Arguably the most visited waterfall in the whole country, La Fortuna waterfall has attracted travelers from all over the world for years. Dropping 75 meters into a bright blue pool, La Fortuna waterfall in Arenal paints a perfect postcard of the Costa Rican jungle and is usually one of the highlights of an Arenal trip for its beautiful views and scenery.
Sitting just 6 km outside of the town of La Fortuna and at the base of the Cerro Chato volcano, the waterfall makes for a great day trip for travelers of all ages. The water is fed by the Tenorio River that goes through the rainforest in the Arenal area until it reaches a cliff to create this waterfall. Visitors can get several different views as they make the somewhat arduous hike from the visitor’s station to the base of the fall.
We’ve visited this waterfall several times but it never ceases to amaze us every time we visit. It’s one of those natural attractions that really take your breath away!
Location of La Fortuna Waterfall
The waterfall is 1 kilometer south and 4 kilometer west of church in La Fortuna town.
Entrance Fee and Hours
$15 for adult foreigners, $5 for children.
Hours are 7:30 AM to 4:00 PM, open every day. They have a big parking lot and there are bathrooms, a small cafe and souvenir store at the entrance.
Visiting the Waterfall
At the entrance office, you walk across the bridge to get to the trail head.
They’ve been building a new platform to make it easier to hike down and I have to say, it is really convenient! The first time we went it was pretty much a dirt path shaped into steps but the new platform is incredibly nice and sturdy with hand rails.
There are several view points so my advice is to go slow and take the time to observe the various trees, flowers and plants, listen to the many insects and birds and take in all the beauty of Costa Rica.
Down to the left is a lovely calm water pool area that is better for swimming and more suitable for little ones.
Tips for Visiting La Fortuna Waterfall in Arenal
- This popular waterfall fills up with people once it hits about mid-morning so to enjoy it with less people, get there early
- There are facilities so you can bring a swimsuit/clothes to change into
- There is a restaurant and souvenir shop at the trail head
- Wear good shoes. You don’t want to be climbing up those steps in flip flops! If you plan to swim or go in the water, wear water shoes or hiking sandals like our KEENs
- Make sure to bring water (there are water dispensers in the gift shop too)
- The climb back up can be tough, so take it slow. Be advised that this hike doesn’t have a handicap trail
- If you don’t have a car, you can get there by taxi or go with a tour company. If you need recommendations for tour companies, feel free to contact us or leave a comment below.
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Want to read about other waterfalls in Costa Rica? Check these out!
Nauyaca Waterfalls (Dominical area)
Catarata Llanos de Cortes (Guanacaste)
Catarata del Toro (Central Valley)