things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

If you’re the type of person that wants to get in touch with all of the planet’s elements on vacation, then you’ll never be at a loss for things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica!

Just a couple of hours north of the capital, this charming little town is famed as the entry point to Arenal Volcano National Park, and makes for a perfect launching point to explore the area’s lively geothermal features, where the powerful fires beneath the ground create memorable  vistas and relaxing hot springs.

If you’re more of the aquatic type, you can try your hand at rafting or kayaking in some gorgeous bodies of water, where the views and the adrenaline rush combine for a perfect day.

And if you prefer the earth and its surroundings, there’s no shortage of lush rainforests to explore, with scores of amazing plants and animals to take a peek at.

There are even some options to enjoy in the air, whether you’re zipping downwards or gliding upwards!

Alongside the countless outdoor adventures, there are chocolate tastings, art galleries, and cooking classes… all the makings of an unforgettable trip!

So without further ado, let’s start exploring!

1 – Sit and soak in Tabacon Hot Springs

Tabacon Hot Springs, La Fortuna

Before all of the big excitement starts, try easing your tension with a trip to Tabacon Hot Springs!

Located at the base of Arenal Volcano, this tranquil area feels like something out of a spa ad, with several warm pools and a small, bubbling waterfall.

Like all of the other hot springs in the area, its five different pools are heated directly by magma, creating a unique blend of minerals that mix and mingle in the waters.

The thermal waters are said to have healing properties, and after sitting and soaking while enjoying the scenery and rhythms of the jungle around you, you’ll certainly feel rejuvenated!

As an added bonus, there are some excellent tours that also include trips to the volcano, cultural excursions, and other local delights, allowing you to make the most out of your day!

2 – Take a walk through the sky on the Mistico Hanging Bridges

Mistico Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna

If you’ve ever envied monkeys as they leap through the canopies above you, then be sure to take a treetop trek at Mistico Park!

This amazing complex consists of several hanging bridges suspended in the highest branches of the surrounding trees, offering an almost literal bird’s eye view of the world around you.

While there are plenty of great nature trails on the ground as well, this course is a wonderful way to experience another side of the rainforest, including glimpses of  various creatures in their natural habitat.

It’s an especially great spot for birdwatching, with a rainbow’s worth of species flitting through the foliage.

You can even book a specific tour at the park to search for some awesome avian specimens, from migratory wood thrushes and boldly colored hummingbirds to dynamic toucan and toucanets.

And if you want an especially memorable excursion, stop by in the evening, and explore the entirely new world that flourishes at night – you’ll feel like a jungle creature yourself!

3 – Dive into the wild world at Monkey Park La Fortuna

Monkey Park, La Fortuna

Whether they’re swinging through the trees or scurrying along the ground, wild animals are always an exciting sight to see on vacation.

And if you’re in this particular corner of the world, Monkey Park La Fortuna is a great place to start!

This lovely natural reserve is home to a wide variety of local monkeys, which can often be seen cavorting in the  canopy.

Both the primates and their arboreal homes are part of an ongoing reforestation project, which seeks to conserve and support the gorgeous, fragile local biome.

As you’re hiking around, you may spot more than just the park’s namesakes; from bullet ants to green macaws, the space showcases the tremendous variety of wildlife in the Arenal region.

And while the space is devoted to the natural world, it also uses some unique approaches to environmental education that are well worth exploring.

It uses an innovative blend of technology and nature to teach the public about the local plants and creatures, as well as the efforts to protect them.

Wander amongst groves full of gorgeous trees, and scan nearby QR codes to learn even more about the species you’re admiring.

It all makes for an unforgettable day in the jungle – and it just might make a wildlife warrior out of you!

4 – See the stunning colors of Rio Celeste

Rio Celeste, Costa Rica

While it features prominently in a lot of local outdoor activities, Rio Celeste is a gem worth visiting in its own right.

Of course, those famous electric blue currents are the main draw, whether you’re admiring them from the shore or swimming through them.

But the surrounding area, Tenorio Volcano National Park, is just as fun to explore, with its lush forests and fascinating geography.

While the hike to get there takes several hours, you’ll hardly notice the journey, because there are unique treasures and exciting sights every step of the way.

From the vibrant hues of tropical plants to unique creatures moving through the brush, you’ll be treated to the full spectrum of local beauty, and get the chance to really absorb the rhythms of the jungle.

And of course, the views of the water itself – whose distinctive hue comes from the mixing of minerals from two different rivers  – is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Once you’ve arrived, take some time to relax and enjoy the magnificent colors up close, which look like something out of a picture book.

Do keep in mind that changes in the current or disturbances to the sediment may cause the water to lose its famous shade, so it’s well worth double-checking conditions before you set out on your tour.

But when conditions are good, trust us… the view is worth the trek!

5 – Take a dip in Los Lagos Hot Springs

Los Lagos Hot Springs, La Fortuna

Another great spot for those looking to relax a bit, Los Lagos Hot Springs offers a slightly more luxurious approach than some of its back-to-nature counterparts

While these geothermal pools are also natural ones, they’re housed in the gorgeous Los Lagos Hotel, Spa & Resort, one of the most acclaimed wellness centers in town.

