La Fortuna Waterfall cascades 200 feet (61 meters) down the sheer cliff face of Cerro Chato, the Arenal Volcano’s dormant and thickly forested twin. One of the most impressive and accessible waterfalls in Costa Rica, La Fortuna is a great place to picnic, swim, and photograph the waterfall’s perpetual mists and nearby exotic vegetation.
Set just outside the town of La Fortuna, this cascade is a must-see for visitors to Arenal Volcano National Park. From the parking lot, the descent down the staircase to the falls only takes roughly 20 minutes. A longer trail winds through the rain forest and can be traversed on horseback, giving travelers an opportunity to spot toucans, monkeys, and other tropical creatures. At the bottom, adventurous visitors can swim in the clear waters below the fall, while others can picnic along the rocky shoreline or snap pictures of the scenery.
Most La Fortuna Waterfall tours include a visit to the adjacent Arenal Volcano National Park, where you can head out on a volcano hike, get your adrenaline pumping on a waterfall-jumping and canyoning adventure, or float down the river on a safari tour.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring a bathing suit, sun protection, bug spray, and comfortable shoes.
- Swimming is allowed, but only in pools well away from the potentially dangerous currents produced by the falls, especially during the rainy season.
- Keep in mind that the staircase down to the falls is steep and sometimes slippery.
How to Get There
La Fortuna Waterfall is located roughly 10 minutes by road from the small town of La Fortuna, and about three hours by road from San José.
When to Get There
The most popular time to visit is during Costa Rica’s dry season (mid-December to April), when the weather is ideal for exploring. Arrive early in the day if you want to avoid crowds.
Exploring Arenal Volcano National Park
Arenal Volcano National Park is a treasure trove of wildlife and epic volcanic landscapes. Trek through the park’s many hiking trails, walk across picturesque hanging bridges, take a horseback ride, or go rappelling down volcanic rock faces. Nearby, Baldi Hot Springs Resort is the perfect place to relax after an action-packed day of sightseeing.