Today, La Fortuna is one of the main tourist destinations in Costa Rica, and along with Tortuguero, Monteverde, Manuel Antonio, Osa Peninsula, is on the route of almost all visitors who come to Costa Rica. Its main attraction today is the iconic and perfect shape of the Arenal Volcano, right next to the town, as well as the impressive nature and the many activities and tours offered in the area, including activities focused on nature, eco-tourism, adventure tours and adrenaline to natural learning.

The beginnings

La Fortuna became famous in the 90’s, when international tourists began to arrive, attracted by the incessant activity of the Arenal Volcano. Contrary to today’s activity, in the 90’s and early 2000, Arenal Volcano presented non-stop activity with strong eruptions practically every day, and several times a day. Being able to see this spectacle was undoubtedly a unique experience, since especially at night, you could appreciate how lava and huge rocks were thrown miles into the air and then rolled down the slopes.
Today this activity of the volcano ceased, however, the volcano is still active, and you can see emanations of gases and vapors, and in addition to that, the view of the volcano itself, with its perfect conical shape covered up to half by tropical forests, is still a spectacle by itself.

To 5 highlights of La Fortuna

1 – Arenal Volcano National Park

Arenal Volcano is still the main attraction of La Fortuna. It is part of the Arenal Volcano National Park, which protects not only the volcano, but large portions of tropical rain forests. It can be visited in two ways, entering through the official entrance of the National Park, where there are trails that offer tours of the ancient lava flows, as well as unpredictable views of Lake Arenal and other landscapes. Ot6ra way to visit the volcano is in Lava1968, a private project right next to the entrance of the national park, and like this, offers viewpoints, trails and wonderful views. Canoa Aventura offers tours to both sites, both independently and in combination with other attractions.

2 – Volcanic Hot Water Springs

Volcanic hot springs abound in the area. With their relaxing and healing properties thanks to their minerals, they captivate almost all visitors. What better than to relax and let yourself be pampered in the hot springs after a day of adventure and eco-tourism! There are several facilities of thermal waters, from Tabacón, Ecotermales, Termalitas, Titoku, Baldi and several more. These offer almost always the same service, from entrance and changing rooms, to food and beverage services, and in some cases, massages and treatments with natural products from the volcano, such as volcanic mud. Canoa Aventura offers the best thermal waters within its tour offer, ask for a quote.

3 –La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall is located on the slopes of the Arenal Volcano. Without a doubt, those who dream of visiting an impressive waterfall immersed in the tropical forest, with an impressive free fall of water and a lagoon at the foot of the waterfall, then La Fortuna Waterfall is the place for you. In addition to the stunning natural scenery, you will be able to swim in the lagoon at the foot of the waterfall. To get there on your own, you must reach the entrance point on the east side of the volcano. Access is quite difficult and involves certain risks, so we recommend booking with a guide or through a local tour operator. Canoa Aventura offers you the possibility to visit La Fortuna Waterfall as part of a combined tour.

4 –Peñas Blancas River

A raft, canoe and kayak trip on the calm waters of the Peñas Blancas River is undoubtedly the number one eco-adventure activity in the area. Look for an epic experience, where you can travel along a river surrounded by tropical jungle full of flora and fauna while paddling downstream on this impressive river ? Then this is definitely your tour. During the tour, there are strategic stops either to see and photograph animals, or to take a break and have a snack. This activity lasts half a day and is suitable for all ages. The Peñas Blancas River tour by raft, canoe and kayak is one of the most popular tours of Canoa Aventura.

5 – El Burrito Hiking

Cerro El Burrito is an imposing mountain located next to Cerro Chato. It was recently discovered by our guides at Canoa Aventura as a top-notch hiking destination. The El Burrito trekking tour involves hard walking, breathtaking scenery, visiting two waterfalls in the middle of the rainforest and an unforgettable cultural experience. Ask about visiting El Burrito at our office in La Fortuna or contact us via the web.

Lake Arenal is the largest freshwater lake in Costa Rica. It is located near La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano, in the canton of San Carlos, in the northern plains of Costa Rica. It is an artificial lake, which nevertheless, offers an incredible landscaping beauty, due to its great extension, its navigability, and also to its abrupt and dramatic coast line, which generates tens of bays, islands, islets and coves. It is also completely surrounded by an exquisite landscape of green hills and mountains, tropical forests.

Its borders are shared by several districts and cantons, including La Fortuna, the district of El Castillo, which is part of the canton of San Ramón and San Carlos, as well as the towns of Nuevo Arenal and in its northern part by the canton of Tillaran and the community of Tronadora.