Slip into one of several natural hot tubs and let yourself unwind, as a continual flow of fresh water from the nearby springs keeps you refreshed and rejuvenated.

And if you want to keep spoiling yourself, stop by the Fangus Spa, which offers a whole range of treatments to help you look and feel your best.

Then greet the evening with a drink or two at Lemnos Wet Bar, where cocktails, fruit-based concoctions, and a lively musical selection create the perfect atmosphere for unwinding… and the stellar views of Arenal Volcano certainly don’t hurt!

6 – Explore the Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica

If you’re anywhere near town, it’s hard to miss one particular feature of the landscape: the imposing, prehistoric-looking peak of Arenal Volcano.

This massive, magnificent peak is the kind of site that makes everybody remember why they came to Costa Rica in the first place.

At a stunning 5,358 feet high, it is a truly striking sight, jutting out of the surrounding landscape like a magnificent sculpture.

While the volcano is still functional – in fact, its many eruptions between 1968 and 2010 once made it one of the most active volcanoes on earth -, there are still plenty of safe vantage points to admire this geological wonder.

The hike there is half the fun, with adventurous trails through the thick of the jungle that provide adrenaline and excitement in equal measure.

And of course, the reward at the end is unparalleled: magnificent views of the mountain itself, maybe even steaming if you’re lucky!

It’s one of the best hikes you can do in the area… or the country, for that matter!

7 – Admire the La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica

Even by the high standards of the area, La Fortuna Waterfall makes a splash – literally!

Tucked into a vibrant section of Arenal Volcano National Park, it showcases the best that nature has to offer, with surroundings that look like something out of an adventure movie.

By the time you’ve hiked up to it, you’ll be overcome with awe; with its gorgeous rock walls rising almost 230 feet above the ground and striking volcanic formations surrounding its base, it’s a truly breathtaking sight.

And that’s not even counting the water itself, which thunders down directly from the Fortuna River, creating the kind of scene that’s equally perfect for a photoshoot or simply sitting and observing.

Better still, you can actually go for a swim in the pool below, getting up close and personal with one of the region’s most spectacular attractions!

8 – See the world from above at Sky Adventures Arenal Park (sky tram)

Sky Adventures Arenal Park, La Fortuna
Credit to Sky Adventures Arenal Park

If ziplining got you excited to see more of the scenery from above, pop over to Sky Adventures Arenal Park for a memorable set of adventures!

Of course, the main attraction here is the sky tram, which takes you on a magical floating journey over the treetops.

Step into one of the gondolas, and glide 2,625 feet into the air, passing from the dense first up over the gorgeous slopes of the mountains.

At the peak, you can disembark and enjoy unparalleled views of the land below, where you can better appreciate the natural beauty and variations in terrain.

You can even hire a guide for your trip to learn even more about the surrounding region and the plants and animals that inhabit it.

Along with the phenomenal scenery, these rides are perfect if you want or need to minimize exertion, but don’t want to miss out on the best that the wilderness has to offer.

But if you want a slightly more active experience, you can traipse along some rope bridges, or go soaring through the foliage at high speeds on a zipline.

Even closer to the ground, there are swings, ropes courses, and even rafting excursions, all designed to get you in touch with the jungle – with lots of fun as part of the bargain!

9 – Search for some cute critters on sloth watching tours

sloth watching tours in La Fortuna

Among the many animals that roam the region, sloths are probably some of the most famous – and certainly some of the most adorable!

While these charming, tree-dwelling creatures may be slow, their natural camouflage can make them hard to spot amongst the foliage; luckily, there are plenty of excellent Sloth watching tours in La Fortuna that can help you spot them!

Follow your guide through the foliage, keeping your eyes peeled for movement in the trees.

Once you find one of these sedate critters, you’ll be able to stop and admire them going about their day, while your guide provides fascinating insights into their lives and behaviors.

The Bogarin Trail is an especially good local spot for sloth sleuthing, with an abundance of trees and a relatively short span that make it a prime area for watching the critters.

At a mere 1.5 miles long, it’s great for travelers of all ages and ability levels, offering an immersive nature experience that’s not as demanding as some of the longer hikes.

While you can easily explore the path on your own, you can also book a two hour guided tour that can help provide more insight into this unique ecosystem, where gorgeous reptiles and birds also make frequent appearances.

10 – Take it easy at Paradise Hot Springs

Paradise Hot Springs, Costa Rica
Credit to Paradise Hot Springs

If you take a stroll to the back of the Paradise Hotel, you’ll find another superb place for a soak.

Paradise Hot Springs shares the same water source as the others on this list, and it really leans into the spa-style relaxation vibes, with soothing music and hydromassage sessions available for visitors.

Even if you’re not a guest at the hotel, you can still make use of the waters with a day pass, and even throw in an optional meal as part of the bargain!

Be sure to add this stop to your hot springs hit list!

11 – Get new vantage points with a wildlife safari float

wildlife safaris in La Fortuna

As much as you can see trekking through the jungle, you can also enjoy some quality nature-viewing opportunities on a wildlife safari float!

