La Fortuna Waterfall, also known as Catarata Río Fortuna, is one of the most popular and famous waterfalls in Costa Rica. It is frequented by tourists and photographed often. La Fortuna Waterfall is also a great stop with kids! But it might not be for everyone. Read on to learn more about visiting La Fortuna Waterfall in Costa Rica.
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Can you go to La Fortuna Waterfall with Kids?
Let’s answer this question before anything else. Is La Fortuna Waterfall a good place for kids?
You have probably heard there are lots of stairs. This is true. But the kids handled them just fine! For some reason, my kids think stairs are really fun (this was true when we visited Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Missouri with a 300+ stair staircase.)
It’s totally worth visiting La Fortuna Waterfall and seeing the large, 200 foot drop into aqua blue water. And the kids will love it too.
Where is La Fortuna Waterfall?
La Fortuna Waterfall is located just a short drive (about 10 minutes) from downtown La Fortuna. Google maps will bring you right to it!
Entrance to La Fortuna Waterfall
How Much does it Cost to Go To La Fortuna Waterfall?
As with many popular waterfalls in Costa Rica, there is an entrance fee to access La Fortuna waterfall.
Adults are $18 and kids are $5 (non-residents of Costa Rica. Residents have discounted pricing). Credit cards are accepted. (info as of June 2022)
La Fortuna Waterfall sits on protected land to which the entrance fees help keep it maintained. Plus, to access the waterfall, quite a few steps have been built and maintained for easier access.
You do not need a tour to visit La Fortuna Waterfall. You can just arrive and purchase tickets.
It is open at 7:00 am and closes at 5:00 pm (be there by 4:00 pm at the very latest!)
Viewpoint to the waterfall
How Long is the Hike to La Fortuna Waterfall?
I would use the term “hike” loosely. You are not so much trekking through the jungle as you are descending (and then climbing) a lot of stairs. Over 500 stairs, that is.
I mentioned this waterfall might not be for everyone. By this, I mean maybe not everyone is able to make it down all the stairs and to the base of the waterfall. If you are not up to doing the stairs, there is a viewpoint at the top where you can see La Fortuna Waterfall.
Along the staircase and around many of the corners, there are a few benches if you need a rest going up (or down!)
Once you reach the bottom of the large staircase, you are pretty much there. You can head up a small staircase for a great lookout, or you can continue to the bottom area of the waterfall.
Need a hotel nearby? See why we loved Los Lagos!
There are lots of rocks to climb over to get to the water!
Playing at the Waterfall
As you get near to the waterfall, you’ll see the beautiful, aqua blue water in the pool below.
Bring towels, wear your swimsuit, and enjoy some time at the bottom of the falls!
You can dip into the water, but cannot go far into the pool. The current is strong and you are advised not to enter. To get to the water, you do have to get over a large rocky area. Be careful and go slow!
We found a nice little area where the kids could play on the rocks and enjoy the cool water where it wasn’t deep.
I would recommend water shoes, as it is quite rocky and very slippery!
Returning from La Fortuna Waterfall
We have 4 kids, so I really thought getting back to the top of the 500+ stairs might take a while. Armed with patience, I began to ascend, just to find that my kids found the stairs quite fun. It took between 5 and 10 minutes for us to reach the top again!
Once at the top, there is a souvenir shop, restaurant, and bathrooms.
But our favorite part was the little butterfly garden just to the side. It’s filled with colorful flowers and, of course, butterflies flying around. Don’t miss this little gem!
Want to combine La Fortuna Waterfall with another adventure? Check out these excursions! (We LOVED the Safari float!)
- Chocolate & La Fortuna Waterfall Tour
- Description:Enjoy a sweet experience with the chocolate tour, where your will know about the history of the cacao and taste all the process to get the chocolate. At the waterfall, admiring 70 meters of a drop that transmits the power and energy of The Fortuna River.
- Price: $74.67
- Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall
- Description:1- Trained and certified guides for greater security. 2- Horses trained from babies to have peace of mind when riding. 3- Totally private trails, at no time will you go by road. 4- Entrance to La Fortuna Waterfall included. 5- Magical landscapes full of f
- Price: $66.67
- Hanging Bridges + La Fortuna Waterfall + Farm Lunch
- Description:Arenal Hanging Bridges is one of the most visited tourist attraction in La Fortuna, only 4 km (2.5 miles) west of TabacÃ³n within a 250 hectare (618 acres) reserve of primary forest. The visitor who loves nature can enjoy 15 bridges from 5 to 100 meters
- Price: $164.00
- Safari Float + La Fortuna Waterfall & Farm Lunch
- Description:To safari Costa Rica is the best way to see its wonders. This safari floating trip will allow you to see places that you cannot reach by vehicle and not even by horseback! Together with a breathtaking landscape, the Rios PeÃ±as Blancas is merely the best
- Price: $151.00
A few tips for La Fortuna Waterfall
Wear Appropriate Shoes
I saw a few people in flip flops... I do not recommend wearing flip flops. Not only is it harder to descend and go back up 500 stairs, it is very slippery on the rocks near the falls. I recommend a good pair of water sandals.
Keen is the leader in great water sandals, but if that is out of your budget, we used these ones for a fraction of the cost. We wore them for a lot of our trip and were plenty happy with them!
Take Your Time
Allow yourself plenty of time to visit La Fortuna Waterfall! It's beautiful and refreshing on a hot day. Take your time here and enjoy!
As mentioned, there are a lot of stairs. Take your time so you don't wear out.
Bring What You Need
Grab a backpack and throw in some towels (try these lightweight towels that won't weigh you down!) Wear your swimsuit. And don't forget sunscreen, water, and snacks. Be prepared with everything you need to enjoy a while at La Fortuna Waterfall.
If you're not wearing your swimsuit when you arrive, there is a changing area at the top of the stairs to put it on.
Parking at La Fortuna Waterfall
There is a designated parking lot for La Fortuna waterfall. Someone may guide you to a certain spot, and tell you to park in reverse. This is common in Costa Rica as you'll quickly notice.
Don't miss the photo-op outside
Outside the entrance you'll see a big "FORTUNA" sign in bright letters. Take a moment to capture a fun family photo!
Watch for fun stops on the way out
We drove along a road with vendors roadside as we exited. We learned quickly that whenever you see someone selling coconut water, or "pipa fria", you stop! Both kids and adults enjoyed drinking coconut water straight from the coconut whenever we had the chance.
La Fortuna Waterfall with Kids
Does this sound like something your kids would love? Mine love anything that involves water, so this was the perfect little excursion in La Fortuna with kids.
Is it worth the price?
Yes, I think so. Especially if you have time to enjoy!
We ended up doing a Safari Float in the morning, and coming to La Fortuna Waterfall in the afternoon. That left plenty of time to enjoy both excursions thoroughly!
I'd love to hear about your planning or experience to La Fortuna Waterfall :)