Costa Rica – La Fortuna Waterfall


What? :

La Fortuna Waterfall is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in all of Costa Rica. The waterfall drops around 250 feet over a cliff into a large pool surrounded by rocks, boulders and the jungle.

There is a well-maintained paved trail, that is mainly 500+ stairs leading down from the high viewpoint to the canyon below, you will need to climb all stairs back on your way out.

La Fortuna Waterfall is also one of the most visited waterfalls in Costa Rica so be ready to be here with many other people.


For more information visit the park website:

The entrance fee cost 18 USD, this is high for waterfall… because of that and the crowd this is not a must place to visit and if it too pricey for you do not feel that you missed too much…


You should probably plan for a 2 hour visit here.


Where? :

Located 10 minutes’ drive out of the town of La Fortuna (5.5 km).

Google Map Link



When? :

Year round.

December to April is the dry season at Costa Rica and I recommend visiting the state when there is less chance for rain.

It’s also the most popular time to visit, so expect more tourists and crowds. Book things you know like hotel, park entries, rental car as far ahead as you can. 

When traveling to Costa Rica you should always be prepared for some showers no matter what time of year you are visiting.



Due note 1: Open every day between 7:30am to 4pm.

Mid-day can be very crowded, where many other people are surrounding the waterfall pool. If you can visit here early in the morning.


Due note 2: Entrance fee is $18 for adults and $5 for children, probably no need for on-line reservation and you can buy ticket at the gate.


Due note 3: There is a parking lot right near the entrance, and an overflow parking short walk from there. Parking is free but you need to pay for the entrance.


Due note 4: You can find bathrooms, a small café, souvenir store at the entrance and restaurant is inside.


Due note 5: This is a private park, but you still need to watch your belonging, especially if you are coming alone and taking a long swim in the pool.


Due note 6: As in many other private places there is also a guided tour option, not sure it is worth it here, the main attraction is the waterfall.


Due note 7: Sport shoes are recommended but not mandatory. You will need swimsuit. Towel and mosquito repellent with you.


Due note 8: Bring water and snacks with you.


Due note 9: At the beginning of the trail going down there is a side Orchid Garden and Butterfly Trail. I did it and did not see much, except one flower I did not saw anything…



My thoughts:

This is not a must visit (mainly because of the crowd) but we had fun morning here. We went to swim in the waterfall base pool, the water are nice and cold.

The hike up the stairs is not over challenging, and you can take as many stops you need.

Another thing I do not like so much that this cost 18 USD, after all this is a waterfall… but as I said, this is not a must and if it too pricey for you do not feel that you missed too much…



The visit:


After entering the park, you will cross a bridge and reach to the café.

Walk to the viewing platform overlooking the jungle and the La Fortuna Waterfall.

After enjoying the view take the trail leading down, soon it become a long set of staircases. All are well built and maintained and with handrails, there are a few locations with benches, some will use them on the way back up.


It will take you around 10 minutes to go down.


When reaching the lower section of the trail in the canyon near the waterfall there is another viewing platform on your right.

From here you can go to the waterfall base itself or down the river to the more relax shallow pools.


You can swim in the waterfall pool; the waterfall current is strong and there are rocks all around it so be careful.

The water are cold but not too much and after few seconds they are fun to swim at.

When we visit here there was a lifeguard on duty, it is not safe to swim into the waterfall the power of the water will crash you.

Be carful from the rocks, they are slippery, and you can harm yourself.


There are few calmer and safer pools downstream, just head left, and you will find them.


You might spend near the waterfall and the calmer stream for 1 hour.


Once you are done with your stay near the waterfall pack your stuff and head up.

On the way back the 500+ stairs may be challenging for some, take as many rests as you need.

When we were there, we saw people of all ages doing this climb, taking their time but doing it.

It will take you 15-30 minutes to walk all the way back to the upper-level viewing platform.





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