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TEFL Training In Costa Rica | Updated: 02/06/2023

A Weekend in La Fortuna

Written by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica

About three hours northwest of San Jose, La Fortuna is a small, charming town in San Carlos located next to Arenal Volcano.  In addition to the volcano, the area is famous for the hot springs found at its base, Lake Arenal, and La Fortuna Waterfall.


From the Central Valley, you can rent a car or take a private shuttle, which would be the fastest options.  To save a little cash, you can catch the public bus from San Jose at the Fortuna Terminal 7-10.  Buses leave everyday from 6:15am to 11:50am, cost about 5 USD and take at least four hours to arrive.  

From Playa Grande, you also have the option of booking a rental car or a private shuttle.  Driving directly will take about three and a half hours.  Your option to get there by bus means taking a public bus from Tamarindo to Cañas, stopping in Liberia on the way.  You will need to take another bus from Cañas to Tilarán, where you will need to hire a taxi to take you the last hour or so into La Fortuna.  


La Fortuna and the area surrounding Arenal Volcano are packed with places to stay of varying price points, ranging from camping to hostels to hotels to resorts.  Of course there are basic hostels at dirt-cheap prices, but two of the most popular hostels in the area are Selina La Fortuna and the Arenal Backpackers Resort.  Prices vary greatly depending on the time of year and availability too, so plan accordingly.   During rainy season or low-tourism seasons, you can great deals at very nice hotels.  For example, last year we got a hotel room at Los Lagos Spa & Resort for just over 100 USD.  Split that with two or three friends, and you've got yourself a deal!  


Everyone goes to La Fortuna to experience the hot springs, and like lodging, you will find a plethora of options for all budgets.  As you can imagine, the springs and Tabacón River running through the area are heated by the volcano.  There are a few places where you can experience the warmth without even paying to go into a park or a hotel.  One is located right in front of the Tabacón Hot Springs, and you can find others by asking locals!  

Baldi Hot Springs Resort Hotel & Spa is one of the most popular destinations for experiencing the springs.  It is family-friendly and home to twenty-five different pools of varying temperatures.   It's an amazing experience that you won't forget! Rates range from 40-85 USD, which will be determined by the amount of time you stay and what meals you choose to eat.  Please note, you are not allowed to bring in your own food or drinks.   Meals are all-you-can-eat-buffets and drinks cost around 3 USD for a local beer and up to about 8 USD for a cocktail.  They will allow you to open a tab and access it at the many swim-up bars located throughout the resort. 

Los Lagos is smaller than Baldi but just as relaxing and even more affordable.  Here you will find about ten different pools with water of different temperatures, including a regular swimming pool with waterslides.  Day passes cost 15-30 USD, depending on your dinner choice.  There is also an animal exhibit where you can see tropical frogs, butterflies and crocodiles among the stunning flora of the area.  They offer a number of other activities as well, and don't miss all of the great views of the volcano!  

One of the first resorts to offer access to hot springs in this area, Tabacón Hot Springs is a luxurious and unforgettable experience.  We've been there and loved it, but please know that it's a bit pricier!   You can expect to spend from 70-105 USD depending on the package you choose and the time of day you go.  

In addition to experiencing the hot springs, make sure to schedule a hike around the base of the volcano,  kayak on Arenal Lake, and visit La Fortuna Waterfall.  Please note that it's 500 steps to get to the base of the 70-meter high waterfall, so be prepared to get in a workout!  The park is open from 7am-4pm daily, and you can expect to spend about two hours there.   The waterfall is about 5 kilometers from the town of La Fortuna.  If you aren't interested in walking those extra kilometers, get a taxi to take you there!   

We highly recommend a weekend in La Fortuna during your time in Costa Rica!  You won't regret it!  Not yet certified to teach English in Costa Rica?  Contact us today to register for one of our 4-week trainings in the Central Valley or on the Pacific Coasts

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