(La Catarata de La Fortuna)
The charming town of La Fortuna, near Parque Nacional Volcan Arenal, is teaming with wildlife, and the scenery is breathtaking. There are many things to do in this area including a visit to the national park, the Mistico Arenal Hanging Bridges, Rio Celeste, the Hot Springs and La Fortuna Waterfall.
La Fortuna is certainly a loved destination in Cost Rica for many reasons. One of those being La Catarata de La Fortuna, or in English, La Fortuna Waterfall. The waterfall is located about 3 miles from the town center and is nestled in hills overlooking La Fortuna.
After reading about the 400 steps to get to the waterfall, I was mentally prepared for the challenge. What I wasn’t expecting were the awe-inspiring views.
The hike will take you about 20 minutes and lead you down through a tropical forest. The waterfall is about 75 meters high and plummets straight down to a natural pool of water. It’s amazing!
Visiting the La Fortuna Waterfall
Once you arrive at the entrance to the waterfall, you will pay, then see several buildings near the trail head. There are facilities as well as a restaurant and souvenir shop.
You will be able to get a view of the waterfall you are about to come close to right away. Stop to take a few pictures then hit the trail.
The hike will take you about 20 minutes depending on your level of fitness and will lead you down 400 steps through the tropical forest. Be sure to enjoy the walk down as well as the viewpoints. Believe me; the walk up won’t be as easy!
Luckily for you, they have been building a new platform to make it easier to hike down to the waterfall. However, when we went, it was not completed. The dirt path, with different size stepping stones, was a challenge for me. With my short frame (5’2”) I had a hard time getting from one step to the next.
You will be surrounded by abundant vegetation, and a great variety of flora and fauna. The waterfall is produced by waters from Fortuna River and tributaries located in the mountains of the zone.
If you plan on swimming it’s a good idea to have swim shoes or Keens. The rocks around this area are quite large. However, if you go to the left of the waterfall the water is a little calmer, and the stream is quite nice.
During the dry season you can swim near the waterfall, but be cautious.
What You Should Bring With You
Hiking shoes or sneakers, comfortable clothing, clothes for change, raincoat, insect repellent, bathing suit and towel, along with plenty of water! Don’t forget your camera!
Entrance Fee and Hours
$11 for adult foreigners, $5 for children.
Park hours are 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, open every day.
Getting to La Fortuna Waterfall
A cab ride will cost you about $10.00, and the entrance is $11.00 per person. There is no reason to take a tour to this location as it’s a popular destination with paths that are easily accessible.
Getting here from San Jose – The drive from San Jose takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. You can see a driving map here.