The bustling and charming town of La Fortuna sits just 4 miles (6.4 km) away from the Arenal Volcano. The town is an entrance point for the main road connecting the Arenal region, Lake Arenal, and the road to Guanacaste. On a clear day, the majestic volcano looms over this peaceful town.
The histories of La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano have long been intertwined. When Arenal Volcano violently erupted on the morning of July 29th, 1968, it spewed ash, rocks and gas for 3 consecutive days. When the smoke cleared, the villages of Tabacon, Pueblo Nuevo, and San Luis were buried under debris. 87 people had lost their lives. Out of this catastrophic tragedy, La Fortuna (The Fortune) was born as the town center and village for the Arenal Volcano area.
La Fortuna is situated 16 miles (26 km) from Ciudad Quesada and 75 miles (120 km) from San Jose. The drive from San Jose is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. However, there are a few convenient side trips, to Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens, that are worth exploring if you have time. Within La Fortuna, there are many hotels to choose from. These hotels offer a convient location next to restaurants, Internet cafes, and the town center. Outside of La Fortuna, hotels in the surrounding Arenal Volcano area are more expensive, but they offer great volcano views and more amenities than those near the town center.The La Fortuna and Arenal area offers many activities including horseback riding, whitewater rafting, waterfall rappelling, hiking, canopy tours, cave explorations, and more. Relax at La Fortuna Waterfall or at the area's various hot springs. La Fortuna and Arenal are the adventure centers of Costa Rica, and it is difficult to have the full experience in less than 3 days.