Part cruise, part nature-watching opportunity, it’s a great way to enjoy some new vantage points on various creatures, while also enjoying the forest and the water at a slower pace than many excursions.

And it certainly doesn’t hurt that you’ll be exploring the famously vibrant shores Penas Blancas River, where a combination of steady currents and lush terrain make ideal conditions for seeing some critters.

As you drift downstream, you may get a look at sloths, monkeys, and birds in the trees, or catch a glimpse of caiman snouts poking out of the water.

And don’t forget to cast your eyes to the treetops, where you just might spot some fine feathered friends taking a break from flying.

Even on the off chance that you don’t see many animals, the vibrant jungle and relaxing flow of the water will make the whole trip well worthwhile!

12 – Kick back with the locals at Parque de La Fortuna

Parque de La Fortuna, Costa Rica

If you happen to be traveling with a furry friend, you’re in luck… there’s a great place for dogs to get some exercise, right in the midst of town!

Parque de La Fortuna is known for its vast, open fields, ideal for pooches in need of a frolic..

But it’s also a generally relaxing place to hang out, with beautiful tropical flowers and lots of space for relaxing and people-watching.

While it may not be as visually stunning as much of the surrounding area, the park offers a nice spot to unwind in the midst of all of your adventures – and a great opportunity to mingle with folks in town!

13 – Kayak around Arenal Lake

kayaking in Arenal Lake, Costa Rica

Arenal Lake’s crystal-clear waters and gorgeous vistas make it an ideal location for some boating, and kayaking tours are the perfect way to enjoy its many charms.

Because the spot is calm and the watercraft are self-guided, you can enjoy a leisurely trip around it and get to know the ins and outs of the country’s largest lake.

At 33 square miles wide and 200 feet deep, it’s a truly impressive place… and all the more so given its history!

When a massive dam was constructed in 1979, the lake’s size was tripled, creating the massive attraction you see today.

Paddling around even a portion of the water is a great way to get a feel for the tremendous scale of the project, which still impacts the area to this day; along with serving as a popular outdoor sport venue, the lake still helps power the country, generating a staggering 12% of its electricity!

And as if all of that weren’t cool enough, it’s also a visually stunning spot in its own right.

As the volcano rises up above you and local birds fly overhead, you’ll get a true taste for the quiet beauty and power of this magnificent body of water.

There are also excellent stand up paddle tours if you’re looking for a little more exercise, while still using the same self-piloting format.

Get a quick lesson from your instructor, then propel yourself out into the middle of the water, drinking in the views and getting a stellar workout at the same time.

It’s the perfect sightseeing option for active types!

14 – Sail along Rio Frio on a day trip to Caño Negro

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, Costa Rica

While you’ll certainly never run out of cool things to do in La Fortuna, the neighboring areas are also worth a visit.

And what better way to explore the region than with a boat tour?

Hop aboard your vessel and cruise along  the Rio Frio to Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge, one of the most verdant and biodiverse spots in the region.

This remote and stunning area is something of a junction point for species of all types; scores of migratory birds from both of the Americas pass through each year, and because the river flows straight to the sea, it’s not uncommon to encounter oceanic fish using its currents as a transit route.

As you head out further and further on your tour, you’ll see even wilder landscapes than before, as well as the diverse creatures that call the area home.

From sloths to herons, snakes to monkeys, there’s no shortage of gorgeous animals to admire.

If you’re lucky, you might even spot a shark on its way back out to sea!

And the trip itself is an equally memorable experience; as you float through the jungle, you’ll be treated to the sights and sounds of a truly idyllic slice of the world.

You’ll feel like you’re in the midst of a scientific expedition – but luckily, you can return home at the end of the day!

15 – Try a different hot springs experience at Termales Los Laureles

Termales Los Laureles, Costa Rica
Credit to Termales Los Laureles

If you love the warm waters of thermal areas, but want something more exciting, Termales Los Laureles is the place for you!

Here, you won’t just be able to enjoy a single pool, but rather seven, each with their own unique style and amenities.

There are also two cold pools if you want something more refreshing – or, if you’re feeling frisky, you can alternate between one and the other!

After all of your fun, unwind with a bite at the onsite restaurant, where you can enjoy stunning views of Arenal Volcano as you feast.

And if you’re really loving the experience, you can even book a campsite for the night, and enjoy unforgettable evenings under a spectacular tapestry of stars.

16 – Hike along the Arenal Volcano View and Lava Trails

Arenal Volcano View and Lava Trails, Costa Rica

With so many fantastic trails in the region, it can be hard to choose where to set down your hiking boots first.

But it’s hard to go wrong with a trip through some volcanic vistas!

Lava Flow Trail has a history as fascinating as its name; it traces the path of magma as it raced out of the volcano during the massive eruption of 1968.

This remarkable path leads you to some amazing views, as well as hidden treasures such as the lovely and almost ethereal Los Patos Lagoon.

It also offers an awesome opportunity to walk on the actual lava fields themselves, which transformed into their own unique landscape post-eruption.

Trace the path of the racing magma under your feet, now safely hardened into unique stone formations.

And keep an eye out for the various boulders scattered around; on the day of the explosion, they were sent hurtling out into the landscape, some as quickly as 1,200 miles per hour.

