Plan Your Visit to La Fortuna Waterfall with Kids

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.

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We visited La Fortuna with the kids after hearing all the hype about it, and it was definitely worth it! After taking a short drive to reach the falls and trekking down the infamous stairs, we enjoyed being able to take in the natural wonder.

Read on to learn more about visiting La Fortuna Waterfall in Costa Rica.

La Fortuna Waterfall pin 1

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!

La Fortuna Waterfall entrance

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.

Kids 9+ and Adults are $20 and kids under 9 are free (non-residents of Costa Rica. Residents have discounted pricing). Credit cards are accepted. (info as of March 2024 from their website)

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!)

La Fortuna Waterfall overlook

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.

La Fortuna Waterfall stairs

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.

A few La Fortuna Waterfall photos for your viewing pleasure 🙂

La Fortuna Waterfall vertical eye level
La Fortuna Waterfall bottom half

Need a hotel nearby? See why we loved Los Lagos!

La Fortuna Waterfall pool access rocks

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!

La Fortuna Waterfall kids in rocks

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.

La Fortuna Waterfall butterfly trail

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!)

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 🙂

La Fortuna Waterfall pin 1

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  1. You make planning a visit to La Fortuna Waterfall with kids so easy! It looks like the perfect place for families to explore in Costa Rica.

  2. What a beautiful waterfall! I wish we’d had time to see La Fortuna Waterfall! There’s just so much to do in Costa Rica!

  3. What a lovely spot! I am not surprised that the kids loved it so much! I think when there are lots of stairs like that, they feel proud to have managed it – so it turns it into a better memory for them too. 🙂

    1. Totally agree. There is something about a ton of stairs that makes my kids so excited. Well, most of them, lol!

  4. La Fortuna Waterfall (and La Fortuna in general!) sound incredible. I would love to take my kids here one day. Thank your for the tips!

  5. We love visiting Costa Rica. Looking forward to visiting La Fortuna Waterfall as I love seeing waterfalls. Thank you for the suggestion.

  6. La Fortuna Waterfall sounds like a fun place to visit. I’m glad your kids thought the stairs were fun. That would have been quite a journey back up if you would have had to carry one of them. Thanks for sharing!

  7. La Fortuna Waterfall in Costa Rica looks amazing! What a wonderful place to explore! Adding to my list!

  8. The La Fortuna waterfall is gorgeous! Not sure about all of those stairs, though. Glad there is a place to view from above.

  9. I feel like I missed out majorly when I went to Costa Rica and didn’t go here! But that just means I need to go back, right? 😉 This is a great guide too btw, and love to see that kids can make it pretty easily/safely as well!

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