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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

One Day In La Fortuna, Costa Rica: Itinerary to Transform and Travel

You want a whole new experience compared to last year. I am right there with you. That's why I am here in Costa Rica. Who doesn't love an overflow of sunshine, nature, and adventure? I know I do.

That's one of the reasons why I decided to spend not just One Day in La Fortuna or in Costa Rica, but about three months! By the end of my first day in Costa Rica, I could feel my spirit and soul shifting.

You may want to experience adventure, nature and the Pura Vida in Costa Rica. Traveling helps you transform in more ways than one when you travel to Costa Rica. No matter what your 2021 Vision for the year ahead is, you will definitely want to experience Costa Rica or add it to your bucket list.

It's easy to see why La Fortuna, Costa Rica speaks to your soul with the abundant beauty, warm weather, and adventure that surrounds you. The city and surrounding areas have a lot to offer including La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano, Danta Waterfall, Downtown La Fortuna and Church, and Hot Springs.

There's plenty to experience one day in La Fortuna, Costa Rica to transform and travel whether you come solo, with family, or with a group.. After you read this, you may want to make sure you stay longer in or nearby La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Follow this One Day in La Fortuna, Costa Rica Itinerary to Transform and Travel. It will help you make your travels transformational even it's a short trip. These are my recommendations for the top experiences for your one day in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

Pura Vida!

Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Shot on my Sony A330

My Experiences With La Fortuna, Costa Rica

This is my first time in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Thanks to Costa Rica and Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb, I already know it won't be my last.

This is my second time to Costa Rica since 2016 when I hosted our transformation and travel retreat in Costa Rica in Playa Del Coco. I love experiencing an adventure with Airbnb.

Although I am staying in Costa Rica for close to three months, I love to create adventure days to share for myself and others whether you are somewhere short or long-term and want to create adventure days too. That's why I created One Day Travel guides.

Costa Rica Retreat in 2016 near Liberia in Playa Del Coco

My travels in Costa Rica include a focus on nature, adventure and healthy travel experiences. If you didn't know, I haven't drunk alcohol for over 5 years now. I feel healthier than High School.

For my first stay in or near La Fortuna, Costa Rica, I chose Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb in Sonafluca, which is about 5 minutes from La Fortuna Waterfall, and about 10 minutes from downtown La Fortuna. It is perfect for peace, tranquility, and for creating content like a boss,

I am considering it for a future retreat of ours as well!

Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Healthy Travel with Herbalife Nutrition Pool Side

Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb near La Fortuna, Costa Rica

All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, Sony A330, and/or my iPhone 12 Mini.

Fun Facts About La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Travel lights me up in more ways than one. My story includes being conceived in Bulgaria, born in Poland, and in 4 countries by the time I was 2 (including a refugee camp in Italy.)

I love visiting La Fortuna, Costa Rica for many reasons. La Fortuna is one of the most talked about and visited destinations in Costa Rica. Although until 2020, about a million people visit La Fortuna, Costa Rica every year, only about 6,000 people live here.

The town La Fortuna boasts views of world renown Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica’s most active mountainous structure, as well as Lake Arenal which flows through the thermal waters of the country.

Did you know that Arenal Volcano erupted in the headlining eruption in 1968 covering the towns of Pueblo Nuevo, Tabacon and San Luis in ash, rocks and crumbled concrete–leaving 87 people dead?

Out of this tragedy, La Fortuna birthed hope and opportunity for rebuilding and livelihood.

As you walk around the town of La Fortuna, the influence of early Spanish colonizers is seen through the structures and church you see in downtown. La Fortuna is located about 70 miles from San Jose, Costa Rica.

La Fortuna is known to be an incredible jumping off point for your travels to Costa Rica for seeing Arenal Volcano and Arenal Lake, experiencing adventures like hikes, zip lining, and white water rafting, as well as relaxing in Hot Springs like Termalitas del Arenal.

