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La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano Area

Soda el Río in La Fortuna is not just an average restaurant.  What sets it apart from a basic, small town restaurant is the warmth, the welcoming staff and, last but certainly not least, the amazing Costa Rican food.

Located only 200 meters south of La Fortuna’s Catholic Church, Soda el Río is a popular spot for both, locals and tourists. 
“Our specialty is the typical Costa Rican food, including Casados, Costa Rican Burritos and Arroz con Leche”, said Luis Fernando, cashier and son of the restaurant’s owners, who opened the popular ‘Soda’ about 15 years ago.

According to Luis Fernando, his grandmother started it all.  She was a great cook and decided to make some extra money by cooking and selling food from her own home.  But as La Fortuna town began to grow, so did the demand for home cooked Costa Rican food.  By 1995, Luis Fernando’s family had started a solid business and opened Soda el Río’s doors to the general public.

Just as Luis Fernando’s family business, many other locals and foreign investors have also had the satisfaction to see their businesses grow – thanks to La Fortuna’s great development in the past few years.  La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano area’s restaurants, hotels, shops and travel agencies have been some of the most benefited businesses due to the area’s constant growth.

Nowadays, La Fortuna town is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, as it is blessed with surrounding natural beauty, such as the Arenal Volcano National Park, and is not far from the pacific coastline and its beaches, as well as Costa Rica’s capital city San José. 

La Fortuna is located on the Northern Plains of Costa Rica, approximately 3 hours from San José, 3 1/2 hours from Manuel Antonio, 3 1/2 hours from Monteverde, 3 1/2 hours from Poás Volcano,  and about 3 hours from Liberia, depending on road and weather conditions.

As most towns in Costa Rica, La Fortuna is centered around the Catholic Church and the central park.  Here you’ll also find restaurants, hotels and ‘cabinas’, travel agencies and information centers, supermarkets, pharmacies, souvenir shops, small shopping centers, Internet cafés, local banks and ATMs, gas stations, bus stations, taxis, among other businesses.


Accommodations in La Fortuna and Arenal Area

Being such a privileged region, La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano area combined receives over 1,500,000 visitors each year, resulting in plenty of accommodation alternatives in the area, looking to suit every budget. 

Within La Fortuna, there are many hotels to choose from. These hotels offer a convenient location next the town center. Hotels in La
Hotels in La Fortuna include Hotel La Fortuna, Hotel Las Colinas, Hotel San Bosco and Hotel Carmela.

Outside of La Fortuna, hotels in the surrounding Arenal Volcano area are more expensive, but they offer great volcano views and more amenities than those near the town center.  Some of the most popular hotels in the area are:

Attractions in La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano Area

Aside from the many options for lodging in there area, there’s also a great number of exciting vacation packages and guided tours, offered to those seeking an unforgettable experience by exploring the town and its surroundings at its fullest.

La Fortuna’s Catholic Church: This modern churc was designed by famous Costa Rican artist Teodorico Quirós, and features a beautiful front steeple and clock tower.  Right in front of the church is the central park, where you can spend some time simply experiencing this small town’s life and admiring the majestic Arenal Volcano in the background.

Los Abuelos Museum: A modest collection of household items, clothing, tools and old currency, collected over many generations by local families. It's open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4pm.

La Fortuna WaterfallOnly a few minutes away from La Fortuna, this waterfall is an easy hike and a great refreshing swim.  You can drive or hike to check out the falls, and walk another 15 to 20 minutes down a steep and often muddy path to the pool formed by the waterfall.  Another great way to visit the waterfalls is by a horseback tour. 
Another excellent waterfall destination near the Arenal/La Fortuna area is the Rio Celeste and Tenorio Volcano. It is an exciting hike with breathtaking views – perfect for nature lovers.
Arenal Volcano National ParkThis is one of the most visited National Parks of Costa Rica and is comprised by more than 7000 acres, including viewing and parking areas around the volcano.  The park is open daily from 8am to 10pm and charges US$10 admission per person. Inside the park you’ll find beautiful trails through the forest and over old lava flows, offering spectacular natural diversity and unique views.
The Arenal Volcano borders a region of rainforests and cloud forests, and the volcano’s cone is often hidden behind clouds and fog.  As the climate in Costa Rica, and therefore in Arenal Volcano, tends to be unpredictable and even counterintuitive, the rainy season is often a better time to see the exposed cone of the Volcano, especially at night, when the orange lava glows dark sky. Watching Arenal’s regular eruptions is the main activity in La Fortuna.  It is possible to admire Arenal’s volcanic activity from the middle of the town, however, the view is best from the north and west sides of the volcano, along the road to the national park’s entrance.

