In Arenal and La Fortuna, there is so much to do, so much to see and La Fortuna had much more of a nightlife than anywhere else we visited. The three days I spent in La Fortuna were incredibly full-on. Similar to Monteverde, you could take your time here to see everything, however on a whistle-stop tour of Costa Rica, three days were the perfect amount for me.

Accommodation: Arenal Poshpackers

I really enjoyed the feel of this accommodation, as it seemed to be a bit of a cross between full-on backpacker hostel and hotel. The shared spaces were also really well maintained, with a pool, self-catering kitchen, bar, hammocks in the garden and disco floor. The staff were friendly and made sure we had everything we needed for our time in La Fortuna. Rooms | Poshpacker Arenal Volcano

Day 1: Travelling to La Fortuna

Our day started off in Monteverde Cloud Forest where we caught a shared shuttle to Arenal Lake. Here, we boarded a boat (all booked in advance, one company for shuttle and boat) with all of our bags. We had about an hour on the lake towards Arenal Volcano and looking at the views.

We spent the afternoon chilling out in the pool and hammocks at our accommodation before a quick explore of La Fortuna. From late afternoon to evening, we took part in a cooking class at one of the local farms. This was one of the more authentic cooking classes I’ve done (my favourite cooking classes to date being Costa Rica and Italy). If you haven’t done them before and want to know more, try reading Are Cooking Classes Abroad Worth it?. The cooking class in Arenal consisted of us going for a walk around the farm, picking some herbs and ingredients, then splitting off into two groups. We made patacones, salsa, rice, a traditional chicken dish and plantain crisps. Some of the chefs teaching us only spoke Spanish so there were some of the family translating. It also gave me a great opportunity to practice my Spanish skills.

Day 2 – La Fortuna

We started off early on day two, with a full-day trip to see the Arenal Volcano. At least that was the plan. The trip itself was amazing, however the fog and cloud the volcano did mean we were hardly able to see it. The walk up the volcano was lead by the guides, who then drove us to a butterfly sanctuary for lunch. After lunch, we were driven up a mountain into a private reserve where we hiked down to a waterfall for a swim. The water was stunningly blue, and the half an hour we spent here was a lovely part of the day to re-engage with the Costa Rican nature, fully immersing ourselves in the ‘Pura Vida’ lifestyle.

The Hot Springs

On our way out of the reserve, we stopped off at one of the tourism places to see huts of the indigenous tribes, learn our their culture, try their drink and see how they live. Costa Rica still has many indigenous tribes, such as the Bri Bri tribe and Maleku. The day was concluded with a couple of hours in the hot springs. Although at first the springs seemed a little commercialised, there were so many different rocky pools (man-made) that you could choose your temperature, size and atmosphere of your pool. This was one of my highlight days of the trip and I cannot recommend Red Lava tours enough for their friendliness and service. Link if you’re interested La Fortuna Costa Rica | Arenal Volcano Tours and Transportation – (redlavatouristservicecenter.com)


Day 3 – La Fortuna

Another early start, and another Red Lava tour. This time with a much longer drive to see the Rio Celeste. The Rio Celeste is a river with a chemical phenomenon that turns the water from brown to blue at a certain point. This day had the longest hike, still nothing too arduous though, and the guides were still fantastic. After the few hours of driving, we arrived at the park, got our bags checked (as mandatory in most national parks to ensure you don’t take single-use plastic into the parks) and set off with the guide. Once we’d finished our hike and seen the waterfall, we took a brief stop for coconut water before heading onwards to a local restaurant to have a traditional meal.

Rio Celeste

Restaurant Recommendation:

Restaurante Fortuneno – this was possibly my favourite restaurant of the trip. Their ceviche was amazing, and the atmosphere was fantastic, with a mix of locals and tourists. You may need to book; it can get very busy very quickly depending on what time you want to eat.

My Overall Thoughts on La Fortuna

La Fortuna was completely different to Monteverde, both in atmosphere, activities and weather. La Fortuna was such a jam-packed part of the trip, however I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Three days was perfect for what we wanted to do, but you can easily extend this should you want more time to chill and explore.

Travelling to Costa Rica? Check out my blog series on it!
What to do in Monteverde, Costa Rica? – wanderlustandarucksack

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