Skip to Content

Your Ultimate Guide to La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica

La Fortuna waterfall in Costa Rica is located in the middle of a protected area that covers more than 200 acres of tropical forest and is part of Arenal Volcano National park.

The name of the waterfall means fortune in English and it is one of the most impressive and powerful waterfalls in the country.

For visiting this beautiful attraction you have to pay a small fee, money that is used for developing projects, infrastructure, education and environment conservation.

Some of the following links are affiliate links. When you buy something using the retail links in our article, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost for you. You can read our full disclosure disclaimer and privacy policy.


Getting to La Fortuna waterfalls in Costa Rica

You will most probably land at San Jose International airport so I will tell you how you can get from the airport to the waterfall area.

There are three main ways to get to the Arenal Volcano area from the capital city of San Jose:

  • By car
  • By bus
  • By shuttle

The bus ride lasts for about 3 or 4 hours, or even longer, depending on the traffic and even if this is the cheapest way to get to La Fortuna is not the easiest one.



You will have to change the bus in Ciudad Quesada and the total cost of the ride is around 5 USD dollar.

Or, you can book a shuttle from the airport to La Fortuna and you don’t have to be stressed about timetables, thieves as the shuttle takes from the airport terminal directly to your hotel.

Once you get outside the airport many shuttle drivers will offer you their services, but before accepting negotiate the prices.

They usually ask double or triple as the real price is, just to have room for negotiation.

And there is always the renting car option which might be the most expensive option but definitely is the best as you can travel to many beautiful places from Costa Rica which are not accessible with public transport.

Get the best price for your car rental today

Reasons to visit La Fortuna waterfall in Costa Rica

If you haven’t decided yet if you want to include this nature wander into your travel plans, let me give you some reasons why you should not miss La Fortuna waterfalls Costa Rica :

  • It is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in Costa Rica not just from a distance but also from a closer look
  • You don’t need a 4×4 car to get to this fall from the town of La Fortuna
  • You can explore the area with or without a guide
  • The waterfall is hidden inside the lush rainforest and surrounded by impressive rocks and green vegetation
  • The trail from the entrance of the park to the waterfall is very well maintained
  • You can swim at the base of the falls
  • At the entrance of the park, you’ll find all the facilities you need: Bathroom, showers, lockers, restaurant and even an orchid garden

Stay safe while you travel

  • medical safety abroad
  • medical assistance including COVID-19
  • emergency medical evacuation
  • trip interruption -up to $5.000
  • travel delay - up to $100/day

Entrance fee, opening hours and facilities

La Fortuna waterfalls in Costa Rica can be visited if you pay a small fee at the ticket desk located at the entrance of the park.

The price for a ticket for an adult is 18 USD, while for children is just 5 USD and children below 7 years can visit the waterfall free of charge.



These are the fees for tourists but Costa Ricans have lower fees everywhere in the country.

The opening hours are from Monday to Sunday ( every day) from 7 30 AM to 4 00 PM.

The waterfall is extremely powerful and has a lot of water even during the dry season, which lasts from December to April.

Facilities from La Fortuna waterfall Costa Rica

Once you parked your car in the parking lot located at the entrance of the park you will see a long building where the reception is from where you buy your entrance tickets.

Behind the entrance to the park you will find a suspension bridge that goes to the facilities: bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, restaurant, lockers and souvenir store.

All the facilities are very well maintained and if you plan to swim in the pool located on the base of the waterfall you’d better change here as there are no other facilities in the area.

If you want to leave some of your things at the lockers on your way to La Fortuna waterfalls Costa Rica then you will have to pay a 2 USD fee per locker plus the 10 USD warranty refundable at returning the key.

Grab a sandwich, pasta or a hamburger before starting your hike to the waterfall to have enough energy for a full day in the middle of nature.


How long is the hike to Costa Rica La Fortuna waterfall?

La Fortuna waterfall is located 521 metres over sea level and is 70 meters high and in order to reach it, you have to descend about 531 steps.

Ranked as the most visited, the waterfall is located just 3.5 miles away from the town of La Fortuna but the road is in good condition, so you don’t need a 4×4 to get to the entrance of the park.

Once you’ve got your ticket and passed over the suspended bridge La Fortuna waterfall will appear in front of your eyes.

Take some really great photos of La Fortuna waterfalls in Costa Rica, start your descent to the bottom of the waterfall and enjoy the breathtaking scenery.



In about 15 minutes you will reach the pool from the bottom of the waterfall, an extremely easy descent that includes the famous 500 stairs.

On your way down there are many places where you can rest, admire the lush vegetation and take some amazing photos.

Right before you reach the waterfall you have to pass a few suspended bridges and a huge rock will appear in front of your eyes. At this point, you may hear the waterfall but you will not be able to see it, too.

You have to follow the trail until the bottom of the waterfall where is the amazing swimming pool, the perfect place to cool off after such a long descent.

Are you allowed to swim in La Fortuna waterfalls?

You are allowed to swim in the Fortuna river right, but not directly at the base of the waterfall as the currents are quite strong and are considered an unsafe area for swimming.

Immediately after that hole, the river turns to the left and the currents are moderate so this is the place where you are allowed to swim.

Accommodation near La Fortuna waterfall Costa Rica

If the idea of having a whole villa just for yourself with a private pool sounds good, then book your stay at Nayara Springs Costa Rica, one of the best resorts in the area.


Without any doubt, La Fortuna waterfall in Costa Rica is among the most spectacular falls in the country.

In the area around the park, there are plenty of other attractions to visit, including some more waterfalls but none as spectacular as La Fortuna.

No matter if you choose a guided tour, a horseback riding tour or to explore the area on your own, you will be fascinated by its beauty and wilderness.

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.