The Complete Guide to Visiting La Fortuna Waterfall

The Complete Guide to Visiting La Fortuna Waterfall

The Complete Guide to Visiting La Fortuna Waterfall

The impressive 70-meter-high Catarata La Fortuna waterfall is one of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica. If you’re in the Arenal or La Fortuna area, it’s a must-see sight during your trip to Costa Rica.

At Catarata Rio Fortuna, unlike other waterfalls, you can swim at the bottom of the falls, which is a fantastic experience.

In this post, you can find out how to get there, the best time to visit, including entrance fees, and what to expect on the hike to the La Fortuna waterfall.


Where is La Fortuna Waterfall

Catarata La Fortuna is located in a biological reserve next to the Arenal Volcano National Park in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

Best Time to Visit La Fortuna Waterfall

The tropical weather makes La Fortuna lush and green all year round, the perfect destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.

We suggest you visit the waterfall when it opens or just before closing time.

In the morning hours, the temperature is more pleasant for the hike, and you will only see a few tourists.

Recommended Post → Things to Do in La Fortuna

La Fortuna Waterfall opening hours

The best time to visit Costa Rica is during the dry season, which runs from December to April.

How to Get to La Fortuna Waterfall

The easiest and best way to get to La Fortuna waterfall is by car. It’s good to know there is no public bus to the waterfall, and it’s at least 3 hours from San José.

The falls are only 5 km from the town of La Fortuna, which you can reach in less than 10 minutes.

The roads are well maintained, and you don’t need a 4×4.

See also → Best Places to Visit in Puerto Viejo

How to Get to La Fortuna

If you don’t have a car, you can get from La Fortuna by taxi or Uber, join a guided tour, or walk to the waterfall.

A taxi fare costs around 15 USD one-way.

We saw a lot of tourists walking to visit the waterfall, but we don’t recommend this option, as these people seemed exhausted.

La Fortuna Waterfall Entrance Fee

The entrance fee is 18 USD for adults and free for children up to 8 years old.

  • You can pay for the entrance ticket by card or cash.
  • The ticket price includes free parking space, and access to bathrooms, changing rooms, and a drinking water fountain.
  • In addition, you can also visit the butterfly trail and the beautiful orchid garden.
La Fortuna Waterfall entrance

Although the entrance fee is quite expensive, the money is invested in the park’s infrastructure and environmental conservation.

The best way to visit the Catarata Rio Fortuna is to buy your ticket online and skip the line.

La Fortuna Waterfall Opening Hours

Catarata La Fortuna is open every day from 7 AM to 5 PM.

Short Hike to La Fortuna Waterfall

Once you arrive, a few minutes from the entrance, there is a large platform with a fantastic view of the waterfall. Take a few photos, then follow the trail to the left and start the hike down.

The trail is well-maintained, with more than 500 steps leading down. The hike is easy-moderate and takes around 15-30 minutes.

The hike is not recommended for pregnant women, people with heart conditions, asthma, or limited mobility!

La Fortuna Waterfall tour

It’s good to know that the hike is always longer on the way up.

Along the way, there are a few handrails and benches where you can rest, enjoy the view and see some wildlife.

The last steps are usually wet and slippery, so go slowly and use the handrails.

Overall, the hike to the waterfall is accessible to everyone.

Plan to spend at least 2 hours at La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica.

La Fortuna Waterfall hike time

Can I Swim at the Waterfall?

Yes, you can swim at the bottom of the La Fortuna waterfall, but be careful as the water currents can be dangerous.

Bring water shoes, as the rocks can be slippery from the humidity.

During our visit, there was a lifeguard near the waterfall watching over the safety of visitors.

If you don’t want to swim at the waterfall but want to refresh after the hike, follow the trail next to the falls to the river, where you can enjoy a relaxing swim at the natural pools.

La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica

What to Pack

  • Quick-dry towel
  • Swimsuit
  • Hat
  • Biodegradable sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Water shoes
  • Dry bag
  • Camera gear
  • GoPro or Waterproof phone bag
  • Water
  • Snacks

Catarata La Fortuna Waterfall Map

Photo credit cataratalafortuna

Tips for Visiting the Waterfall

  • Wear closed hiking shoes and light clothes.
  • Bring your refillable water bottle with you.
  • Lock your car, and don’t leave valuables out of sight.
  • As unexpected rain can happen at any time, bring a light raincoat.
  • Use the bathroom before you start the hike.
  • Wear a swimsuit under your clothes or use the changing rooms near the entrance.
  • La Fortuna is one of the best places to watch wildlife in Costa Rica, so always keep your eyes open.
  • Use a polarized lens to protect your camera and get better-quality photos.
  • Always keep an eye on your valuables while swimming in the water.
  • Don’t underestimate the strong current of the waterfall.
La Fortuna Waterfall, Costa Rica

Is La Fortuna Waterfall Worth It?

Yes, it was one of our favorite waterfalls in Costa Rica and a must-see in La Fortuna.

If you have more time after the waterfall, explore the surrounding attractions, hike in Arenal Volcano National Park, swim in the hot springs, or take a chocolate tour.

Find out more about the best things to do in La Fortuna here.

We hope you found our guide to La Fortuna Waterfall useful and will inspire you to visit Costa Rica’s beautiful destinations.
If you have any questions or thoughts, let us know in the comments below.


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