How to get from Monteverde to La Fortuna

Our second stop in Costa Rica was La Fortuna. We arrived here via a Jeep-Boat-Jeep from Monteverde and cost us $27 each. 

Jeep (we’re using the term “Jeep” quite loosely here since it’s not really a Jeep but rather a tour van) from Monteverde picked us up at 08:00 and we arrived at the dock after around a 1.5 hour drive. Our driver spotted a Keel-Billed Toucan on our way and stopped the vehicle to give us time to take pictures. We thought that this was really cool since the driver didn’t really need to go as far as stopping the Jeep for us but that’s what happened which goes to show how passionate locals are of their wildlife.

Boat left the dock at around 10:00 and arrived at our destination at 11:00. The boat ride itself was a pleasant one with nice views of the river and volcano. 

Another Jeep was waiting for us at the boat drop off and we drove for another hour to arrive at our destination at Rancho Cerro Azul.

Monteverde - Arenal (Jeep-boat-jeep)

Day 1

Can you visit Arenal Volcano National Park without a tour?

Yes, especially if you have your own car. In our case, we even visited the park using Uber and this is where it can get a little complicated. We booked an Uber from our hotel and when the driver showed up, he said that the price on the app is different from what he will actually charge and that he preferred to be paid in cash. Uber charges are reserved as soon as you book so we explained that he needed to cancel our ride if we were to pay in cash (which we were willing to do). As soon as the driver cancelled, another one picked up our booking so we had to part ways with our first driver. 

The second driver picked us up and turned our expected 15 minute drive into a 40 minute one. We ended up being charged five times the original price shown by Uber at the time of booking. We will never know if this was a scam or if our driver honestly confused the route and took multiple wrong turns. Uber refunded us after explaining what happened so the drive from La Fortuna to Arenal Volcano National Park ended up costing ₡ 2,250.

Arenal volcano national park

How much does it cost to enter Arenal Volcano National Park?

We paid $16.95 each at the park’s reception to get in.

What to do at Arenal Volcano National Park 

At the national park, we hiked the below trails:

  • Main Lookout / Mirador Principal
  • Las Heliconias
  • Las Coladas / Colada de Lava
  • El Ceibo

It took us around 3 hours to cover the trails. The most popular sights from the trails are the lava rocks on the Colada de Lava trail (the igneous rocks themselves and the views of the Arenal Volcano are quite something), and the 400 year old Ceiba Pentandra tree on the El Ceibo trail (we have never witnessed a tree this massive. Pictures don’t do this tree justice but it’s truly magical).

Arenal volcano national park - El Ceibo tree

Another highlight was the sightings of some wildlife. We spotted:

  • Mantled Howler Monkeys 
  • A Northern Tamandua

How much does it cost to see La Fortuna Waterfall?

We caught an Uber from Arenal Volcano National Park directly to La Fortuna Waterfall and cost us ₡7,400. No issues with Uber this time round.

Entrance to La Fortuna Waterfall was $18 each. 

How much time do you need at La Fortuna Waterfall?

We did not spend more than 2 hours and this included walking up and down the 500 steps to get to and from the Waterfall, swimming, and taking in the falls themselves. 

La Fortuna waterfall Arenal

Day 2

White Water Rafting from La Fortuna

Our second day in La Fortuna was all about white water rafting with a company called Costa Rica Descents. We booked this activity with a tour company called Claro Tours in town the night before. It cost us $50 each including transportation to and from hotel, lunch, fruit, and a tour in their organic farm. 

Costa Rica Descents picked us up from our hotel at 08:50. Drive to the rapids was around 40 minutes and we stopped midway at a local restaurant for guides to buy fruit and for us to buy some beer (we were told that there will be a break midway through rafting where we can eat fruit and drink beer). 

On arrival, guides provided the gear (helmets, paddles and life jackets) and explained the basics. We rented water shoes from the company at an extra $5 since we didn’t have appropriate footwear for the activity. 

The rafting activity itself consisted of:

  • One hour of rafting 
  • One hour break for fruit and beer (fruit provided by the company and the beer we purchased earlier). We saw a two-toed sloth in a tree right above us.
  • Another hour of rafting 

Costa Rica Descents provided towels at our final rafting stop. The rapids were between classes 2-4. Was a lot of fun, flipped over at one point, we made part of a fun group (6 of us + 1 guide) and the guides really went out of their way to spot and explain any wildlife or fauna we came across. We were lucky to spot:

  • Blue Herons 
  • Vultures 
  • Iguanas 
  • Two-Toed Sloth

We then drove towards a restaurant for around 40 minutes in town for lunch. On the way there, we stopped at a local restaurant in case we wanted to change into dry clothes (yes, you’re soaking wet by the end of it). 

Organic farm tour was next. The farm is owned by the same company and we were basically shown what and how certain fruits are grown. We were then given a short demonstration and participated in the extraction of sugarcane juice from sugarcane (it actually tasted quite good).  

That concluded our tour with Costa Rica Descents and were finally driven back to our hotel. 

All in all and for its price and the actual rafting duration (rafted in other countries and we didn’t get to raft for that long), we’d definitely recommend this tour for anyone interested in rafting while in La Fortuna.

Day 3

We pretty much took it easy on our third day and did not have any pre-booked tours/activities.  

There was a really nice river literally 5 minutes away by walk from our hotel so we explored that.

La Fortuna

We then attempted to book an Uber into town, and once again, things got a little complicated. After having a driver accept our booking request, it was later (5 minutes into the booking) cancelled. But here’s the silly part. He didn’t cancel through the app  but rather sent us a message in Spanish telling us that he won’t be picking us up. This meant that we were stuck and couldn’t attempt to book again because as far as Uber was concerned, a driver was on his way to pick us up.

Long story short and after multiple messages in both English and Spanish, the driver cancelled and we were able to book another ride. We finally did and it cost us ₡1,350 to get into town.

We walked around town, visiting some local shops and cafeterias.

La Fortuna

Where to eat in La Fortuna

Restaurants which offered vegetarian options and we thoroughly enjoyed were La Street Bistro, El Jardin de Frida and El Chante Verde. Can’t resist not specifically recommending the Veggie Bowl from La Street Bistro. 

La Fortuna - La Street Bistro

Check out our next stop in Playa Grande.

3 thoughts on “La Fortuna: Arenal Volcano, White Water Rafting, La Fortuna Waterfall (From Monteverde)”

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