La Fortuna Waterfall, La Fortuna de San Carlos

4.5
#1 of 115 in Nature in Costa Rica
A short drive from town, La Fortuna Waterfall offers an idyllic place for swimming, picnicking, and relaxing. Fed by the Arenal River, which winds its way through the rainforest before plunging dramatically over a steep cliff, this waterfall forms a large pool at the base of a dormant volcano. Lifeguards remain on duty throughout the day, while modern facilities like restrooms and showers ensure a comfortable visit in a lush area noted for thick vegetation and abundant wildlife. Prepare for a short but arduous hike to the base of the waterfall by wearing shoes suitable for slippery and uneven terrain. Use our La Fortuna de San Carlos attractions planner to add La Fortuna Waterfall and other attractions to your La Fortuna de San Carlos vacation plans.
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La Fortuna Waterfall Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
7,626 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • Beautiful waterfall with exceptional water. Unfortunately very rocky and sharp rocks at that! Be careful, several people got cut walking down slippery wet rocks. You have to hike up several floors of ...  more »
  • We did the waterfall hike as part of a day trip that included the hanging bridges and Arsenal volcano hike. We ended with a descent down the 500 steps and swam beneath the roar of the waterfall.  more »
  • Had a great day. Very touristy but fun. Easy walk down and not too bad getting back up, though our whole family is very physical  more »
Google
  • Beautiful waterfall and it's really cool that you can swim in the waters. I don't recommend swimming in the waters right below as they are extremely choppy and you spend most of your time just getting tossed around. Rather, swim in the waters slightly downstream which are calmer and missing most of the big rocks! There are lots of friendly fish and it's nice and sandy. Heads up, you have to go down hundreds of stairs to get down which in turn means you have to climb hundreds to get back up. But not to worry, they have plenty of encouraging signs on the way up to motivate your ascent. The orchid garden there is well worth a visit too.
  • Beautiful location here and a great little restaurant too. First on the restaurant, it was one of the best meals we had in Fortuna and reasonably priced. Admission is $15 per person which is a little steep to see a waterfall. Also steep.... The climb. 500 stairs down might not sound like much, but if you haven't been on the stairmaster for weeks in end, this is going to present a challenge. The lagoon is nice and it is a beautiful waterfall, but -1 star for the price
  • It was an amazing place with a great hike in and out. There are some good places to swim just around the corner from the base of the waterfall. Bring some water because it's up 500 steps to get back to the top!
  • High priced and felt like a bit of a tourist trap. The "hike" is really just a long set of stairs - but don't let that fool you into thinking it won't be a workout. Waterfall was impressive to look at and many people were swimming in the pool. We went near the end of the dry season (in March) which meant that there was really nothing to see in the Orchid garden which was really disappointing.
  • Like most natural features in CR there is a fee for non locals. Would make for a nice 1 hour diversion if not for the 15 usd cost. Kinda makes you feel obligated to stand around longer looking up at a fairly underwhelming waterfall. Don’t get me wrong it’s nice but i don’t love having to pay extra money on top of how expensive it is to be in a town close to major attractions. In many places attractions are used to do just that, attract, so that local businesses can capitalize on the flow of people. Here they charge for EVERYTHING. Be prepared to feel like an atm here in general.
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