Cerro Chato (Chato Volcano):  Chato Volcano is an inactive volcano that sits in the southeast side of Arenal Volcano.  Cerro Chato, along with the surrounding Arenal Volcano National Park, is home to a wide variety of flora, exotic birds and animals. 
The El Chato trail is an arduous yet rewarding five hour hike that passes through lush rainforest and astonishing steep hills.  It is almostentirely uphill, and ends at the blue waters of the Mount Chato Lagoon.

Hot Springs:  The Arenal area is famous for its beautiful volcano, rainforests, lake and incredible wildlife. One great benefit of having a volcano nearby is the natural geothermal heat that warms up groundwater which results in natural hot springs. The hot springs are ideal for relaxing and enjoying the wonders of nature.
Some of the most visited hot springs het by the Arenal Volcano are the following:

La Fortuna and the Arenal area can be the perfect romantic haven, with the best combination of activities and destinations.  And for those looking for an adrenaline rush, there are as well several adventurous activities that one can really enjoy while in the area, including white water rafting, hiking excursions, kayaking, rappelling, horseback riding and canopy tours.  
Your first trip to La Fortuna and Arena

Planning your first trip to this tropical paradise can be somewhat overwhelming, as there are many things to consider.  The climate of the La Fortuna area is relatively comfortable, but as in most parts of the country, it is constantly changing.  Taking this into consideration, we recommend you bring the following items with you:

  • Comfortable / light clothing
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Sweaters / Coats
  • Swimsuit
  • Insect repellent
  • Sun block
  • Camera & Binoculars

For all the other details of your trip, having an experienced travel agency prepare your trip can be your best option and will ensure a stress free experience from start to finish.  Expediciones Tropicales can take care of your accommodation in Arenal, rental car, private transportation, local flights, vacation packages and tours in the area.

Featured Hotels and Activities


The Arenal Volcano Inn is an excellent choice for a place to unwind after an exciting day in the Arenal Volcano area. You might want to go for a spa treatment after hiking the many trails, and or taste the scrumptious wood fired pizza that is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. Los Lagos Hot Springs Resort is also an excellent choice where you can recharge your batteries while you bask in the hot thermal springs and or enjoy some of the spectacular foods that the hotel restaurant has to offer.

Arenal Volcano Inn Los Lagos


The Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna area is replete with many trails that are ideal for short hike to the waterfalls where one can cool off, and admire the lush vegetation and wildlife. Also birdwatchers will be amazed at the diversity in terms of species of birds, including the mighty Quetzal, Toucans, and other popular species. Then after a day of fun and adventure, you can relax at one of the many hot thermal springs located in the nearby resorts such as Los Lagos Hot Springs Resort and Tabacan Hot Springs Resort. Or you can just lounge in your hotel and enjoy the pleasant night air and crystal clear skies above.

Baldi Hot Spring Canopy Tour


Need accommodation in Arenal area. Visit our selection of hotels and let us help you with your Arenal Volcano vacation.

See selected Arenal area accommodation

Arenal Springs
Volcano Lodge & Gardens
Tabacon Hot Springs Resort


Travel Agencies, after hours & weekends:
(506) 2257-4171

Toll Free:
Costa Rica: (506) 2233-5151
Fax: (506) 2233-5284
E-mail: [email protected]
*Rates are subject to change without previous notice, according to any tax changes or any government regulations.

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