Loving La Fortuna
Wow... I have been lucky enough to have travelled around and to over fifty countries but Costa Rica is blowing me away! La Fortuna translates to "fortunate" as it is at the foothills of the imposing Arenal Volcano which destroyed neighbouring villages in it's previous eruptions but La Fortuna remained.
On arrival you immediately feel the temperature change from San Jose, it is so hot and humid as you're now in the rainforest...
We stayed in Las Cabañitas Hotel which was individual cottage-like houses which slept 2 or 3 people! They were very pretty and had great views of the volcanoes - slightly out of town but it's only a 20 minute walk away.
La Fortuna is full of optional activities which you can choose to do. Personally I chose to visit Los Lagos Hot Springs Resort on the first night which is manmade pools which are a controlled temperature with a spa vibe and a wet bar and dinner was included. (It cost around USD$45)
I was very impressed with the pools as I have previously been to others which feel more leisure centre-like. At Los Lagos there was a lot of "natural rock" decor and it was nicely and tastefully done.
On the second day we went hiking in the Arenal Hanging Bridges Park which is a great hike. It's not particularly strenuous and it's relatively slow and it's all about spotting the wildlife. There are a series of hanging bridges, which do swing a bit, and static bridges with some glimpses of the volcano.
Our tour guides were amazing and we saw; a snake, tarantula, lizards, lots of birds, bats and butterflies! As well as learning lots about the flora and fauna of the rainforest. It was extremely humid but being in a Costa Rican rainforest made me forget about how hot and sweaty I was...
Next stop, we got a taxi to the Arenal Waterfall, which costs €14 to enter and then it's 500 steps down to the falls itself. And what goes down must come up! The steps weren't as arduous as expected and it was quite a nice walk down with wonderful views of the impressive falls. Once you've worked up a sweat getting down there, there's the option of swimming in the pool of the falls. This is lovely but it is cold and the waterfall is very powerful so getting close to it is scary and sometimes the current just pushes you unwillingly into another direction.
In the evening we went to the Natural Hot Springs in the form of the local river that flows through La Fortuna and is naturally hot. Luckily we had a guide as it felt a bit dangerous and sketchy and it's full of locals (tourists were there but often with a guide as it doesn't seem to be the easiest place to get to!)
However, ignoring the walk down, slippery stones, walking under a graffitied tunnelled bridge and fire ants that might bite you along the way - IT WAS AMAZING! One of the weirdest, most crazy things I've seen/done.
It was 9 pm and the later it gets the busier it gets. People bring alcohol, candles and just bob around on the sandy/gritty riverbed. I was assured that people do go during the day but for me, the darkness was definitely masking a place I wouldn't want to be in daylight!
I don't remember the names of specific restaurants but all of the ones I visited during my stay in La Fortuna were amazing. Another must do is to get a clear view of the volcano and watch sunset. I was lucky enough that the fiery Sunset lit up the sky with moody clouds which replicated the postcards I had seen of when Arenal Volcano erupted and had lava flow and smoked!
That concludes my time in La Fortuna but it was an amazing two nights with beautiful scenery and hundreds of optional activities. It's definitely a place for adventure and adrenaline if that's what you seek!