La Fortuna is a small town in Costa Rica located in the rainforest northwest of San José. It is often referred to as “Arenal” because it is home to the famous Arenal Volcano.
Located in the Northern Highlands, La Fortuna is one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations. This town is only 2.5 hours from both Liberia’s international airport and San Jose’s international airport. La Fortuna has impressive views from almost any vantage point of the Arenal Volcano, a still-active volcano! This town offers many diverse options of attractions to enjoy while still offering a glimpse into local small-town life, resulting in the full Costa Rican experience!
Arenal Volcano has been Costa Rica’s most active volcano since 1968 until it entered a resting phase in 2010. Since then the volcano’s seismicity and lava flow have decreased significantly. Even without the regular volcanic activity that it’s known for, Arenal Volcano is still majestically beautiful. Clouds often obscure the view of the volcano but most visitors do get to see the volcano a few times during a visit.
Besides the Arenal Volcano, the La Fortuna area offers a wide range of activities including wildlife viewing and adventure activities. Scenic views and wildlife sightings can be enjoyed while walking through the Hanging Bridges, hiking therainforest trails leading to the La Fortuna Waterfall, or during a Bird Watching hike. An adrenaline rush can be achieved while ziplining, whitewater rafting, waterfall canyoning and rappelling, and more. Relaxation can be found at one of the hot springs along the foot of the volcano on the thermal Tabacón River.
The town of La Fortuna offers an opportunity to see a local community, with the central square and church, shops, restaurants, and nearby soccer fields. There are some small hotels in town and larger resort properties just outside the town, all offering beautiful views of the volcano.
The Arenal Volcano National Park is nearly 30,000 acres, located within the larger Arenal Conservation Area, which is just over 500,000 acres and protects 16 reserves between the Tilarán and Guanacaste mountain ranges. Many people do not know that the Arenal Volcano National Park is actually home to two volcanoes! Cerro Chato is an extinct volcano that last erupted a little over 5,000 years ago. The hike to Cerro Chato is challenging and the last section from the rim to the lagoon is very slippery. The more common hikes in this area are to view Arenal Volcano – from a safe distance!
La Fortuna is a favorite area of ours for elopement weddings, whether at the beautiful La Fortuna Waterfall, a remote chapel, or along trails in the rainforest. If you are having guests join you, there are many venues in La Fortuna to host your dream wedding. A wonderful five-star option is the luxury boutique hotel called Nayara Gardens. The Springs Resort is another great option with event space. As well as Hotel Mountain Paradise which offers beautiful event space and casitas.