La Fortuna waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica. The 75-meter (246-foot) high waterfall comes straight out of the jungle and drops down into a bright blue pool. To get down to the base of the waterfall, you have to conquer approximately 530 steps. The trails are well-maintained and there are benches to rest along the way. The surrounding area of La Fortuna waterfall is beautiful with tropical rainforest and views of the surrounding volcanic mountains. It’s a great half-day trip and you can even take a refreshing dip in the pool of the waterfall. La Fortuna waterfall is definitely one of the Costa Rica destinations you can’t miss! Read in this blog post everything you need to know! 

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About La Fortuna waterfall

La Fortuna waterfall is a beautiful 75-meter-high waterfall just a little bit outside of La Fortuna village. The waterfall is formed by the old lava flow of the Cerro Chato volcano which is now an extinct volcano. It is fed by the Arenal River and travels through the rain forest in the Arenal Mountain range until it plunges over the cliff at the base of Cerro Chato volcano.

Located in a biological reserve with an area of 210 acres of tropical rainforest, La Fortuna waterfall is part of the Arenal Volcano National Park. It lies 520 meters above sea level and provides incredible views over the surrounding mountain range. 

How to get to La Fortuna waterfall

La Fortuna waterfall is only 6 kilometers outside of town located. You can either get there by yourself with a rental car or take a taxi to the park. One way from La Fortuna will cost you anywhere between $10 and $15. There is no public transport going to the entrance of La Fortuna, the cheapest way would be to take a taxi. From San Jose, it is about 2,5 to 3 hours of driving to get to La Fortuna.

The direction is very easy to follow and you will see some big signs pointing to La Fortuna waterfall along the way. The road is completely paved so no jeep is needed to get to the entrance. 

After you’ve bought the tickets at the entrance you will have to hike down the 530 steps to get to the base of the waterfall. This will take you anywhere between 20 – 30 minutes. 

Best time to visit La Fortuna waterfall

If you want to avoid the crowds, then head out as early as possible. Also, keep in mind the Costa Rican holidays because it tends to be much busier with locals during the holidays and weekends.

The weather in La Fortuna is tropical year-round. But during the rainy season, you can expect lots of rainfall due to its higher elevation. The best time to visit La Fortuna in general is from December to April in the dry season.

Entrance fee and opening times La Fortuna waterfall

The entrance fee for La Fortuna waterfall is $20 per person for adults and for children, it is $5. All proceeds are being reinvested into local conservation efforts and the ticket includes a parking fee.

The best way to save time is to buy these skip-the-line entrance tickets so that you don’t have to wait and can directly continue the walk towards the waterfall.

The opening times for La Fortuna waterfall are from 7 AM to 5 PM and the last entry is at 4 PM. 

The facilities at the entrance are bathrooms a souvenir store and big parking lot. Besides that you can walk through the beautiful garden and see all sorts of tropical plants, flowers and trees. 

What to expect at La Fortuna waterfall Costa Rica

After you’ve paid the ticket for La Fortuna waterfall it is time to prepare for the hike down the 530 steps. The trail is well-maintained and all paved so you don’t have to worry about muddy shoes or slippery parts. There are even some benches along the way to rest if you need to.

The first stop after you’ve crossed the bridge to get to the trailhead is an observation platform. From here you’ll have the first beautiful view on La Fortuna waterfall. 

The total length of the La Fortuna waterfall hike is about 1.2 kilometers round trip. The way down to the base of the waterfall will take you about 15 – 20 minutes, but to get back up it will take you a little longer. Take your time and look around at the abundant vegetation and a beautiful variety of flora and fauna.

Can you swim at La Fortuna waterfall?

Yes, you can swim in the pool, however not too close to the waterfall as the current is very strong. The waterfall plunges down with an enormous power so it gets really dangerous the closer you get. There are also some sharp rocks in the cascade pool, so be really careful! Even if you don’t go too far in the pool. After heavy rainfall, the pool can change color from blue to brown and the current might be way too strong to swim. But in that case, you can better swim in the Fortuna River which is perfectly calm water and located to the left of the waterfall.

La Fortuna waterfall tour

If you’re looking for more than just a visit to the La Fortuna waterfall, or want to combine a day trip with other activities, then you can choose from a few great tours being offered in combination with exploring the waterfall. 

  • 3 in 1 Arenal tour or pick the complete 4 in 1 tour

With this tour, you will have the opportunity to visit all the highlights in La Fortuna in one day. This includes the La Fortuna waterfall, Arenal 1968 hiking trails and the Arenal Hanging Bridges. Another option is the 4 in 1 Arenal tour where you will relax at the hot springs after all the activities.

Book here your complete tour of 4 best La Fortuna activities. Hike around the base of Arenal volcano, visit the Arenal Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna waterfall and relax at the hot springs.

Book here your La Fortuna waterfall, Arenal volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo tour. Experience the best of La Fortuna in this full day trip with 3 amazing activities. Hike through the rainforest of Arenal volcano, cool off at La Fortuna waterfall and hike the 15 suspension bridges of Arenal Hanging Bridges park.