But rest assured, they’re a lot more stationary these days!

While you’re in the area, you can also explore Arenal Volcano View Trail, which, as the name suggests, provides magnificent views of the peak in all its glory.

The entire trail system is a great way to explore the landscape in-depth, and get a better understanding of the phenomenal impact that volcanic activity has on the region.

After all, when you’re standing on the remains of masses of racing lava, it’s hard not to feel a little awestruck!

17 – Break some records while bungee jumping

bungee jumping in La Fortuna

If you’re going to go bungee jumping in Costa Rica, why not try out the country’s tallest offering?

At a jaw-dropping 143 meters (469 feet), this is one plunge you won’t soon forget – even though it only lasts a few seconds!

Plunge towards the jungle, and enjoy the satisfying snap of the cord pulling you back!

18 – See the sights the old-fashioned way while horse riding

horse riding in La Fortuna

With its gorgeous scenery and varied terrain, horseback riding is one of the most memorable things to do in La Fortuna!

Even if you don’t know a hoof from an ear, you’ll be able to join this adventure with ease, with dedicated guides and calm, reliable steeds.

And once you set out on your ride, the possibilities are endless!

Amble past the surreal blue waters of the Rio Celeste, where you can briefly dismount and go for a dip in pools almost too beautiful to be real.

Gaze at the majestic La Fortuna Waterfall, a thundering water feature  surrounded by tranquil stretches of jungle.

Or take in the splendor of Arenal Volcano from every angle, trekking under its shadow as locals have for centuries.

Along with the wonderful opportunity to see your surroundings at a slower pace, you may be able to catch sight of some fantastic animals that would be harder to see from a standard touring vehicle.

And of course, you can relish the age-old tradition of experiencing the wilderness in tandem with another creature, which a whole other level to the experience.

With your new equine friend in tow, there’s no end to the amazing sights you’ll see!

19 – Get involved in conservation at Proyecto Asis

Proyecto Asis, Costa Rica

As monkeys hop around in the foliage and parrots screech overhead, you may already be intrigued; but just wait until you dive into all of the programs that Proyecto Asis has to offer!

At this spectacular refuge, you won’t just see more of the Arenal region’s amazing animals (although, of course, you’ll see plenty); you’ll also get to learn more about the local community, and the ways in which humans and animals can help each other.

This dynamic rescue center provides a home for injured and sick animals, with a focus on rehabilitating them for release back into the wild.

And they take the environmental education component seriously, with plenty of tours and presentations designed to engage visitors with every aspect of the conservation process.

But if you want to get even more involved, they also have a renowned volunteer program, where you can actually assist in caring for these wonderful creatures.

As if all of that weren’t wonderful enough, the center also offers Spanish immersion classes, homestays, and other programs designed to connect visitors with the locals.

With its wonderful mission and holistic approach to community, this is a stop worth adding to your itinerary!

20 – Admire the landscape on a bike tour

bike tour in La Fortuna

Volcanic vistas and glistening lakes provide unbeatable backdrops for your bike tour; and the vehicle itself is half the fun!

Enjoy the ease and long-distance capabilities of these fantastic bikes, and get a good taste of the striking landscapes around you, formed by gelology and water alike.

21 – Discover the underground world of Venado Caves

Venado Caves, Costa Rica
Credit to Cavernas del Venado

You may have soared above the landscape, paddled past it, or walked through it… now it’s time to see what lies beneath!

Made up of several massive caverns and winding trails that plunge you ever deeper into the subterranean world, Venado Caves is a must for spelunkers and adventurous souls.

With a history stretching back almost 20 million years, it’s a remarkable showcase of geology and natural history, and a great example of the fascinating ecosystems that can develop in isolation over a massive period of time.

From boisterous bat colonies and distinctive rock formations to shadowy grottoes and mysterious chambers, the cave network is a mysterious and intriguing entity unto itself.

Crawl, climb, splash, and squelch your way through an underground river and along the various paths, as you explore the wonders of the world below our own.

Along with the thrill of seeing everything from unusual insects to well-preserved fossils, you’ll be able to indulge in an epic exploring experience, as you squeeze through small chambers, navigate winding passageways, and even plow through a waterfall!

By the time you finish your tour, you may feel a little bit like a cave creature yourself – but the sights inside are worth every speck of mud!

22 – Check out the stunning residents of the Butterfly Conservatory

Butterfly Conservatory, Costa Rica

We often think of butterflies as beautiful, simple creatures, flitting through the air and showing off their beautiful colors.

But there’s so much more to these complex creatures – they’re a crucial part of the ecosystem, especially in Costa Rica!

At the Butterfly Conservatory, you won’t just get to see some amazing species in their native habitat; you’ll also get to learn more about their lives and habits, particularly their connection to the other parts of the local biome

Featuring the largest collection of tropical insects in the country, it’s a wonderland of bright colors and beautiful bugs, which are perpetually flitting between flowers or flapping overhead.

Stroll along the main paths and enjoy the beautiful gardens, both as homes for these magnificent creatures, and as beautiful landscapes in their own right.

