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La Fortuna de San Carlos

By: Trish Rohrer , Desafio Rios y Montañas

 Located 300 meters above sea-level, the laid-back town of Fortuna is a great hub from which to explore the surrounding waterfalls, caves, hot springs, whitewater rivers, and of course Fortuna’s most famous attraction, the spectacular Arenal Volcano.

The once dormant volcano exploded for the first time in 1968, killing more than 70 people in a matter of minutes. From that day on, Arenal Volcano has erupted daily, emitting smoke and red-hot lava to the delight of residents and travelers. On May 5, 1998, Arenal Volcano blew its top again with a major eruption that changed the classic shape of the volcano, opening a new fissure on its northwest side. Fortunately, no one was harmed during this eruption, though all were reminded of the impressive, yet unpredictable, power of Costa Rica’s most active volcano.

Just 5.5 kilometer from the town of Fortuna is the Fortuna River Waterfall; a must see for anyone visiting the area. Easily accessible by car, taxi, horse, or on-foot, this impressive waterfall is the perfect setting for a morning swim in paradise. Entrance to the park is 500 colones.

Looking for more action? Try a day of white water rafting on the Toro or the Penas Blancas rivers. These challenging rivers will thrill both the beginner and experienced rafter or kayaker with their technical rapids and exotic tropical scenery. Just a little over an hour from Fortuna, these rivers are not only world class, but convenient, as well. Half- and full-day class III and IV excursions are run daily by Desafio Rios y Montañas in Fortuna.

The Venado’s Caverns are an underground adventure-land. Located just a short drive from Fortuna near the town of Venado, these caves were discovered a few years ago when a farmer fell into one of the caves while walking around his property! The caves offer an exhilarating adventure as you explore a cool underground river and fascinating grottos. This alternative ½ day trip is relatively inexpensive at 1,500 colones for admission, including helmet, flashlight, boots and a guide. Dive into this underground world on your next visit to the area.

Of course, once you’ve spent a busy day exploring the area, you’ll want to take advantage of the delicious and varied cuisine found at one of Fortuna’s numerous bars and restaurants. Favorites include Tabacon Hotspring’s Resort and Restaurant or the excellent meat and fish at El Novillo. Despite its small size, Fortuna offers a wide range of accommodations to satisfy the budget conscious backpacker or the luxury-seeking traveler – drop by the office at Desafio Rios Y Montanas for more information.

Whether you’re a "birder" seeking a peaceful get away in paradise or a high action thrill-seeker looking to test your limits, the Fortuna area offers something for everyone.

Passing through Fortuna on your way to Monteverde to visit the Cloud Rainforest? Why not take the traditional route and go by boat and horse? It’s the fastest way to travel between the two towns, and the most adventurous! This door-to-door service offers spectacular views of the Arenal volcano, lake and valley. With qualified guides, over fifty horses, and first class equipment, this adventure tour is the perfect way to set out on the next stage of your vacation. Contact Desafio Rios y Montanas for more information, including rental car shuttle service.