Insider's Guide to Arenal Volcano National Park

Major attractions, tips and our top things to see and do.

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Plunging down the side of Cerro Chato, Volcan Arenal’s dormant and thickly forested twin, is one of the most impressive, and easily accessible, waterfalls in all Costa Rica. Cascada La Fortuna pours some 65m (200ft) down a sheer, volcanic gray cliff face, perpetually bathed in mists and carpeted in abundant and exotic vegetation.

The trailhead for the falls is located just 5.5km (3mi) from La Fortuna proper, a popular bike ride or horseback trek. The descent from the parking lot to the jungle floor isn’t a long or difficult hike; it’s about 20 minutes down, and generally a bit longer climbing back back up. Just keep in mind that the staircase is steep, and sometimes slippery. A the mirador, or viewpoint, allows almost anyone to appreciate this natural wonder no matter what their fitness level.

But it’s well worth wandering down, if you’re able, to fully appreciate the power of the waterfall as it crashes into the brilliant aquamarine pool below. Bring your bathing suit, but swim only in the pools well away from the potentially dangerous currents produced by the falls themselves, particularly in rainy season.

Practical Info

This is also the trailhead for the steep, 4hr hike to Cerro Chato, Arenal’s dormant twin, topped with a crater lake; look for the trail just opposite the entrance to the waterfall. A swim in its brilliant blue waters makes this a convenient and refreshing finale to the longer trek.

Tours & Tickets

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Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall

See the lush landscapes of Costa Rica on horseback! On this 4.5-hour tour from Arenal, ride to La Fortuna Waterfall and take a swim in the natural pool while ...  Read more

Location: Arenal, Costa Rica
Duration: 4 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $74.99

See all La Fortuna Waterfall Tours & Tickets

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