La Fortuna Church & Arenal VolcanoThe main church in La Fortuna with Arenal Volcano in the background

The City of The Fortunate

The rural city of La Fortuna de San Carlos in Costa Rica is not only charming, but its natural attractions and proximity to Arenal region makes it a hub for big adventures. I’m a big fan of big adventures, so I visit often! Located on the province of Alajuela, San Carlos, La Fortuna was originally known as “El Borio.” The city was renamed La Fortuna, which means “the fortunate” to honor the luck the city had during the Arenal Volcano eruption in 1968. The city lies to the east of the volcano, but the eruption only impacted villages to the west. This very volcano is part of what makes La Fortuna such a popular area, and a geological wonder. Tourists to Costa Rica that are seeking the ultimate adventure should plan to visit this area to satisfy their craving for fun and exhilaration.

Getting to La Fortuna

Guanacaste Escape Adventure Tour
7 Days / 6 Nights
Starting at $779 per person

Visitors to La Fortuna have a variety of travel options. While you can’t just hop over like me, there is an airport in San Jose which is only about a three hour drive, so domestic flights would get you to the area. The town is also host to a main connection road that is popular for travel to the Arenal region and also to Guanacaste, so arrival by car is common. Just watch out for animals on the roads!

Along the Way…

There are plenty of adventures to have on the way to your adventure too! If you choose to drive to La Fortuna from San Jose (consider renting a car!), check out our printable regional maps to plan some side adventures and exploring. Consider stopping at the Poas Volcano National Park and La Paz Waterfall Gardens for breathtaking scenery and lots of photo opps! I’m a frequent visitor of these spots, so I just might photo bomb your pictures!

Arenal Volcano Inn, la Fortuna, San Carlos Arenal Volcano Inn, one of the many options to stay at in La Fortuna

Staying in La Fortuna

Costa Rica is well-prepared for tourist with plenty of affordable accommodations, restaurants and shopping, and La Fortuna is no exception. You can easily find a place to stay in close proximity to all the other accommodations that you’ll need, including night life. You can venture outside of the city to get more spectacular volcano view, but those hotels will be a little more costly.

La Fortuna Waterfall surrounded by forest The amazing La Fortuna Waterfall, just one of the many local attractions

Natural Local Attractions

If you are only spending one day in La Fortuna, you absolutely have to plan to see the Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall and the Tabacon Hot Springs. It sounds like a lot to fit into one day, but consider the hot springs as a relaxing end to an adventurous exploration! The Arenal Volcano was one of the most active volcanoes in Costa Rica, and used to bring plenty of tourists and scientist year-round with its steady lava and ash flow. You can plan to visit Arenal Volcano National Park (the entrance is to the west of the volcano’s peak) to see this amazing natural landscape. It always croaks me up a little to see something so spectacular!

After you view the landscape that makes you look upwards, find one that makes you look downwards in La Fortuna waterfall. Pouring out and over a cliff that is seventy-meters, you’re sure to find yourself watching this majestic sight with wonder. Speaking of wonders, don’t miss the chance to visit the Tabacon Hot Springs. Get a relaxing “spa day” in a natural setting and take in all the beauty around you. I definitely like to end a long day of adventure at the springs to rest my legs from all that hopping around.

Doing the superman on a canopy tour / zip line near Arenal Volcano Doing the superman on a canopy tour / zip line near Arenal Volcano

Other Attractions

If you are looking for adventures with more of an adrenaline rush, there are plenty of those available in La Fortuna too! During your visit, you could plan a day trip that involves some traditional operator tours in Costa Rica, like horseback riding, zip lining, whitewater rafting, and even waterfall repelling.

Arenal Volcano SmokingThe active Arenal Volcano smoking