Our next stop on our amazing tour of Costa Rica is La Fortuna. This little town situated at the foot of one of the most powerful natural phenomenas on earth (Arenal Volcano) is a place not to be missed! Here are some of my travel tips for visiting La Fortuna.
This small town has an evidently more tourist vibe to it. However, you can still see the original structure of the town, with the school and playground right in the heart of the town. Although this town has a lot of tourism, the ‘ticos’ have stayed. They are at the heart of the city, living right beneath the powerful volcano!
The most popular and quickest way to get between Monteverde and La Fortuna is the bus-boat-bus service. You can get picked up from your hotel in Monteverde and dropped off at in La Fortuna. All for a reasonable price of around USD25.00 per person. There is normally a morning service around 08:00, and an afternoon service around 14:00. Book this transfer whilst in Monteverde.
You’ll be driven an hour or so down the mountain out of Monteverde to the shores of Lake Arenal. Which I can only imagine to be lovely on a sunny day. Unfortunately the rainy weather followed us from Monteverde and we had rather a wet crossing. On the shores of the lake you will see nothing. The shoreline is as natural as can be, there is no pier, no walkways, nothing but a plastic step. I hope natural sights like these won’t be affected with the arrival of more tourists to Costa Rica. After about another hour crossing the lake you will come to Arenal Dam. Here you will disembark and hop onto another bus. It is about a 40 minute transfer to La Fortuna from the dam. You will drive past the volcano entrance, the posh hotels, the various hot springs and finally into the town centre.
Tip: although La Fortuna is a popular tourist destination, the transport links to the local attractions are virtually non existent. You either need to plan carefully, rent a car or use a taxi.
Hotel wise you can get cheap hostel rooms, mid range hostels/hotel rooms. Or if you want to splash out there are various high-end hotels located along the main road from national park to the entrance to town.
Los Colores de Arenal was our choice of accommodation. A newly built hotel with only 6 rooms available. Situated in a residential area just outside of town, about a 15/20 minute walk into town. The hostel was almost like a huge bungalow. All the rooms were on the ground floor and lead straight out onto the grass and a big pond. My highlight here was seeing a huge iguana strolling around the car park one day as we were waiting outside reception. Nature at it’s best!
There are various restaurants in town. As well as supermarkets for stocking up on picnic items for lunchtimes.
The Lava Lounge: is a popular place for dinner. It offers a range of Costa Rican food, including a lot of rice and bean dishes, mixed with more western dishes. You can also enjoy a reggae vibe here with some vibrant music whilst you eat.
Restaurante Nanku: do very good food as well and be sure to taste one of their fruit smoothies especially strawberry!
Rainforest Café and Restaurant: another place we went to for dinner. It looks like a small café but this place is open for dinner. It’s more a traditional soda style restaurant – good food, cheap prices.
The weather down here is good! We travelled at the beginning of May the shoulder season in Costa Rica and we had warm weather every day.
Accommodation – USD 122.00 for 3 nights (2 people sharing)
Transport – Bus-Boat-Bus USD25.00pp
Lava Lounge Dinner – USD15.00pp for main course and drink
Rainforest Café – USD13.00pp for main course and drink