La Fortuna is a small tourist town situated at the base of the volcano Arenal. Arenal was a long-active volcano that recently hasn’t seen as much activity.
This is stop #2 on our journey through Costa Rica.
La Fortuna is too far from the volcano to get to it without paying for transport in some way. We’ve been told that there are local buses that go to the volcano for cheap, but it wasn’t particularly clear how to get back on them. We didn’t end up going to the volcano itself because of this, though we did hike nearby along the path to the Arenal Falls.
The sodas (small restaurants that serve casado plates) were a great, cheap part of La Fortuna, often allowing us to eat for $4 a meal.
Grabbing breakfast at Bread and Chocolate before we go!
Boarding the Mepe bus to San Jose. One-way tickets were C5430. The bus stop was downtown by the water. We bought our tickets at a small stand near the bus stop.
Stopping in Límon for a 20 minute food and bathroom break.
Arrived in San Jose. Grabbing a quick lunch at the bus terminal. Apparently the bus to Ciudad Quesada departs from this same terminal.
Jumped on a bus to Ciudad Quesada for C1800.
Arrived in Ciudad Quesada. Going to transfer to a bus for La Fortuna at 4pm.
Boarded a bus to La Fortuna for C1100.
And we’re off!
Arrived at La Fortuna!
$38 saved by not riding the $55 shuttle. Total travel time: 10.5 hours. Total bus time: 4:10 + 2:35 + 2:00 = 8:45
|Total bus time||8:45|
Make sure to ask for the bocas menu. Much cheaper food but small portions, so you might want to order multiple plates or just get a casado.
Our research for La Fortuna revealed a number of highly-rated hostels, all with some permutation of hostel, backpacker, and resort in the name. They’re purposefully confusing to the point that it’s difficult to know which one you’re reading about or looking at, so we decided to just pick a hostel in person once we arrived.
When we got of the bus in La Fortuna we were immediately approached by an overly-friendly guy who asked us where we were going and what sort of place we were looking for. Once we told him our plan about the hostels he started heavily recommending we check out his hotel, Luigi’s, which apparently just recently started trying to market itself more to backpackers.
We politely declined his request to check out his hotel immediately and proceeded to walk up the main street to check out the backpacker hostels.
The first two hostels we saw were nice but on the more expensive side ($22-24/person/night), so we decided to keep checking out more places. Luigi then materialized out of the darkness to inform us that his hotel was less than a block up the street, so we reluctantly decided to at least check it out.
The room was decent for $30/night, but while he was showing us the room we looked up reviews of the place and saw that they were incredibly polarized between good and terrible. With this in mind we decided to carry on. “You’ll be back!” we heard him call as we left.
We didn’t go back. Hotel Regina was just up the street and the lady at the reception was incredibly laid-back, a welcome relief from Luigi’s pressure. The rooms at Regina are clean, with private bathrooms and an in-room safe. At $30/night the price was reasonable as well so we decided to lay our bags down and call it our home.
Had the casado plate ($4) and maracuya juice ($1). The food was delicious and the prices are the best in town. This was definitely our favorite budget place to eat in La Fortuna and we ate here multiple times.
$10 for a medium pizza. The food was just ok, so instead of ordering food at the main restaurant get it from the mini soda off to the side. They have casado plates for just $4.40, including meat, rice, beans, a salad and a drink.
After finding out that it would cost at least $70 to go on any of the volcano tours, we decided to be economic and hike to Fortuna Falls instead. We left at about 3PM going up the main road and towards the volcano.
Along the way we noticed a line of red ants moving along the sidewalk, many carrying large blades of grass over their heads. There were hundreds, maybe thousands of these ants cutting down and carrying leaves over a trail spanning dozens of meters. We got distracted for a while, curious as to the purpose of this massive operation.
We eventually arrived at the turn to the waterfall and proceeded to walk through gorgeous open prairies and roadside homes of Costa Ricans. At one point we were lured by a sign for cold coconuts. Similar to our experience in Puerto Viejo, the coconuts were delicious and the Costa Ricans who cut them for us were incredibly friendly.
At this point the sun was starting to go down and we were still a few km from the entrance to the falls, so we decided to head back home. We didn’t see the falls but we were happy to have had a good hike!
Looking into the taxi-boat-taxi option at $25/person. Booked through the owner at Hotel Regina for $20/person.
Quoted from arenal.net
- Pick up from La Fortuna or your Arenal area hotel at 8:30 AM or 2:30 PM in a comfortable mini-bus with air conditioning.
- Arrive at the Arenal Lake Dam dock after a 15 to 30-minute ride (depending on the location of your hotel). Here, you will board our covered 22-passenger boat and cruise across Lake Arenal in 30 minutes. During your ride, you’ll enjoy great views of the Arenal Volcano and the Monteverde mountain range.
- Once you reach the Río Chiquito dock, you’ll board a mini-bus (with air conditioning) for a 1.5 hour ride to Monteverde.
- Upon arrival in Monteverde, drop off directly at your hotel.
Cabinas Eddy ($30/night, 98% trip advisor) http://www.cabinas-eddy.com/
Cabinas El Pueblo ($26/night, 94% trip advisor) http://www.cabinaselpueblo.com/
Casa Tranquilo Hostel ($18/night) http://www.casatranquilohostel.com/
Grabbing breakfast at one of the sodas.
Arrived at the lake.
Crossed the lake.
Boarded the shuttle to Monteverde.
Arrived in Monteverde.
|Total bus time||2:23|