Updated: Aug 3, 2022
La Fortuna, Costa Rica is known for Arenal Volcano, the adventure activities, and the tranquil hot springs heated by the Volcano. Only a 3-hour drive from San Jose, La Fortuna is a must-see destination for anyone traveling to Costa Rica for the first time.
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We rented a car from Sixt Rental Cars in San Jose for the entire week that we were in Costa Rica. La Fortuna is about a 3.5 hour drive from San Jose, the capital city of Costa Rica. The drive is scenic, mostly along a two-lane road.
During our time in La Fortuna we stayed at Arenal Kioro. This 4-star boutique hotel is highly rated as one of the best places to stay when traveling to La Fortuna. It is known for being the closest hotel property to Arenal Volcano, and each suite boasts an unobstructed view of the famous volcano. Features of this hotel include on-site hot springs (heated by Arenal), on-site restaurants, pool, and spa. It is also a 10-minute drive from La Fortuna town, so it's only a short drive to a variety of restaurants.
Check out the full review of Arenal Kioro here.
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Upon arrival to La Fortuna, we dropped our bags at the hotel, and headed to Tabacon Resort. Tabacon is the most popular destination in La Fortuna for hot springs heated by the Arenal Volcano. A 5-star resort and spa, Tabacon features a variety of thermal pools ranging from 72 to 105 F degrees. Lucky for tourists to La Fortuna, you don't have to be a guest at the resort to visit the thermal pools! A day pass to Tabacon runs about $89.00 and includes access to all thermal pools, lockers, and towels. The day pass also includes either lunch or dinner. Since we didn't arrive to La Fortuna until 2:00pm, we opted for dinner....and trust me, we were not disappointed. Dinner is an amazing 3-course meal, featuring delicious appetizers, filling entrees, and tantalizing desserts.
Tabacon is a true oasis. If you don't want to pay for the $89.00 day pass, there are certainly less expensive (and even free) options for a hot springs experience. But if you're looking for luxury and true relaxation, Tabacon is the place for you!
La Fortuna Town
After a quick refresher at our hotel, we ventured out to explore La Fortuna Town. The small town of La Fortuna features a variety of restaurants along the town's main street. We visited Lava Lounge, a lively, casual restaurant and bar with a nice vibe and good music, even on a weekday.
After enjoying a complimentary breakfast at Arenal Kioro, we headed to Mistico Park. Mistico Park is a natural park, known for its famous Hanging Bridges. This hanging bridges park features 20 suspension bridges of various heights that offer stunning vistas of the rainforest surrounding Arenal Volcano. We embarked on a 5-hour combination tour that featured horseback riding and the most popular hanging bridges tour.
The tour started at 10:45 am. The tour group was relatively small, with 10-15 people, making it incredibly personalized and intimate. Upon arrival, we were taken to the stables to choose our horses for the day. After selecting our horses, we received instruction on how to direct/command our horses and set off on the tour. Our tour guide was present the entire time, directing where to go and giving our animals nudges from time to time. There were multiple opportunities for amazing photos of the volcano and surrounding lakes. We also stopped halfway through the horseback riding portion to indulge in fresh coconuts provided by Mistico Park.
Following the horseback ride, we headed back to Mistico's on-site restaurant for lunch, included with our combination tour ticket.
After lunch, we set out on our hanging bridges guided tour. Our tour group was comprised of only 4 people plus our incredibly knowledgeable tour guide. Along the way, we stopped to get close up photos of some of the wildlife, including a variety of birds, snakes, and insects. Mistico is an absolute MUST-SEE destination if you travel to La Fortuna.
After a full day at Mistico, we decided to relax at the hotel and try the variety of heated thermal pools on-site at Arenal Kioro. A tranquil end to an exciting day.
Have you traveled to La Fortuna, Costa Rica? Tell us your experiences in the comments!
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