Monday, May 30, 2011

La Fortuna Costa Rica

The small town of La Fortuna Costa Rica is the main gateway for visiting Volcan Arenal, Lake Arenal and the Arenal hot springs.  The picture perfect Arenal Volcano looms over the town towards the southwest direction (see last picture below).  Ten years ago, La Fortuna Costa Rica was nothing more than a dusty little agricultural town with potholed dirt streets.  Today, it's a whole different story, as the town is overrun with tourist traffic and tour outfitters.  My sister Lisa and I spent some time walking around the center of La Fortuna Costa Rica since it was the location of the tour company known as Desafio, the outfitter we used for our Costa Rica whitewater rafting trip (I'll talk about this adventure in my next post).

The center of La Fortuna Costa Rica offers a quaint landscaped plaza filled with locals and tourists alike.  To the west side of the plaza sits the town's main church.  As you look beyond the church you will see Arenal Volcano looming just to the left of it in the background (see all pictures below).

La Fortuna Costa Rica is a great town to stay in if you want quick and easy access to tour outfitters and prefer to be close to basic amenities and shopping.  However, in my opinion, if you are exploring the Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal areas, I would recommend staying in one of the various resorts or lodges surrounding Arenal Lake.  The scenic views of the lake and volcano from these outlying resorts and lodges are simply unforgettable.  Plus it's much more quiet around the lake than it would be if you are staying right in La Fortuna's downtown area.  Still, La Fortuna Costa Rica is worth a short stroll through the town center after or before you visit your tour outfitter (since most of the outfitters are bound to be based out of this little town).  It's also the better choice if you are looking for more budget accomodations than what you'll find around the Lake Arenal area.

La Fortuna's Landscaped Central Plaza

Another View of La Fortuna's Central Plaza

Church bordering the Central Plaza

Some of the shopping and hotels surrouding La Fortuna's Central Plaza

My sister (Lisa) in La Fortuna's Central Plaza with the view of Arenal Volcano behind her

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