La Fortuna, or La Fortuna de San Carlos, was once a sleepy agricultural village at the base of the Arenal Volcano. It’s now a booming tourist destination in Costa Rica offering a tonne of adventure.
Growing up I was always diving into media that showed me life outside of my hometown. I read fantasy novels, history books, and National Geographic’s. I watched Laurence of Arabia and Seven Years in Tibet.
I sat on my family room floor and watched PBS and The History Channel. With all this on my mind, by the time I was 18 I was ready to leave home.
What brought me to Costa Rica was its reputation. I had done very little actual research or planning. Rather I just kept hearing from friends and online how incredible the place is. Not only did I hear about its awe-inspiring landscapes, but it’s kind people and eco sustainable initiatives.
My first impressions of the country didn’t live up to the reputation I’d heard of. We had an overnight stay in San Jose and I will admit we didn’t stay long enough to ‘see’ the city. I wasn’t very fond of it.
Needless to say, the second we got out of the city and the natural beauty revealed itself it became apparent how Costa Rica got its reputation.
Nine Days in Costa Rica: La Fortuna and Monteverde
Our time in Costa Rica was shorter than we would have liked. We had a schedule to stick to and Colombia was calling us onwards. All in all, we were there for nine days with our time split between La Fortuna and Monteverde.
La Fortuna struck a special chord in my heart. It’s a sleepy little town with many great restaurants, and an abundance of activities all around it. I would say the famed Arenal Volcano was a highlight, but we didn’t see it due to cloud cover the whole time we were there.
In La Fortuna we rode horses through the jungle, crossing fields, jungles, and rivers, all the way up to the iconic La Fortuna Waterfall.
We also spent a day swimming with the locals at the El Salto Rope Swing just south of town. It’s a wicked spot for swimming, with a great rope swing into the swirling waters below.
My Favourite Place in Costa Rica: Bogarin Trail, La Fortuna
Originally starting with farm fields and a decimated sloth population, these guys now have a huge area full of trees, plants, sloths, birds, frogs, and all these other kinds of incredible wildlife.
They lead tourists on a walk through the sanctuary and explain all the wildlife on the way. It’s great to do something that not only is entertaining and informative, but also gives back to a great cause.
Favourite Memory: Horse Riding through the Jungle
My favourite memory would have to have been horse riding through the jungle. I’m a lover of animals, particularly horses, and have always sought experiences to ride in unfamiliar destinations.
Chile, India, Peru all come to mind, but Costa Rica was an exceptional experience as the terrain was so unique and challenging as a rider. Crossing strong rivers, up steep muddy hills, and through dense bush pushed me to be a better rider.
Chasing Majestic Waterfalls in La Fortuna
The La Fortuna Waterfall was my favourite we went to. However, I’d like to put up a note of caution as there were SO many more that we didn’t explore that I would have liked to.
That said, the La Fortuna Waterfall is an incredibly powerful, roaring waterfall that plummets down to this serene jungle area. Down there you can swim and bathe in the roar and mist of this powerful waterfall. If you follow the river downstream you can relax in calmer waters too.
Tips for your Visit to Costa Rica
Everything was top notch in Costa Rica. The people are lovely and kind. The transport is easy, affordable, and gets you most places. The country is more developed than others in Central America so the roads are quite nice.
Do your research is my number one tip! There’s so much to see, so much to do, and so much to explore that you could easily spend months and months in this lovely country.
Even as we were in the country we kept learning from other travellers about all these incredible places we had never heard of.
Planning is important because unless you have many months to travel, it’s easy enough to quickly fill up two to three weeks worth of exploring and only scratch the surface of this wonderful country.