Beauty of Lake Arenal

It is possible to tour the lake by renting a boat, which has its mooring near the lake’s dam, about 25 minutes from La Fortuna. You can hire a tour and appreciate the landscapes. Especially the main landscape, which is that of the imposing Arenal Volcano and its perfect conical shape right next to the southern shore of the lake. Another beautiful landscape is made up of the mountains that descend from Monteverde to the shores of the lake at El Castrillo and Rio Chiquito. This particular jungle area is part of the Arenal Volcano National Park, and the Children’s Eternal Forest, which, together with the well-known Monteverde and Santa Elena cloud forest reserve, constitute one of the richest and largest biodiverse mixed tropical forest areas in the country. It is still home to large mammal species such as Jaguar, Puma and Tapir.

Towards the north coast, in the direction of Tronadora and Nuevo Arenal, the weather conditions of the lake change. It becomes less humid and rainy, and begins to look a little more like the climate of the Northwest region of Costa Rica, and the province of Guanacaste, which is drier and windier. All these dramatic changes in temperature, humidity, as well as the changing topography and geography make possible a variety of impressive microclimates.

Fishing in the lake

Another popular activity, especially for sport fishermen, is fishing in the lake, which can be done in a casual and improvised way from the shore, or hire a boat and go in search of the famous Guapote cichlid, Rainbow Bass in English, one of the largest cichlids in the world and famous for its delicious white meat. Other species that can be fished include the Machaca wing, Roncador and the Barbudo, a species of Catfish.

Kayak

For those who like sports, eco-tourism and adventure, kayak tours are also available, where you will travel the shores of the lake in silence, and who knows, perhaps with luck, appreciate species of water birds that have found in Lake Arenal a place to live and reproduce.

Recommended route

Between the lake’s dam, near Arenal Volcano National Park and La Fortuna, a road goes around the lake on its north side. During this journey, it will be possible not only to obtain impressive panoramic views of the lake, from different perspectives, but also to witness the changing climate. After driving north for about 20 minutes, the weather will begin to change slowly, until you reach Nuevo Arenal, where the climate is already quite different from the typical climate of San Carlos. In this area, the weather and conditions are drier, cooler and windier. Starting from the Nuevo Arenal community even further north, the weather will start to change a bit more, until we reach Tronadora, where the wind is even stronger, and the conditions are even more similar to those in the highlands of Guanacaste. In this part of the lake, you can visit the beautiful communities of Tierras Morenas, or go down to the dry plains of the North Pacific and Tilaran. This route is widely used for its scenic beauty for those who visit Guanacaste or Rincon de la Vieja after their stay in La Fortuna. Throughout the journey, the landscape will leave you with your mouth open, as magical and mystical places abound, with green fields, hills and mountain ranges everywhere as well as that incessant ever-changing peak.

Ask us at Canoa Aventura about our kayak tour in Lake Arenal, or if you want to know more about our beautiful area.

The Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge is a wetland and wildlife protection area located in the northern part of Costa Rica, near its border with Nicaragua. It is considered one of the most important wildlife refuges for hundreds of resident and migratory bird species, as well as other species of fauna, such as caimans, crocodiles, freshwater turtles, reptiles and amphibians in general, insects and more.

The extensive wetlands, which are actually flooded extensions of the Rio Frio and other tributaries, also provide a unique landscape for nature photography lovers. The large number of birds that live in Caño Negro, in addition to migratory species, make it a privileged destination among ornithologists and those who enjoy birdwatching, since in addition to having a large number of species, they live in this sanctuary in large numbers and the landscape of the place makes them relatively easy to see.

Animals of Caño Negro

Caño Negro is a sanctuary that serves as a habitat for many species of fauna. There is an important population of fish, some in certain danger of extinction such as the Tropical Gaspar. Bird species are also abundant, including herons, roseate spoonbills, hawks, large birds of prey such as eagles, and several species of parrots and macaws. As for mammal species, you can find the white-tailed deer, the ocelot, the puma, the caucel or Margay, the Jaguarundi, the Tolomuco or Taira, sainos (wild pigs) and three of the four species of monkeys in Costa Rica, including the Howler Monkey, the Capuchin Monkey and the Spider Monkey.

Tours to Caño Negro

The Caño Negro wetlands are located about 1.5 – 2 hours from La Fortuna. The best way to get there is along the road from Muelle to the North, towards Los Chiles.

Although it is possible to visit the area on a self-guided tour, there are many benefits to visiting the area on a guided tour, including the knowledge of the guide, perfect logistics, transportation and many private types that only the guides know. The tours include transportation from La Fortuna, or if you have your own transportation or a rental car, you can drive to the area and take the tour without ground transportation from La Fortuna.

