You have heard us talk before about how much we love Costa Rica and about all of the beautiful diverse cities it has to offer. Well if you are looking for that perfect balance of adventure and relaxation, look no further than the small city of La Fortuna.
La Fortuna is a beautiful little town situated in the shadows of two absolutely breath-taking volcanoes. It is definitely a bigger tourist stop with a ton of things to do and places to stay but, during our time there, it never felt too crowded. When a destination feels too crowded it can make it really stressful. La Fortuna is one of those perfect destinations.
Two Volcanos Tour
If you only have a day or two in La Fortuna and still want to see the absolute maximum amount of things, we highly recommend you check out the Two Volcanos Tour. It is about a 10-hour tour, so be aware, this will take up an entire day. Transportation from your accommodations is around 9 in the morning. We booked our tour through our hostel. They will return you back to wherever you are staying at the end of the tour which is around 7-7:30 pm. The day consists of a rigorous hike up to the 1968 lava flow that has a beautiful view of the Arenal Volcano and an amazing vantage point for the surrounding area. After your hike you are welcome to cool off in the nearby lagoon complete with it's own Tarzan swing. Lunch is included in the tour but it is neither vegan nor vegetarian so if that is outside of your dietary needs I highly suggest packing a lunch or bringing lots of snacks. After lunch, you head over to the Arenal Observatory for more walking trails, a waterfall, two hanging bridges and an absolutely beautiful sunset over Lake Arenal with the volcanos beside you. To wind down the tour you head on over to the natural hot river to soak and enjoy a celebratory drink. Our guide also offered a therapeutic face mask made from some of the mineral-rich mud that comes from the volcano. The tour guides are amazing and knowledgeable and honestly for $55 USD this tour is absolutely worth it. (WARNING: the hike up to the lava flow will be physically intense with steep AND long climbs. Most young, physically-active individuals will find it challenging, but manageble. Make sure you bring plenty of water, the right kind of hiking shoes and sunblock!)
We actually ended up eating at the Lava Lounge twice during our stay in La Fortuna. That was definitely not for the lack of other options but more for the convenience of the restaurant. And if we are being completely honest, one of the big reasons we ate there the first night was because the restaurant is open air and allows the resident dogs and cats into the establishment to socialize with patrons. And you know how much we love dogs! The food is very good and they have many options from American dishes to traditional Costa Rican cuisine. We also went for breakfast which was really good. The menu and the staff are both English-friendly and pleasant. You may even see the Ex-Pat owner running around, which I always think is cool!
Ok, ok! You know how you just get hit with cravings out of nowhere? Well, this happened to me in La Fortuna. All of a sudden, on our rest day, my body decided I just had to have a veggie burger! And, honestly, what better place than Veggie Sub. This cute little restaurant was some of the best food and best service we had on the entire trip. While the menu was English friendly the staff had a harder time with English and I found that I had an easier time communicating than mom did. Highly recommend!
Arenal Backpackers Resort
As usual we booked our hostel accommodations through Hostelworld.com. And, when it came to La Fortuna, our only desire was to be able to see the volcano from outside our room, and boy did we hit the jackpot. Arenal Backpackers Resort (ABR) had some pretty amazing amenities including hammocks, a pool, volley ball area and green space for exercise or lounging. It also has a small restaurant that serves breakfast and dinner. ABR offers traditional rooms and dorms but they also offer something that I thought was really cool and unique; really nice tents. I know what you are probably thinking, because, it was the same thing mom thought "Brandy, are you serious? A tent?" but I found it to be so nice and mom did eventually came around. The tents are set up on top of platforms and contain: a full size bed, a fan, an electrical strip, two towels and a trash can. It was a really cool, unique experience. The exact kind of thing you want when you are out exploring the world!
Staying in La Fortuna and hiking the Arenal Volcano is possibly the coolest thing we have ever done on our travels. If you are looking for adventure and want to feel like you are in a completely different world, we 100% recommend planning a stay in La Fortuna. Great restaurants, incredible excursions and amazing opportunities for a little relaxation. We hope this guide aids you in your travels and you have a trip you will never forget. Pura vida and remember...