About Arenal and La Fortuna

Arenal’s perfectly symmetrical shape makes it a sightseer’s dream, while its abundance of outdoor activities makes it an easy place to check things off your “must-do in Costa Rica” list.

Until 2010, it was Costa Rica’s most active volcano. Much to the enjoyment of its visitors, Arenal spewed enormous amounts of lava, gas, and ash on a regular basis. That eruptive cycle – which began with the infamous eruption of 1968 – ended recently. In October 2010, Arenal entered into an indeterminate resting phase. For the time being, visitors will be unable to watch the much-loved explosions, although that could change within a matter of months or years. Travelers to Arenal will still enjoy its bountiful sights, sounds and activities— there are mountains to be hiked, lakes to be fished and rivers to be floated. As one of the country’s most scenic and accessible areas, it is a requisite stop on any tour of Costa Rica.

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Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit La Fortuna is between November and April. During this time weather becomes dry, beautiful with moderate temperature, less rain, and warm sunshine. If you are lucky may be able to see the volcano clearly. 

  • November – April is the dry season, the temperature is between 19ºC – 24ºC ( 66ºF – 75ºF)
  • May – November  Is the rainy season weather can be quite unpredictable.

How to Get There

Self Driving:

From San José: The shortest way from SJO is through Inter-Americana highway passing through San Ramon and La Tigra. This route takes about 3 and a half hours.

From Guanacaste: Take Interamericana highway passing through Cañas and turn off when you reach Tilarán. Drive all the way around Lake Arenal to reach the national park. This route takes roughly 3 hours.

By Bus:

There are many shuttle companies that service from San José to La Fortuna. The cost of a one-way ticket per person is around $45. A private shuttle is also available but more expensive around $180-200.

Public buses cost around $4, takes about 4-5 hours and leave 3 times a day: 615 AM, 840 AM and 1130AM.

By Air:

Domestic flights are available via airlines such as Nature Air and cost around $150 one way depending on where you are coming from.

Taxi:

If you are coming from Monteverde, there are companies that have taxi/water taxi services between Monteverde and Arenal. This takes around 3 hours and costs around $170 per person.

Top Things To Do In La Fortuna and Arenal 

Arenal Volcano

Without a doubt, however, the most popular of Costa Rica’s volcanic giants is Arenal. Located in the northern part of the country, it towers over the surrounding fertile landscape, surrounded by plantations producing the best coffee in the world. The symmetrical cone-shaped Arenal Volcano erupted in the past an average of 41 times a day. While it currently slumbers, Arenal and the surrounding area are a great base for adventure touring.

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Hot Springs

La Fortuna is popular for its hot springs naturally heated by the volcano’s thermal energy. There are resorts where you can visit just to soak in luxurious gardens. Tabacon Hot Springs is one of the places where you would find 5 pools with water temperature range between 25º – 50ºC (77º-122ºF), with restaurants and waterslide for additional entertainment. Ecotermales Hot Springs is also much popular with 6 pools.

La Fortuna Waterfall

If time permits pay a visit to La Fortuna waterfall just a short distance from the town of La Fortuna in a dense jungle greenery before plummeting some 200 feet (65 meters) into an emerald pool below. To avoid the crowds I would recommend to arrive early in the day as this a popular attraction and get busy during the high seasons.

The trail to the fall can be accessed by foot or on horseback. The hike itself is picturesque, runs through the rainforest, an opportunity to spot toucans, monkeys, and other tropical creatures. It takes an hour to arrive there by horse and about 15 minutes to hike down the stairs to the waterfall. The entrance fee is $8.00.

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Picturesque Cruise in the Arenal Lake

The sunset at the volcano as seen from the lake is breathtaking. A Cruise on the Lake Arenal is perfect to watch the amazing view of the sunset, especially as the Sun illuminates the Arenal Volcano.

You may also have the opportunity to view the amazing birdlife like Kingfishers, egrets, herons and much more around the lake.

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Where I stayed in Costa Rica

Hotel Arenal Lodge, 142 142, Provincia de Alajuela, Costa Rica – 200 meters Northwest from the dam of the Arenal Lake, Fortuna de San Carlos,

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My Opinion and Tips

Have you been to Volcano Arenal? Any additional tips to share?

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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My Pictures That Will Tell My Travel Stories

Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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