The best tours in Caño Negro

To see the details of each tour, we invite you to visit our tour section at www.canoa-aventura.com

Unique Caño Negro

The classic Pantoon boat tour will take you to the most unspoiled part of the Rio Frio and the wetlands of the area. As you sail up and down the river in this comfortable boat, you will possibly see monkeys, bird species, reptiles such as iguanas and snakes and much more. The tour lasts half a day and a little more if the travel time from La Fortuna is included in case you book it with transportation

Canoeing in Caño Negro

This tour is an eco-adventure classic! Not only is it the most silent and eco-friendly way to discover Caño Negro’s wetlands, but it involves exercising while silently observing the fantastic natural environment.

Caño Negro Eco Safari

With this tour, you will have the opportunity to discover the flora and fauna of Caño Negro aboard a small inflatable boat with a silent engine. This provides the opportunity to get very close to species of fauna that will not run away due to the noise of the engine.

All these tours are operated by Canoa Aventura. Please contact us in case of doubts or questions about the best option for you as well as prices and departure times.

Best volcanic hot springs in La Fortuna

La Fortuna in San Carlos became a famous destination during the 1990s, when the Arenal Volcano, located right next to the town, maintained strong and constant volcanic activity, with eruptions almost every day. This spectacle undoubtedly brought the eyes and attention of visitors from all over the world who wanted to see the spectacle of fire and lava, which was particularly striking at night, when you could see orange and red lava and large volcanic rocks shooting out hundreds of meters into the air and then covering up to half of the perfect cone of the volcano in an incandescent blanket.

Cessation of activity and transfer to volcanic hot springs

For several years now, the volcano has stopped being so active, but it is still active, which means that it has gas and steam emanations, and occasionally there are rumblings coming from occasional eruptions not visible to the human eye. Nevertheless, the area shows clear activity, due to the fact that dozens of water sources and volcanic hot springs, very rich in minerals and reaching incredible temperatures, emanate from the cone.
Most of the waters are subsequently channeled into sites offering volcanic hot springs, captured in pools of various shapes. These facilities have become one of the main attractions in La Fortuna, due to the fame of hot spring waters for their medicinal, relaxing, healing and therapeutic features.
Most of the volcanic hot springs facilities offer entrance to the public, changing rooms and baths, food and beverage service and in most cases, additional services such as massages, beauty treatments using mud and organic material among others.
Here are some of the most beautiful volcanic hot springs in La Fortuna

Tabacón

Tabacón is undoubtedly the best known thermal water facility. It was also the first one, since since the 80s it already had thermal water collection in only one pool which had only one slide. Today, its dozens of hot spring pools, impeccable facilities with gardens, spa, trails and glamorous restaurant as well as spa and massage center have turned it into an almost mandatory destination for thousands of tourists visiting the area.

Eco Termales

Ecotermales is a fantastic facility located in a quiet place in La Fortuna. Ecotermales emphasizes nature, tranquility and an environment full of plants and trees. One of the special attractions of Ecotermales is that they maintain their policy of not exceeding the number of visitors, to maintain the quality of the relaxation and health experience. It has beautiful pools that fit perfectly into the environment of the place, full of tropical gardens and jungle. It has changing rooms, spa service, restaurant and bar and private parking.

Baldi

Baldi is located a few miles from downtown La Fortuna. Unlike Tabacón and Ecotermales, Baldi emphasizes taking full advantage of the volcanic hot springs in various attractions. The number of pools as well as their diversity in shape, water temperature and facilities distinguish it from the other hot springs. There are pools of different temperatures, constructions in cement imitating rock, with caverns and artificial caves, water falls from the most fantastic sites and imitations of natural saunas. At Baldo, extrovert, lights, music and food and beverage options abound. It is a favorite spot for young people and families with children, since it has slides and facilities that resemble an amusement park. It has restaurants, bars, changing rooms and bathrooms, private parking as well as spa and massage services.

Other volcanic hot springs in La Fortuna

Additionally, there are more health centers, spas and volcanic hot springs. Some that are worth mentioning are Paradise Hot Springs, Termalitas and even El Chollin, which is a free river, of free entrance located very close to Tabacón, where people can access to take a bath in the river, which flows freely in the jungle and offers the experience of thermal waters in its natural and virgin state.
In Canoa Aventura, you can reserve the different volcanic hot springs, either independently or included in a tour, such as the hike to the Arenal Volcano combined with the entrance to the hot springs.