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How to Spend 3 Days in La Fortuna

How to Spend 3 Days in La Fortuna

La Fortuna is well-known for its natural attractions and outdoor activities. With three days in this Costa Rican gem, you’ll have plenty of time to explore its extensive trail systems, ziplining and white-water-rafting options, and hot springs, with time left over for a day trip. Here’s how to get the most out of three days in La Fortuna.

Day 1: Hiking and Exploring

Spend your first day exploring La Fortuna’s signature attraction: Arenal National Park. At the heart of the park sits the Arenal Volcano, visible from most parts of the city. Hike the trail system surrounding the volcano, or head down to the nearby La Fortuna waterfall, a popular spot for swimming and picnicking. Alternatively, head out to El Castillo, a nearby village and home to the Arenal Observatory Lodge. Originally built in 1987 as a Smithsonian Institution research station, this complex a little over 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers) from the crater affords great views of the volcano and offers regular guided treks and bird-watching activities. End your day with a guided evening hike along the hanging bridges of nearby Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges Park, a great place to see the rain forest come to life after dark.

 

Day 2: Exhilaration and Relaxation

Dedicate your second day to a mix of adventure activities and hot-springs relaxation. Start with a morning of ziplining high above the jungle canopy; there are plenty of spots to choose from. In the afternoon, head out on a guided white-water rafting expedition—an abundance of relatively small rapids in the area means that even beginners can join a tour without much preparation. Wrap up your evening with a relaxing soak in a thermal hot spring; if you’re not staying in one of the area’s many hot-spring resorts, it’s worth splurging for a visit to Tabacon Hot Springs, which offers quiet evening soak sessions for a fee.

Day 3: Day Trip to Caño Negro or Monteverde

On day three, expand your explorations deeper into Costa Rica’s Northern Highlands. Make your way out to the Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge in Alajuela, about a 2-hour drive from La Fortuna. A must-visit for anyone with an interest in wildlife, this area is home to primates, lizards, and colorful birds. Many tours are available from La Fortuna, and most include a boat ride along the Rio Frio led by an expert guide.

 

Alternatively, if you’re willing to wake up early and spend a fair bit of time on the road, consider a visit to Monteverde, a 3- to 4-hour drive from La Fortuna. Monteverde is best-known for its Cloud Forest Reserve—home to an array of wildlife including quetzal birds, howler monkeys, and pacas—along with a hummingbird reserve and a network of suspended bridges above the rain forest canopy. 

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5 Tours and Activities

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Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Typical lunch and Arenal Volcano Hike

Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Typical lunch and Arenal Volcano Hike

star-5
337
Combine three adventurous activities in a single tour: a hike to Arental Volcano, visit to the Hanging Bridges, and exploration of La Fortuna Waterfall. This full-day tour from La Fortuna, perfect for nature lovers, includes hiking and swimming amidst Costa Rica's beautiful natural scenery. Hotel pickup and drop-off included.
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  • 9 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$150.00
From
$150.00

Arenal Volcano National Park Walk with Optional Hot Springs
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Arenal Volcano National Park Walk with Optional Hot Springs

star-4.5
30
Explore the forests of Arenal Volcano National Park on a half-day walking tour, with the option to soak away the afternoon in the park’s nearby thermal springs. Follow your guide between towering trees, and discover the devastation left by the powerful lava slides and volcanic activity. Enjoy views of Arenal volcano and the Tilarán Range, and learn about the area’s nature, wildlife, and history. Return to your hotel or visit the hot pools of your choice, where Costa Rica’s simmering geology creates a stunning natural spa. 
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$83.20
From
$83.20

Arenal Hanging Bridges Hiking Tour
Likely to Sell OutLikely to Sell Out

Arenal Hanging Bridges Hiking Tour

star-4.5
31
Explore a protected tropical rain forest on a half-day hanging bridges tour from La Fortuna, and hike a circuit that crosses a series of 15 bridges with extraordinary views of the jungle canopy. Watch for brilliant birds, monkeys, boars, and jewel-toned frogs as you follow your guide through the forest, and listen to the sounds of tropical birdsongs and trilling insects. Experience Costa Rica’s rich diversity and lush habitat in terrain that abuts the Arenal volcano, and discover a remarkable world hidden in thick rain forest canopy.
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  • 4 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$88.62
From
$88.62

Day Trip to Caño Negro Including Río Frio Boat Experience from La Fortuna

Day Trip to Caño Negro Including Río Frio Boat Experience from La Fortuna

star-5
35
This well-rounded tour is the perfect way for nature lovers to experience the best of Costa Rica's outdoor beauty. Enjoy a scenic boated on the Rio Frio with departure near the border of Nicaragua. Cruise through the Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge and see the incredible biodiversity that makes this nation to unique. You'll have up close encounters with birds, snakes, herons and other animals, as well as various species of monkeys and sloths.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$86.00
From
$86.00

Nocturnal Walk in the Hanging Bridges

Nocturnal Walk in the Hanging Bridges

star-4.5
13
One of the most popular activities in La Fortuna, a guided hanging bridges tour is a fool-proof way to spot wildlife and learn more about the Costa Rican rain forest. This nighttime hanging bridges tour in Mistico Park puts a twist on the classic excursion by introducing you to the forest's nocturnal residents, such as honey bears, barn owls, and over 4,500 species of nocturnal butterflies (twice the number of daytime butterflies!). This tour includes pickup and drop-off from some centrally located La Fortuna hotels.
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$51.86
From
$51.86