You will find the town of La Fortuna, Costa Rica which translates to “Fortune” or “Luck”, just a few kilometers from the Arenal Volcano. In fact, when you travel to the area – likely from capital city San José- your destination will almost definitely be La Fortuna. Looking at a map of Costa Rica, you’ll find La Fortuna in the Alajuela province, the San Carlos Canton and, most specifically, in the La Fortuna district. It´s about a three-hour drive from San José, and the town even has its own small domestic airport with daily flights to and from San José. From La Fortuna’s bus station you can also reach other Costa Rica stops like Manuel Antonio, Jaco, Tamarino or Samara.
As for the town’s background, it’s interesting to point out that it wasn´t always called La Fortuna. When it was founded in the mid-1930’s by a group of settlers who had set their sights on the agricultural potential of the area’s fertile lands, it was original called El Burío. It would go on to earn its current – and more appropriate name – decades later due to a series of circumstances. Not only do the surrounding lands yield lucrative crops of yucca and papaya, but the town also escaped relatively unscathed from a major volcano eruption in the 1960’s that destroyed surrounding towns and farms. Furthermore, with the rise of Costa Rica as a popular travel destination and the fame of Arenal as one of the country’s top attraction, La Fortuna flourished even more thanks to the booming tourism industry.
The town nowadays is still fairly low key and doesn’t have much in the line of sights, especially compared to the vast natural beauty of Arenal that brings people into town. However, it is a pleasant town that provides visitors with all the services and comforts of a good tourism base. It’s just a few blocks wide, and you´ll find everything you need clustered around the small central park or along the main street: restaurants, bars, shops, banks, pharmacies, supermarkets, etc.