One Day In La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Let's explore the experiences I recommend for one day in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.. Depending on when you arrive in the city, and where you stay, feel free to modify your experiences!

I'm sharing here a full 24 hours for your one day in La Fortuna. I'll be sharing Monteverde, and Manuel Antonio. I'm giving you many reasons you will want to stay longer in Costa Rica!.

Even when I travel, I stay healthy, bring Herbalife Nutrition and workout daily in different ways.

You'll learn about my workout yesterday climbing up and down 400+ stairs to see La Fortuna Waterfall!

La Fortuna Waterfall Stairs
La Fortuna Waterfall Stairs

La Fortuna Waterfall

The 70 meters, or 230 feet high La Fortuna Waterfall is absolutely the 1,000+ steps round trip (500+ steps each way) descent and ascent. I regularly workout and the climb up definitely felt like 3+ leg workouts combined for me.

When you visit La Fortuna, Costa Rica, make sure you honestly assess your own physical fitness for the experience. The website includes quite a bit of information for

La Fortuna Waterfall is about 5 minutes from my Dragon Fly Hideaway Airbnb. From this location, it is a perfect experience and way to start your One Day in La Fortuna, Costa Rica. Usually, Uber is pretty easy to get in Costa Rica. However, I found on Sundays that is not the case. As a result, I researched Airbnb Experiences in La Fortuna and found "Discover La Fortuna in a Private Car" with Jason (Descubre La Fortuna en auto privado)

He is amazing and responded immediately despite my Airbnb experience booking on the same day. He offers various to choose from as your private driver for about $40-$50 total for seven hours. He will work with you to customize the itinerary you want for your transportation. It ends up being cheaper than an Uber and more convenient! You may find him at @villas_blessed_cr on IG, and via Airbnb experiences for La Fortuna.

Once you get your ticket and past the entrance, you go over a hanging bridge.

Before you begin the climb, they remind you it is a 600m hike moderately steep. In addition, the park shares who the hike is not recommended for. When you enter, you will see a bathroom, and gift shop. Once you past the entrance, you will come to a sign and the stairs begin.

The stairs vary in type and steepness. You will find landing platforms and benches to rest as well.

La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall

Shot on my Canon A330 in Sports Action

La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall

I looked at logistically where La Fortuna Waterfall, La Fortuna Downtown, and Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa are as well as their hours. We left the Airbnb right at noon to head over to La Fortuna Waterfall.

With minimal to no crowds right now, I saw about 5-10 people buying tickets, and about 30-40 people total climbing up and down and at the waterfall to give you an idea. I went on Sunday which normally would be a heavy tourist time I would not recommend.

You may take numerous pictures once you reach La Fortuna Waterfall and swim. Although, keep in mind it is an exercise to climb the rocks carefully to get to the cold water. It is advised and monitored by safety guides at the waterfall to stay close to the rocks because of the current.

I love the sound of water and waterfalls. I could have sat here for hours. It is easy and completely doable to experience La Fortuna Waterfall within an hour comfortably including the climb up and down the stairs. I did it in right at an hour and had more than enough time for photos, videos, and going in for a dip in the water!

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Arenal Observatory Lodge and Spa provides an option to enter with paying an entrance fee to enter the park. At the time, I paid $12 and Jason (the Airbnb Experience Driver) left me upfront for me to go explore in the national park for two hours.

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Photo Credit: Arenal Observatory Lodge

I did research prior to my trip to Costa Rica, and via blogs like My Tan Feet and Two Weeks in Costa Rica found out this is the easiest and least expensive way to get a great view and experience of visiting Arenal Volcano, and Danta Waterfall.

After I left La Fortuna Waterfall, I entered the Arenal Observatory Lodge at 2:30 pm. When you enter, you will receive a map of the grounds. The deck is across from the reception on the other side of the restaurant entrance. With the Arenal Volcano, Observatory Tower, Frog Pond, Danta Waterfall, and hiking trails, you may easily spend an entire day here (or of course stay at the lodge!)