Other awesome tours in La Fortuna

  • Airboat Combo Tour on Lake Arenal. Take an airboat tour across Lake Arenal, the largest lake in Costa Rica. See Arenal Volcano and the rest of the natural beauty of the region from a unique perspective.
  • Zip-line and rafting adventure from La Fortuna. Combine 2 of Costa Rica’s most popular and fun activities: whitewater rafting and zip-lining. Afterwards you will enjoy a meal cooked on a wood stove at a farmhouse.
  • Mistico Hanging Bridges tour. Explore the rainforest of La Fortuna and hike across the 6 hanging bridges in Mistico park. Enjoy the views on Arenal volcano and learn more about the flora and fauna from your naturalist guide.
  • Horse riding, hiking, waterfalls, zip lining and canyoneering in one day adventure. For some of the best, adventurous activities in La Fortuna, book this complete tour including lunch.
  • Rafting and chocolate tour combo. Learn about the history of chocolate production from bean to bar and enjoy a fun white water rafting experience for the whole family on class 2-3 rapids.
  • Wildlife Safari float with lunch. Looking for something with less speed than rafting and are you more into spotting wildlife? Then a safari float on the Peñas Blancas river is the tour for you!
  • La Fortuna canyoneering tour. Embark on this adrenaline filled adventure while exploring the Costa Rican jungle. Jump off the canyon walls into the deep, clear pools near the Arenal Volcano and rappel down a monster waterfall.
  • Rio Celeste full-day tour from La Fortuna. Experience the natural beauty of Tenorio National Park and see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica. Rio Celeste waterfall is famous for it’s incredible blue water, you have to see it yourself to believe it!

Other things to do near La Fortuna waterfall

After exploring the waterfall you can do many other things in La Fortuna town and the surrounding area. Below a short list of the best things to do. If you want to know about all the best things to do in La Fortuna, then head over to our complete guide.  

Explore Arenal volcano National Park 

There are several hiking trails that gives amazing views on Arenal volcano and Lake Arenal. You will go through rainforest, walk over the lava fields from previous eruptions and pass some incredible vantage point of Arenal volcano. 

Book here your Arenal volcano base hike

Read about all the Arenal volcano hikes in this complete guide

Hike the Arenal hanging bridges

There are a two hanging bridges parks in and near La Fortuna. The Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges and Arenal Sky Adventures park. However the Místico Arenal Hanging Bridges has a total of 16 bridges while the Sky Walk Hanging Bridges at Arenal Sky Adventures park only has 5 bridges. 

Book here your Arenal Hanging Bridges tour

Go zip lining 

For an adrenaline junkie experience through the jungle of Costa Rica you can go zip lining. Arenal Mundo Aventura has a total of 12 ziplines with a total of 3.8 kilometres above the tree tops.  

Book here your ziplining tour in La Fortuna


More waterfalls in Costa Rica to explore

If you are a waterfall lover like us, then Costa Rica is a fantastic place to explore some of the most beautiful waterfalls you will ever see. From La Fortuna you can perfectly go on a day tour to explore the nearby Rio Celeste waterfall with the most amazing blue water. Another great stop from San Jose when driving with your rental car through Costa Rica is at the La Paz waterfall garden Costa Rica. These gardens have some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica and well maintained hiking trails. Another beautiful and big Costa Rica waterfall to explore is Catarata del Toro which is located in an extinct crater. When visiting the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, you can’t miss a visit to the BriBri waterfalls near Puerto Viejo.

Awesome La Fortuna waterfall tours

If you want to explore La Fortuna waterfall or combine it with another activity, it is highly recommended to book your tours in advance. Because of the popularity of La Fortuna it is likely that tours sell out quickly. So don’t wait with booking until you get to La Fortuna. Choose your favorite tours here and secure your booking! All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.


Best waterfall tours in Costa Rica

If you want to explore the best waterfalls of Costa Rica, then it is highly recommended to book a tour. During most of these tours you will combine a few locations on one day so you can see the diversity that Costa Rica has to offer. Because of Costa Rica’s popularity it is highly recommended to book your tours in advance as it is likely that tours sell out. So don’t wait with booking until you get to Costa Rica. Choose your favorite tours here and secure your booking! All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.


More Costa Rica travel inspiration

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the beautiful La Fortuna waterfall Costa Rica.

For more Costa Rica travel guides, have a look at our other Costa Rica travel blogs.

12 best waterfalls in Costa Rica – The Complete Guide

20 best hikes in Costa Rica – The Complete Guide

14 best beaches in Costa Rica – The Complete Guide

La Paz waterfall garden Costa Rica – The Complete Guide

Playa Cocles in Puerto Viejo – The Complete Guide

Catarata del Toro – The Complete Guide

Arenal volcano hike – The Complete Guide

Rio Celeste waterfall & Tenorio National Park

Playa Conchal Guanacaste – The Complete Guide

Irazu volcano – Everything you need to know

Cahuita National Park along the Caribbean coast

BriBri waterfalls near Puerto Viejo – The Complete Guide

Manuel Antonio National Park – The Complete Guide

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