Then check out the amazing live demonstration of the creature’s life cycle, from simple caterpillar to remarkable cocoon and, eventually, beautiful butterfly!

It’s also well worth booking the Metamorphosis Tour, which dives deeper into the stories of these fascinating animals and their unique lives.

Whether you’re a diehard insect enthusiast or just starting to learn about them, this amazing center will help you understand these gorgeous creatures in a whole new way!

23 – Splash around in Rio Chollin

Rio Chollin, La Fortuna

Another great no-cost hot spring, Rio Chollin is a great place for some tropical fun!

The bubbling brooks are perfect for a soak, with little waterfalls adding to the beauty of the scene.

The pools themselves vary greatly in temperature, offering a whole range of options depending on personal preference.

Ranging from around 80 degrees all the way up to 105 degrees, they’re perfectly suited for a nice, long soak – just keep trying out different ones until you find one that suits you!

There’s also a lively social ambience and a mix of locals and visitors throughout the day; if you prefer a quieter experience, it’s worth swinging by in the morning.

But regardless of when you go, it’s a lovely stopoff in the middle of a busy schedule, and even features some shallower areas that are perfect for kids.

Take some time to explore the various pools, and soak up the good vibes – and the minerals, of course!

24 – Fly through the air with some zip lining

zip lining in La Fortuna

When it’s time to dry off and get your heart rate back up, switch from the water back to the treetops for some epic ziplining!

After a brief ascent to the starting platform, you’ll be safely clipped in and walked through the basics by your instructor – and then, it’s time to fly!

But this is no mere zing down the cable; you’ll be soaring over some truly unforgettable scenery, seeing the forest canopy just like the many colorful birds flying overhead.

But make sure to look around between cables – and on the rides themselves -, because you’ll also get uniquely elevated perspectives on such landmarks as La Fortuna waterfall and Arenal Volcano.

One of the added bonuses of these courses is the chance to talk to the guides between lines; with a wealth of information about the local ecosystem and cultures, they can provide plenty of fascinating insights into the sights around you… right before you go soaring past them.

It’s a thrill like no other – and a classic Costa Rican experience!

25 – Get wet and wild with a rafting trip

rafting in La Fortuna

When you’re ready for a slightly more adventurous water activity, grab a paddle and embark on a rafting trip!

Whether you’re a novice adventurer or a seasoned rapids runner, the area’s waterways will have something to entice and delight you.

And once you set out on your journey, you’ll soon see why this region – and Costa Rica in general – have become famous for their whitewater opportunities!

The Balsa River is one of the most popular options, with a nice mixture of Class II, III, and IV rapids, ensuring that there’s a proper adventure for every interest level.

If you want to take things to the next level, head to Sarapiqui River, which boasts Class IV rapids with plenty of dips, turns, and splashy sections to keep you entertained.

As if the adrenaline rushes weren’t fun enough, you’ll also be treated to an immersive course in the rich natural history of the area around the river.

In between bits of action, you can relax a bit and enjoy your surroundings as you float through the gorgeous landscapes, with frequent sightings of lively locals such as toucans, monkeys, and sloths.

It’s one of the liveliest things to do in La Fortuna!

26 – Visit Baldi Hot Springs

Baldi Hot Springs, Costa Rica
Credit o Baldi Hot Springs

For a comprehensive soaking experience with something for everyone, check out the many pools of Baldi Hot Springs!

With 25 different spots to choose from – some of which even include their own waterfalls! – , you can experience a whole range of vantage points and swimming experiences, all while still enjoying the relaxing tropical ambience that the area is known for.

And best of all, these pools are famously clean; in fact, they’re some of the purest springs in the entire town!

Because these pools are part of the Baldi Hot Springs Hotel, you can also enjoy all the best resort luxuries, from fine dining and elegant rooms to soothing spa treatments that are perfect for couples and solo travelers alike.

27 – Fuel up on a coffee farm tour

Doka Coffee plantation, Costa Rica

Another local crop with international acclaim, coffee is best when sipped slowly from a cup – and even better when you know where it came from!

There are numerous coffee farms in and around town that offer a closer glimpse into the bean’s journey, touching on details from flavor profiles to the many steps of the harvesting, roasting, and distributing process.

And of course, this is another activity that includes plenty of chances to taste the product for yourself!

Better yet, you can combine this trip with one of the chocolate tours – it’s a perfect pairing for both the mind and the taste bud!

28 – Get out (and off the road) with a quad tour

quad tours in La Fortuna

If you want a trek where the journey itself is an adventure, book a quad tour and get ready for fun!

ATVs are great for getting off the beaten path and exploring the wild terrain around town, giving you the opportunity to crash through the jungle and roll up on some jaw-dropping views.

And they’re also a great means of transportation for some of the other nearby adventures, such as canyoning and volcano excursions.

Grab a helmet and steel your nerves, then head out on a wild ride!

29 – Treat your sweet tooth with a chocolate tour

chocolate tasting tour in La Fortuna

With all of this extra fun, you’ll need to keep your energy up; so why not get a little sugar rush on a chocolate tour?

This globally beloved treat grows in abundance in the nearby rainforests, where it is picked and processed into some of the finest bars around.