If you aren't staying here and want to visit, the highlights are doable in two hours easily. If you want a similar experience at Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa to see the sites, I recommend going straight to the deck by the restaurant first, then go on the Saino Trail to the right of the reception. The Saino Trail will lead you to the Spider Bridge. You will find the paths are marked very well along the way.

Once you cross the Spider Bridge, keep heading on the Saino Trail to climb the observatory tower,

Shot on my Canon EOSM100

Shot on my Canon EOSM100

From there you will keep walking past a building and another observatory that will be on the right. Keep walking past it until you arrive at the tower. This is one of the best viewpoints for both Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal!

You will see safety precautions and a limit of 8 persons maximum. When I went, I was the only one on the tower. As I was leaving, two girls showed up. I felt it sometimes swaying due to the wind.

Lake Arenal in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Lake Arenal in La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Lake Arenal in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano
Arenal Volcano

Shot on Sony A330

Lake Arenal
Lake Arenal

Shot on Canon EOSm100

After climbing down from the tower, I headed to the Frog Pond on my way to the Danta Waterfall. The walk to the Frog Pond and to the Waterfall is about 20-30 minutes depending on your pace and how many pictures and videos you take.

The La Fortuna Waterfall is long and thin. In comparison, the Danta Waterfall is short and wide and it doesn't require 500+ steps each way. It is another great option to experience a waterfall in Costa Rica.

Danta Waterfall
Danta Waterfall

I took my time, took photos and videos, and had time to go to the bathroom and finished right at 1 hour and 45 minutes. I left Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa right at 4:30pm. I did have two Herbalife Global Nutrition Protein Bites - Crunchy Vanilla during my hike. However, after the La Fortuna Waterfall and walking all around Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa including another climb, I knew I needed and wanted more fuel.

I decided to stop at Organica Fortuna to get food thinking I would have time before the sunset to visit the church in downtown La Fortuna. By the time I got my food it was 5:20 pm. I decided to save visiting the. church for another day.

With visiting in January, the sun rises around 5:30 - 6 am and sets by 6pm. It looks like midnight by 6pm. Depending on what time of the year you visit, you may easily visit the downtown square, park and Church after grabbing a bite. Often times, during the year sunset won't happen until 7-9pm.

Organica Fortuna

Before coming to La Fortuna, Costa Rica, I Googled healthy places to eat and found Organica Fortuna. The place looks amazing, the menu drool-worthy, and the reviews rave about both the food and ambiance! I knew I wanted to make this one of my first stops in town.

Isn't it adorable?

Loved my "Out of This World Coffee" - Brown Monkey & Green Volcano Sandwich

Reasons to Stay in La Fortuna, Costa Rica Longer

Depending on what is important to you, you may follow the itinerary or you may decide to add on adventure with options like Desafio or other options in the area. I have a Lost Canyon experience I will be sharing coming up you will love. There are many more adventures to have with zip lining, hanging bridges, white water rafting, and SUP paddle boarding in Lake Arenal to name a few.

No matter what you choose to experience, a great way to end any day is to relax and unwind at one of the Hot Springs in La Fortuna like Termalitas Del Arenal, Baldi Hot Springs, and/or Tabacon Resort and Spa. Let's not forget about the free option Rio Chollin behind Tabacon too! I will be sharing more on my experiences as well!

These are some of the reasons to stay in La Fortuna, Costa Rica more than a day, not to mention exploring the rest of Costa Rica!

Keep on connecting on the blog and show with Create with Katrina Julia. Costa Rica adventures are just getting started! I have MonteVerde and other adventures coming!

La Fortuna, Costa Rica Travels

La Fortuna, Costa Rica has limitless options for adventure, nature and relaxation. You will fall in love with the Pura Vida!

Have you visited La Fortuna before? Is it on your bucket list?

What are some of your favorite experiences?

If you haven't, what activity here interests you the most to do in One Day in La Fortuna, Costa Rica?

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