida lifestyle.
Because it is so widely renowned as a travel destination, there are a plethora of La Fortuna tours to choose from. With the Arenal Volcano as the majestic centerpiece of the region, it is also the centerpiece of most La Fortuna tours. There is an array of everything from hiking to horseback riding to boat tours – all giving unique and spectacular vantage points of the volcano.
For even more sightseeing beyond the volcano, there is an abundance of knowledgeable tour operators offering opportunities to take in the lush landscapes and diverse wildlife of the surrounding areas. La Fortuna is a world-class area for bird watching that can be seen through rainforest hikes or even boat tours, which also offer opportunities to see monkeys, iguanas, bats, egrets, herons, caimans, and more. For those who even want to get closer to the scenery and the wildlife during their time in La Fortuna, you float the rivers in a canoe.
If you’re looking for a little more excitement, there are plenty of exhilarating La Fortuna tours to choose from. Zipline hundreds of feet above the rainforest floor. Down climb and rappel down cliffs and waterfalls, or go spelunking in the caves around La Fortuna. There are also a wide variety of whitewater rafting tours, with difficulties that range from beginner to expert levels.
With over 75 restaurants in and around La Fortuna, travelers can pick from a wide range of cuisines from all around the world to satisfy anyone’s palate. Most of the higher-end options are located in hotels and resorts, but for those looking for an authentic experience of local eateries, there are plenty of smaller mom-and-pop restaurants within the city. Try classic Costa Rican dishes like gallo pinto, rice and beans with eggs, for breakfast, or casados, chicken, beef, or fish with side salads and plantains for lunch. Don’t forget to try Costa Rica’s world-renowned coffee while you’re there as well.
If you’re seeking tropical weather, La Fortuna is the place to find it year round. The coldest average monthly temperature is in December, at 75˚F (24˚C). However, La Fortuna does experience heavy rainfall for most of the year. The driest months are February, March, and April, with average monthly precipitation below 4.8 inches (124mm). Starting in May, the rainfall jumps up to 10 inches (260mm) and gets all the way to 18 inches (460mm) monthly in August. If you’re planning a trip to La Fortuna in August, be sure to pack your raincoat!
Because La Fortuna is such a popular destination for travelers, there is no shortage of lodging options to choose from. Ranging from 5-star, all-inclusive resorts all the way to hotels providing the affordable essentials. There are plenty of places to stay within the heart of the city, near bars and restaurants, or if you want to be more remote, there are options further on the outskirts of town. For those who are looking for the true traveler experience, there are hostels available, starting at just $8 a night.