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La Fortuna, San Carlos

La Fortuna de San Carlos, Alajuela
La Fortuna de San Carlos, Alajuela

La Fortuna Overview

It was back in the late sixties in La Fortuna de San Carlos, Alajuela; when the Arenal Volcano erupted and buried the villages of San Luis, Tabacon and Pueblo Nuevo.

Back then, the economy of this small town started to change drastically.

People switched their habitual agricultural practices for the hospitality industry.

Attending the tourists who arrived from all over the world to Costa Rica; searching for the perfect picture of the eruption’s aftermath.

Though despite the tourism boom which the region has experienced during the past few decades; La Fortuna de San Carlos in Alajuela, is still blessed by a small-town and a rustic vibe.

And this is in part because many of the hotels in the area are family-run; which has helped to retain the peaceful environment that is not characteristic of other large touristic regions in the country.

Tourism has certainly been the center of the economy in La Fortuna for a long time.

And, the accommodation industry is doubtlessly the artery that allows other businesses such as restaurants, tour operators, and souvenir shops.; to grow and prosper.

Getting to La Fortuna de San Carlos

The bus for La Fortuna de San Carlos can be taken in downtown San Jose, nearby the Coca Cola Market.

The fare is cheap, and travel time is between 4 and 5 hours, depending on transit and weather conditions.

Charter flights are also available from the Tobias Bolaños (Pavas) and Juan Santamaria (Alajuela) Airports.
A trip to La Fortuna de San Carlos can take about 30 minutes by plane.

What to Do at La Fortuna de San Carlos

The Arenal Volcano is the top attraction in the area. And La Fortuna is the gateway for visiting this majestic destination.

There are many tour operators. Most of the people offering tours are serious about what they do, but we recommend you to ask in your hotel for these services, as they will probably get you a better price.

These operators can guide you through the different activities available at La Fortuna de San Carlos.

Arenal Volcano National Park

The Arenal Volcano National Park is constituted by more than seven thousand acres; and it’s open every day of the week from 8 in the morning to 10pm.

The Arenal Volcano is in constant activity; and at night is the optimal time to observe the orange lava glowing out of the volcano’s cone.

If you’re staying in a hotel at La Fortuna, chances are that you’ll be offered night tours; some of them including a short stop at a hot spring.

Though since the view of the volcano from inside or outside the park is the same during the night; the tour operators don’t enter the park.

And instead, they make strategic stops at different observation points.

Since the Arenal Volcano is in constant activity, it‘s forbidden to climb it.

And once you’ve gone through the park and taken your favorite pictures of the trip; you might want to explore other activities here; such as visiting La Fortuna waterfall, which has a 200 feet fall.

This is an interesting trip.Not only because this is one of the most impressive waterfalls you will get to see in Costa Rica; but also because on the trails that lead to a natural pool, you’ll have the chance to see Monkeys, Toucans, and other tropical species.

While there, you can also take the opportunity to visit the remote Caño Negro NationalWildlife Refuge; which is located 100 miles from La Fortuna, and close to the border with Nicaragua.

It is considered one of the most important wetlands in the world. And it is the home to more than two hundred species of birds; and many species of reptiles and mammals.

The park is open from 7 am to 5 pm every day.

Important Numbers and Websites:

  • Municipalidad:
  • Buses: 2255-4300
  • Hospital de San Carlos: 2460-1176
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