When you embark on one of these excursions, you won’t just be learning some delicious secrets of a world-class dessert; you’ll also gain some fascinating insights into the connection between economy and ecosystem.

After learning all about the tropical origins of the crop, its early historical uses, and its gradual evolution into the treat we all know and love, you’ll be able to explore the cocoa farm and try plenty of different samples for comparison – truly the best kind of tour!

You’ll never look at your Hershey’s or Cadbury bars the same way again!

30 – Enjoy a memorable stay at Arenal Observatory Lodge

Arenal Observatory Lodge, La Fortuna

There are an infinite number of adventurous ways to admire Arenal Volcano, but it’s well worth taking some time to enjoy it at a slower pace.

Arenal Observatory Lodge was designed specifically to showcase the volcano in all of its glory, as well as the beautiful Lake Arenal below it.

Better still, it’s an ecohotel, which means that you can stay and play while enjoying some of the greatest views in town – with a minimal environmental footprint!

Of course, you can’t spend all of your time just looking at the scenery, no matter how nice it is; and the hotel’s definitely got you covered when it comes to fun activities.

Hop aboard a horse or a mountain bike, and explore seven miles of gorgeous, adventurous trails, with open fields and stunning stretches of rainforest adding some variety to the journey.

Or grab some binoculars and go on a nature hike, looking for deer, coatis, anteaters, and monkeys… not to mention a whopping 500 species of birds!

And if you somehow manage to get restless with all of that, ziplines, rafting routes, and hot springs are all just a short trip away, as well as all of the other wonders of Arenal Volcano National Park.

With 870 acres of land to explore and world-class amenities within the property itself, this is one jungle that you won’t mind getting lost in!

31 – Be kind to your body (and your budget) with a trip to Free Natural Hot Springs River

Free Natural Hot Springs River, La Fortuna

The only thing that can make a hot spring better? Not having to pay for it!

The name really gives it all away: Free Natural Hot Springs River, a lovely little body of water that is frequented by locals and visitors alike.

But this is no mere geothermal splash zone; it’s actually the source of all of the other springs in the area – with a much lower cost for entry!

Located near the Tabacon Resort, it’s a great place to people-watch and soak up the minerals… direct from the volcano!

As you might expect, this particular swimming hole has more of a relaxed feel than many of the glitzier spots, with plenty of local visitors and a communal atmosphere.

And while it may not offer all of the amenities of the more official areas – or the same level of seclusion -, it’s a wonderful budget-friendly option, and still offers the same relaxing properties in its warm, welcoming waters.

Grab your swimwear and book a taxi (or drive your rental car), and head over for a fabulous afternoon!

32 – Take a stroll through Natura Eco Park Costa Rica

Natura Eco Park, Costa Rica

While wildlife-spotting on the go is a great option, there are also some phenomenal options for seeing them in a more structured setting

At Natura Eco Park Costa Rica, you’ll be able to see all of the best birds and beasts in the area, including crocodiles, butterflies, colorful frogs, and more.

Since 2010, the park has been committed to conserving local species, and getting visitors engaged with them on a deeper level than just a passing glimpse.

The result is a complex that offers some amazing opportunities to see creatures in their native habitats, with a beautiful setting that blends creativity with naturalism.

Admire the flying rainbow of striking insects in the Butterfly Garden, or the more terrestrial residents of the Frog Garden.

Relax amongst the luscious foliage, and watch all of these incredible creatures go about their daily routines.

It’s one of the best things to do in La Fortuna for nature lovers – and it helps the local ecosystem, too!

33 – Ask for seconds (or thirds) at some of the best restaurants

best restaurants in La Fortuna

Eating may not be the first activity on your list of things to do in La Fortuna, but with such awesome restaurants in and around town, it certainly should be!

Whether you want a quick bite or a leisurely meal, casual fare or upscale dining, there are plenty of eateries that serve as more than just a refueling point.

Mercadito Arenal is perfect for those seeking a bit of everything, with a food court-style setup featuring burgers, pizza, tacos, and more, as well as a renowned mixology bar.

And Chipotle’s is the ideal destination for fans of Mexican food, with a classically-inspired menu complemented by local influences and a vibrant selection of peppers – be sure to keep some cold drinks handy!

Enjoy a lighter meal that doesn’t skimp on taste at Kappa Sushi, where the creative rolls are only matched by delicious dumplings and savory soups.

Or keep up with the seafood motif at Marisqueria Snapper’s House, which features a scrumptious selection of fish and mussels to choose from.

And don’t miss the traditional Costa Rican dishes at Restaurante Tierra Mia, with a relaxed atmosphere and expertly curated meals that showcase the diverse culinary talents of the country.

In this dynamic town, each meal is an experience unto itself!

34 – Try a real-life lazy river with on a tubing trip

tubing in La Fortuna

While it might be a little less active than rafting, tubing is another great way to explore the local rivers… and the perfect way to laze away a day!

Head down to the stunning Rio Celeste and hop aboard your circular vessel, then join your friends and groupmates for several hours of leisurely bobbing.

The current will serve as your guide, carrying you past rainforest vistas and beautiful pockets of natural splendor.

