The 9 Most Beautiful Hikes in La Fortuna

Experience the natural wonders of Costa Rica up close

La Fortuna is a paradise for nature lovers and adventurers. The region impresses with its unspoiled beauty, diverse landscapes, and rich wildlife. Hiking offers you the opportunity to really connect with nature, to experience it up close, and to leave the stress of everyday life behind you. 

We are enthusiastic hikers ourselves and have put together the most beautiful routes in this breathtaking region of Costa Rica for you. It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced hiker or a newcomer to this area. We are convinced you will find a route that suits your needs and preferences.

1. Arenal Volcano National Park

In the Arenal Volcano National Park you will find four different hiking trails with lengths between 0.4 mile and 1.5 miles. They can be linked together for a total of around 2.5 miles. Highlights are the approximately 400-year-old kapok tree on the “El Ceibo” trail and the “Sendero Coladas” that leads over lava fields from the 1992 eruption. At the end of the trail you will find a spectacular view of the volcano, Lake Arenal and the Tilarán mountain range. The last part of the “Coladas” trail is uphill over lava rock. Otherwise the trails of the national park are rather flat and easy to walk on. There is something for every fitness level and the trails often go through beautiful rainforest.

For those who prefer a rather easy hike, we recommend our guided tour in the “Peninsula” sector including a boat trip on Lake Arenal.

2. Arenal 1986 Park

This private nature reserve close to the national park offers great hiking trails with spectacular views of the volcano. There is a long loop, almost 3 miles, that goes through rainforest, past a picturesque lagoon and over the lava fields of the 1968 eruption. There is also a 2.5 mile trail that focuses mainly on the lava fields. Both arrive at a spectacular viewpoint of the volcano. The paths are in good condition but the hikes are classified as “moderate” because they involve “stick and stone” and a certain degree of surefootedness.

Learn more about the Arenal Volcano.

3. El Silencio Trail

The third is El Silencio Park. This is privately run and offers beautiful hiking trails at the foot of the Arenal Volcano. You can hike a total of 8.7 miles on 7 different paths. The highlight is the vantage point on trail number 6. Here there is a short but intense climb over lava rock before you reach the top of the small hill and are rewarded with a spectacular view. You can’t get as close to the volcano on any of the other hiking trails as you can here. This is a real highlight which is why this park is one of our favorites. 

If you prefer a guided tour where you can learn about the origin and eruption history of the volcano as well as about the flora and fauna of the park, we are happy to help you.

Learn more about the Arenal Volcano guided tour on the El Silencio Trail.

4. La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the most impressive waterfalls in Costa Rica. It is in the middle of a dense jungle and is more than 230 feet high. The path to the waterfall is almost 2 miles long and leads through the forest over steps. In between there are breathtaking views of the waterfall. Once you arrive at the bottom, you can refresh yourself in the cool water of the natural pool or in the adjacent river before you head back up.

Here, too, we offer a guided tour on which you hike together in a group, learn a lot about the rainforest from our guide and are provided with towels, water and snacks.

5. Hanging Bridges

The La Fortuna Hanging Bridges Tour is a great way to explore the biodiversity of the tropical environment. There are 2 miles you can hike over different paths which are connected with a total of 16 stand and suspension bridges to experience the rainforest at different levels. We recommend the hanging bridges tour of Místico Park where you can usually spot many animals. In good weather you can also enjoy a great view of the Arenal Volcano. 

You can walk the paths alone or with a guide. On a guided tour, you travel more slowly and, thanks to the trained eyes of the guide, have significantly more opportunities to discover animals. You will also learn many facts about the rainforest and its inhabitants.

6. Tenorio National Park - Rio Celeste

The Rio Celeste is a river known for its bright blue color. It flows through Tenorio National Park and offers some of the most beautiful scenery in Costa Rica. Definitely worth the approximately 1.5 hour drive from La Fortuna for this hike. The 2.2 mile long trail passes a beautiful waterfall, a blue lagoon, and bubbling volcanic water. The trail ends at a confluence of two rivers that give the Rio Celeste its blue color through a chemical reaction. This is where the path ends and you walk back enjoying the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

It is advisable to do this tour with a guide, as the chances of wildlife sightings are then higher and you can learn a lot about the “tropical rainforest” ecosystem and the volcanic landscape of Costa Rica.

7. Children's Eternal Rainforest

This private rainforest sanctuary was created by school children from 44 countries and is now the largest private reserve in Central America. You can explore the rainforest on a total of 6.2 miles of hiking trails from the Pocosol station which is about an hour from La Fortuna and only accessible by four-wheel drive. Highlights are the Pocosol waterfall with a drop of 165 feet, the lagoon, and the fumaroles in the middle of the rainforest. The fumaroles indicate the presence of volcanic activity in the region. The park is usually not crowded so you can experience an intensive nature experience here.

A guided tour is also a good idea here, as getting to the Pocosol station is not easy and you can discover and learn many details about the rainforest with a guide.

8. Juan Castro Blanco National Park

About 1.5 hours drive from La Fortuna you will reach the entrance to the Juan Castro Blanco National Park at the Hotel San Vicente Hideaway. This is a cloud forest area with incredibly beautiful flora and fauna. On approximately 3.1 miles of hiking trails you can immerse yourself in the lush vegetation, visit two different waterfalls and, with a bit of luck, you can even spot the rare quetzal. Those looking for a greater challenge can climb the extinct volcano Platanar from here. The summit is at 7,175 feet above sea level, starting at 4,514 feet and offers a great view of the surrounding landscape in good weather. The path is often muddy and you have to climb over many roots. Altogether you need about 6 hours for the 6.8 mile there and back hike. Keep in mind that the cloud forest is quite high and it can get quite chilly here.

If you want to book a guided tour to experience the cloud forest even more intensively, we are happy to help you.

9. The Crater Lagoon “del Hule”

The “Laguna de Hule” is still a real insider tip with great hiking trails through dense rainforest and panoramic views of various crater lakes. If you want to do the hike on your own, you can drive to the restaurant “Mirador Bosque Alegre” and from there start the approximately 5 mile long hike to the Hule and Congo Lagoon. 

On our guided hike you walk a loop trail, partly through private property, and enjoy even more great views of the impressive Laguna de Hule (135 acres) and the smaller Laguna de Congo (37 acres) with its green water. The trained eyes of a guide help you discover tons of animals hiding in the dense rainforest.

In conclusion, it can be said that La Fortuna is the ideal starting point for hikes of all levels of difficulty. Whether it’s lush rainforests, majestic volcanoes or spectacular waterfalls, there’s something for everyone here. The scenery will amaze you along with the  opportunity to truly connect with nature and experience the beauty of Costa Rica up close.

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