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Backpacking in La Fortuna: Exploring the Magic of Costa Rica’s Adventure Hub

Though Costa Rica’s name in Spanish means ‘rich coast’ the inland areas of the country have a lot to offer. This small country has incredible nature, including rainforest and volcanoes. A little bit north of San Jose you can find La Fortuna which is a small town and is a gateway to the rainforest.

How to get to La Fortuna?

Getting to La Fortuna was no mean feat, especially the way I did it. It started off with a 2AM wake up to get to San Salvador’s airport. The airport was empty in the early hours, making it easy to navigate through. My flight was at 5AM which made me exhausted and I arrived in Costa Rica at 7AM. Hungry for breakfast I walked over to a Denny’s which I had for the first time. I was actually disappointed as the food was close to Spoons quality. I got an Uber to the 7-10 bus terminal in San Jose and had to figure out how to get to La Fortuna.

Moreover, bus travel in Costa Rica can be very confusing as there is no information anywhere at the bus terminal. Moreover, to get to La Fortuna, you have to take a bus to Quesada which takes about 2 hours. Then take another 2 hour bus to La Fortuna. The way buses work in Costa Rica is that you pay the driver once you enter and expect to pay no more than £10 for every bus journey and they even take USD.

Where did I Stay?

I stayed in a hostel which belongs to a chain called Selina and I have to say it was one of the best hostels I had ever stayed in. This was for a multitude of reasons. Firstly they gave me an upgrade on my first night for my own private room. Secondly, the hostel itself had loads of facilities and it had its own bar with a pool table, a pool, a spa and even a library.

Thirdly, the staff kept a pet dog who would just chill in the lobby called Toffee who was a nice little Labrador. The only downside is that the price was a bit steep, but then again, it is Costa Rica. If you plan to visit La Fortuna, I definitely recommend a stay in Selina.

Selina La Fortuna

How to get Around La Fortuna?

If you don’t have a car rental, your next best option is to take Ubers as there is no public transport that will take you to certain places. You don’t need to worry as Ubers aren’t too expensive, a 15 minute ride will only cost about £6.

Where to eat in La Fortuna?

For a cheap breakfast, I recommend going to Soda El Rio, a decent breakfast there only costs about £4 and that includes coffee and a glass of juice. For lunch I recommend going to the Rain forest Café which has affordable sandwiches and friendly staff. As a relatively touristy place, La Fortuna has a wide range of eateries such as an Italian restaurant. I visited an Italian restaurant on my first night called Italianissimo as I was craving a pizza. A decent hole in the wall kind of place I found near the hostel called Urbano which had burgers for not much more than £5.

What is There to do in La Fortuna? – Fortuna Waterfall

It takes less than 10 minutes to drive here or take an Uber from the centre of La Fortuna, the price of admission is about £15. However, it’s worth it because the waterfall is breathtaking. The walk towards the waterfall requires going down a path which is quite difficult in the humidity and the way back is much more difficult. It’s possible to swim at the site of the waterfall, however I did not bring my trunks as it was too much of a cloudy day.

Fortuna Waterfall

Visiting a Hot Springs

As the town is nearby to the huge Arenal volcano, there are a myriad of hot springs places nearby. The place I visited was called the Titokú Hot Springs which is very close to the centre of La Fortuna. It costs about £20 to enter the hot springs and I’d say it was worth it. There were about 8 hot springs pools and it felt good just to sit in the pool and take in the atmosphere. As it had just been raining, I pretty much had the whole place to myself and it felt very peaceful.

Titokú Hot Springs

Místico Hanging Bridges

A sight that’s about 30 minutes from the centre of La Fortuna by driving is the hanging bridges park. This place is a good way of seeing some of Costa Rica’s rainforest. The price of admission is about £20, however it’s a once in a lifetime experience to see such striking nature.

Arenal Volcano

Furthermore, just before you go in, make sure you get your picture taken in front of the view of Arenal. Arenal is the incredibly huge volcano which surrounds La Fortuna. During my time in La fortuna, it was the best place to get views of the volcano.

Moreover, it takes about an hour to walk through the site and make sure you take your time to look into the rainforest. You can see a range of different animals and insects. I saw some monkeys climbing their way through the trees loads of insects of huge sizes crawling around. Walking across the bridges can give you incredible views of the rainforest greenery and Arenal.

Watching the Game With Ticos

Just after I got back to La Fortuna, I headed over to a bar as the game between Costa Rica and New Zealand had just kicked off. It was a crucial game for Costa Rica as it was for a World Cup spot. I was invited over by a group of Ticos who even bought me two beers which demonstrates how grand the people are in Costa Rica. Furthermore, as Costa Rica had won the game by one goal, spirits were high in the bar.

Finding A Rope swing at the River

I was told by some American travellers that there was a rope swing just 20 minutes walking from the hostel. I decided to check it out myself and I’m glad I did. Though jumping into a river sounds disgusting, the water of this river felt very fresh and clean.

What Else to Know About La Fortuna?

La Fortuna is definitely worth visiting, what can be said is that if feels quite touristy as a lot of people speak English in shops and restaurants. Also, if you can drive, I highly suggest renting a car as it would make it so much easier to get from place to place. It felt safe to walk around at night and the main area of the town itself is very walkable.

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