And adrenaline junkies need not fear; there are still plenty of little dips and bobs in the water to keep things interesting!

While anybody can enjoy this laidback excursion, it’s especially great for visitors who want to explore the area without going full adrenaline junkie; and with plenty of time slots available each day, you’ll have little trouble squeezing in a jaunt of your own.

Just be warned: once you’ve tried a float, you might want to come back for more!

35 – Hang out at Ecotermales Fortuna

Ecotermales Fortuna, Costa Rica
Credit to Ecotermales Fortuna

While a lot of the local lodges boast excellent hot springs, Ecotermales Fortuna is especially great for purists; it’s one of the only spots where you can soak in truly unfiltered water!

Filled with enriching magnesium and the other relaxing minerals that the region’s waters are known for, these thermal pools come almost straight from the source, and are said to bring health and wellness to whoever stops by for a dip.

Along with the supposed medicinal benefits – including inflammation prevention and muscle relaxation -, it’s a generally soothing experience, like the world’s coolest luxury jungle hot tub.

While you’re bathing, you can even enjoy a delicious beveragel, courtesy of the on-site bar.

And if you happen to be celebrating a special event, the surrounding facility is perfect for weddings, anniversaries, and other exciting moments that merit a little extra pizzazz – and some superb springs to relax in at the end of the day!

36 – Up your chef’s game with a cooking class

cooking classes in La Fortuna

If you’re looking for some more indoorsy activities in La Fortuna, cooking classes are a great little detour – with delicious outcomes!

Tour an organic farm and learn all about its eco-friendly policies, before using some of the fresh crops to create a fabulous meal.

Or try your hand at tortilla making, where you can work with corn and other ingredients to make some tasty discs of your own.

And be sure to join the “cook like a local” classes, where you’ll be able to take a crack at empanadas, ceviche, and other delightful dishes, all under the tutelage of cooks that make these same dishes every day.

It’s one of the best ways to absorb the local culture… and get a good meal in as well!

37 – Channel your inner daredevil at El Salto (Rope Swing)

El Salto Rope Swing, Costa Rica

If you’re already hanging out in the jungle, why not try out your Tarzan skills?

El Salto Rope Swing is one of the most beloved attractions in town, and rightfully so; hanging temptingly over a crystal-clear swimming hole, it’s the perfect place to try out your flips and cannonballs.

Test your mettle as you fly outwards and plunge 20 feet into the waters below, or take things to the next level – literally! – with some cliff jumping.

With a great mix of locals and visitors frequenting the space, it’s the perfect spot for an afternoon swim – and best of all, it’s free!

38 – Browse through the cool, creative art galleries

art galleries in La Fortuna

If you’re looking for things to do in La Fortuna that are a little more culturally focused, head to the local galleries, which are packed with little treasures and stunning contemporary works – many of which you can take home with you!

Onirica Art Gallery’s walls burst with color and eclectic shapes and styles, all created by local artists.

While the styles vary, fine art is often the focus, from paintings to sculptures to unique jewelry.

And at Coco Loco Art Studio & Gallery, you can support the country’s diverse artists and get a great souvenir as part of the bargain!

With a focus on fair trade products and works by Indigenous creators, it’s a wonderfully lively space for artists and enthusiastic supporters alike.

From vividly colored Boruca masks to multimedia works using materials sourced directly from the rainforest,  it’s well worth taking some time to browse – and even better if you find something to bring home!

With their beautiful inventory and community focus, these spaces are perfect for seeing a different side of the community.

39 – Find fun for all ages at Kalambu Hot springs

Kalambu Hot springs, Costa Rica
Credit to Kalambu

The only thing better than sitting in a hot spring? Having a delicious cocktail whilst you do so!

Kalambu Hot Springs, a lively complex just a few minutes outside of town, offers a comprehensive experience that goes beyond just soaking.

With its swim-up bar and lovely restaurants, it’s a great place to kick back and spoil yourself, with a little bit of a party thrown in.

But the space also has plenty to offer for younger travelers, with a series of slides and play areas where kids can splash and frolic to their heart’s content, all within those same warm, soothing waters.

With the perfect blend of excitement and relaxation, this is one of the coolest family-friendly things to do in La Fortuna!

40 – Try an adventurer’s sampler platter on a canyoning trip

canyoning in La Fortuna

Admiring all of these beautiful jungle scenes is one thing, but c’mon… it’s not a good vacation without a bit of derring do!

Canyoning is action-packed, exciting, and engaging, the perfect way to get up close and personal with the elements and your surroundings – while also testing your own limits.

Follow your guide deep into the jungle, and rappel down cliff fronts, soaking in the full roar of waterfalls as you descend.

But the fun doesn’t stop there; whether you’re scooching along craggy pathways, floating down sections of river, or testing your nerve as you jump straight into the pools from a rocky perch, each step of the excursion is an adventure of its own!

As you climb, crawl, and hike, you’ll feel like the star of your own personal action movie, and you may even catch a glimpse of some of the local wildlife going about its business.

Even if you’re totally new to the sport, helpful guides are on-hand to make sure that your experience is safe and enjoyable, while still providing a steady stream of amazing experiences.

