La Fortuna Waterfall

Over 100,000 people visit the La Fortuna waterfall each year, and you’ll understand why as soon as you glimpse the elegant falls emerging from the dense forest before dramatically plummeting 70 meters off a cliff and into the pool below it. While most waterfalls of this postcard-worthy caliber are more often than not found at the far end of a long, arduous hike, the stunning La Fortuna waterfall, though tucked into lush tropical jungle, is actually quite close to the town of La Fortuna, just a hair over five kilometers away at the base of the dormant Chato volcano.

Lace up your boots for the picturesque hike to the waterfall, or even consider traversing the trail on a guided horseback tour. Guides are available but certainly not necessary to follow the well-marked trail. It costs $15 to enter, an entrance fee that goes towards local conservation efforts run by a local non-profit organization. Once you pass through the entrance it’s about a 15-minute walk along chiseled into the hillside.

The walk itself is short but somewhat challenging, if only due to the number of stairs (over 500!) that you have to walk down and, of course, back up again to visit the La Fortuna waterfall, but anyone – including children – in decent physical shape can get to and from the falls without much difficulty. Aside from the stairs, the trail is verdant and picturesque, and you’re more than likely to see plenty of tropical critters, ranging from monkeys to bright tropical birds, along the way.

If you bring along your bathing suit, or don’t mind getting your clothes soaked, you’re free to swim in the pool below the waterfall, though be forewarned that the water is pretty chilly!