Costa Rica- a tropical and beautifully diverse land that nature lovers will fall in love with. It’s a common misconception that Costa Rica is cheap! In fact- the cost of food & living is comparable to the USA & Canada. We had heard before coming that it is affordable but if you’re a tourist and want to do a lot of local activities, the price can add up quickly. We were in La Fortuna for 4 days and managed to see a lot without breaking the bank. Here are our tips for budget friendly activities in La Fortuna!
Visit Mistico Hanging Bridges Park
This park has beautiful hanging bridges with stunning views of Arenal Volcano. The trail also has a waterfall and is buzzing alive with wildlife.
TIPS: You must book ahead of time before showing up. So if you are planning your holiday it’s best to book well in advance especially if you are going in peak season. You can pre book here. Cost is $26USD each without a guide. Wear closed in walking shoes and bring insect repellant. No food is allowed along the walk.
Do a nature spotting walk at Bogarin Trail
This is the hidden trail not off the main strip in Costa Rica. The “Sloth walking tours” you see on the main highway actually use part of this trail. So when you visit the Bogarin Trail you get the full experience (not just half the trail) with amazing guides! The protected land was once cow pasture 20 years ago and has now been regenerated into a wildlife reserve. This experience is a little more pricey as it is only worth doing with a guide. The guide will bring his amazing telescope to show you the sloths in the tree as well as point out frogs, birds & give so much insight into Costa Rica!
TIPS: You can rock up anytime and wander around the trail for $15 each, but as mentioned we highly recommend getting a guide! Guided tours starts at 6:00 am, 9:00 am, 12:00, 3:00, 4:30 & 6:00 pm. The guided tours are $35 each. For more information on the trail and updated tour times visit their website. If you want to see toucans it’s best to come in the morning or around 4pm. Wear closed in shoes and bring a water bottle, insect repellant and of course your camera!
Hike around the lava fields at the Arenal 1968 Trail
in 1968 an unsuspecting mountain blew the top off to become Arenal Volcano! The lava that flowed is now turning back into jungle and there is a nice hiking trail you can do to see the lava rocks well as the volcano and all the wildlife.
TIPS: Wear closed in shoes and be prepared for a 2-3 hour hike with some hills and rocky parts. Without a guide the walk is $16 each and with a guide it’s $40.
Take a splash in the hot springs at Kalambu Hot Springs Water Park
Who doesn’t want to bathe in some natural hot springs? Except when you research you realise a lot of them cost anywhere from $40-$80 each! After a little bit of online searching, we found this gold mine- a hot spring water park! This water park has hot springs, waterslides & pools and best of all- only $20 each!
TIPS: Bring a towel, your bathers & waterproof camera if you want to get some photos in the hot spring pool. We went on a weekday so it wasn’t too busy. There a lockers on site which can be hired for 2000 colones/$4 (refunded when you return the key!).
Admire the power of the La Fortuna Waterfall
This gorgeous waterfall is super close to the centre of La Fortuna and quite a sight to see! The water is a beautiful blue hue surrounded by lush greenery.
TIPS: This place can get super busy, so if you want to enjoy it all to yourself get there early! It opens at 7am so we were sure to get there and wait at the gate. We had it to ourselves for about 15 minutes before people started arriving. There are 500 steps down and back up so wear proper footwear. It costs $18 each to enter (recent price increase due to a new tax on the 1st July)
Have you been to Costa Rica? We loved our time here and would definitely come back! We hope you enjoyed our budget friendly tips!
Happy travels <3