Rest assured, you’ll have serious bragging rights when you get home!

41 – See the other side of nature on a rainforest night walk

rainforest night walks in La Fortuna
Credit to Ecoterra Costa Rica

While the jungle teems with activity during the day, it takes on a whole new life after dark!

Night walks are a remarkable way to explore the lively local ecosystem, and offer the chance to see tons of iconic creatures that only come out when the sun goes down.

See eye-to-eye with some fabulous snakes, or take a peek at iguanas moving through the trees.

Admire some truly unusual insects, or get a good, long look at a sleepy sloth.

You may even catch sight of an armadillo scuttling through the brush!

If you’re particularly fond of amphibians, check out the evening frog safari at Arenal Oasis, which stands out as the only natural sanctuary in town for these dynamic creatures.

As darkness falls and you explore the edges of the several nearby ponds, you just may catch a glimpse of some of the 28 species that live there, including the iconic red-eyed tree frog.

While each excursion is slightly different, they all offer some exciting wildlife-viewing opportunities… and a cool nocturnal adventure!

42 – Try a little bit of everything at La Fortuna Pub

La Fortuna Pub, Costa Rica

From junk food to vegetarian fare to excellent drinks, La Fortuna Pub is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy a good meal after a long day of excitement.

This beloved restaurant is perfect for tourists and locals alike, with a massive menu and an excellent beverage selection.

After chowing down on pizzas, burgers, salads, or decadent desserts, treat yourself to wines, cocktails, or some of the many excellent local beers in their roster.

If you’re traveling with youngsters, there’s a great kids’ menu that will please even the pickiest palate; and if you’re on a budget, they also offer a full range of options that cost less, but still taste delicious!

Along with the great food and drink, you can enjoy the upbeat  atmosphere of the space, where live music and boisterous chatter will make you feel like you’ve just stepped into your favorite neighborhood haunt.

It’s a social experience and great night out, all rolled into one!

How to get to La Fortuna?

San Jose Airport is the closest place to fly into, only a few hours from La Fortuna.

While there are buses and shuttles available, airport transfers are great for getting to and from town quickly and efficiently – they can even drop you off right at your hotel!

Where to stay in La Fortuna?

Hotel Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa would be worth a stay for the volcanic views alone, but its fabulous restaurant, gym, and game room will keep you occupied in between adventures.

And Lost Iguana Resort and Spa is ideal for fans of jungle-style luxury, from its outdoor swimming pool surrounded by lush foliage to its fun-filled maze winding through the garden – perfect for a little afternoon jaunt!

Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hot Springs is a true slice of hidden paradise, with its charming bungalows, wonderful soaking spots, and 300 acres of surrounding wilderness that’s perfect for nature-watching and a bit of exploring.

And Casa Luna Hotel & Spa combines rustic charm with luxurious trappings, including a spa, swimming pool, and excellent bird-watching opportunities.

You can also enjoy some quality downtime at Volcano Lodge, Hotel & Thermal Experience, with vibrant gardens, picture-perfect swimming areas, and views of Arenal that are so good, you might as well be sitting next to it!

Where go next?

While La Fortuna could merit several vacations in its own right, there are oodles of fun things to do in Costa Rica in general!

The outdoor adventures remain front and center, from surfing and jungle treks to ziplining and caving.

Whether you want to relax on the beach, scale some mountains, or tromp through the forests and jungles in search of hundreds of beautiful plants and animals that call the country home, you’ll constantly be in thrall of the diversity of nature here – and oftentimes, you can hop from one ecosystem to the next with ease!

Even the city attractions are pretty spectacular; in the capital of San Jose, you’ll find plenty of history, culture, art, and sporting events to keep you interested between adventures outside.

If you’re trying to narrow down your options, you can enjoy the hiking trails, horseback riding, and vibrant national parks of Liberia, or the stunning cloud forests and remarkable biodiversity of Monteverde, home to one of the most vibrant – and fragile – ecosystems on Earth.

You can also explore the world-class fishing and wildlife-viewing opportunities of Manuel Antonio, the watersports and culinary options of Tamarindo, or the lively party scene and beautiful beaches of Jaco.

No matter which coast you choose, or which flavor of exploration you prefer, you’ll find no shortage of cool places to keep exploring; in fact, the hardest part will be convincing yourself to leave the country!

Final thoughts

Whether you’re an avid adventurer or just starting to enjoy the great outdoors, you’ll find plenty of amazing things to do in La Fortuna!

From the heights of the mountaintops to the depths of underground caverns, each section of this dynamic landscape has something to teach you – and some exciting ways to make great memories!

And with its vibrant mix of natural amenities and unique cultural opportunities, it’s the kind of place that constantly rewards the curious and intrepid traveler, and keeps you coming back for more.

So grab your adventuring shoes and start booking some excursions – the volcanoes, trees, and waters are waiting!

Kiernyn Orne-Adams is a reader, writer, and roamer who currently resides in Seattle, Washington. She has spent the last several years traveling around the U.S. and the world, and is always on the hunt for unique museums and beautiful outdoor spots. Her work has been featured in Roadtrippers, SouthSoundTalk, Beloit College Magazine, and Fodor’s.