La Fortuna waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica. The 75 meters (246 feet) 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 surrounded area of La Fortuna waterfall is beautiful with tropical rainforest and views on 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! 

About La Fortuna waterfall

La Fortuna waterfall is a beautiful 75 meters 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. La Fortuna waterfall 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 kilometres 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 split 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 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 to La Fortuna waterfall. 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 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 $18 per person for adults and for children it is $5. 

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 payed 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 kilometres 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. 

  • La Fortuna waterfall horseback riding 

A very unique opportunity to combine visiting a waterfall together with exploring the country side of Costa Rica’s rainforest on the back of a horse. You won’t be going to the base of La Fortuna waterfall but you will visit the falls with your guide before the tour ends. 

  • 3 in 1 Arenal 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 2 in 1 Arenal tour where you will skip the hanging bridges and visit the Arenal Volcano National Park and La Fortuna waterfall. 

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. 

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. 

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.