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  • ajknapp

Costa Rica Travel: La Fortuna Waterfall

Updated: Feb 3, 2020

Located in the Arenal area, this beautiful natural wonder cascades about 230 feet (70 meters) down from the thick jungle above to a beautiful, rocky, jade colored pool below. It’s a magnificent view that showcases the beauty and power of nature and a great spot for swimming, picnicking, some wildlife viewing, and great photos.

Open from 7:30am-4pm, it costs $18 to visit ($6 for children) and has easy, free parking right outside. There are bathrooms and gift shop at the top and friendly, knowledgeable people to greet and direct you if needed.

La Fortuna Waterfall Trail of 500 stairs
La Fortuna Waterfall Trail Stairs

The trail down is literally all stairs, pretty steep, all down to reach the waterfall and then of course back up after. About 500+ stairs to be exact. It’s 10-20 minutes depending on your pace and maybe a little longer back up, and definitely worth the effort! There is no actual hiking involved so open toe shoes and whatever outfit you want to wear are perfectly fine, as long as you can walk up and down stairs in it.

La Fortuna Waterfall Rainforest Trail on a foggy morning
La Fortuna Waterfall Rainforest Trail

Wildlife can be seen in the thick rainforest around you if you know how to spot it (or not, in the case of occasional monkeys who make their presence clear!). Everything is sustainable and environmentally friendly as are many natural attractions in Costa Rica and fees go towards the continued maintenance, protection and improvement of this beautiful place.

For Photos: If you’re wanting to do an image for your photography or modeling portfolio, Instagram page, mini family photoshoot, etc., I would recommend going early in the morning, right when the falls open if not slightly before (there were people there a little earlier when we arrived and they did let us in). There was very thick fog when we arrived so we were concerned about the photos, but the waterfall is so far down that the fog was minimal near it and did not interfere with the images. The sun was diffused perfectly so there were no harsh shadows and there were far fewer people than visit later in the day, so it was easier to get a nice shot without a whole crowd surrounding you in the image.


La Fortuna Waterfall

-Arenal/La Fortuna area

-15 minute “hike” (up and down stairs, no conventional hiking)

-Free parking

-$18 entrance fee ($6 for children)

-Open 7:30am-4pm


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