Tips on Visiting Costa Rica: La Fortuna & Arenal Volcano

January 18, 2018

I cannot believe it’s been over a month since I’ve been back from Costa Rica. It felt like yesterday that I was just sitting in a beautiful swim up bar overlooking the lush forest staring straight at Arenal Volcano. These moments felt like a piece of paradise. Tom and I decided to take a trip someplace we had not been together, and since he knew I fell in love with adventure activities while solo travelling back in Thailand in 2010, he suggested Costa Rica. We booked a flight into San José and stayed for almost 2 weeks, so I thought I’d share a basic guide to Costa Rica for anyone planning to visit.On our first morning in San José we went to Tom’s favourite coffee beanery and took a drive straight through Cloud Forest – one of Costa Rica’s rainforests. You really are basically driving through clouds because it’s incredibly foggy. You see animals left and right and lose all reception on your cell phone. The drive is beautifully scenic and you immediately feel like you’re away from the madness of the metropolitan city. Nestled between Monteverde Cloud Forest and Arenal Volcano is beautiful, La Fortuna. The plan for this trip was to take advantage of the hot springs. I loved making regular trips to natural hot springs in Japan, so we were so thrilled to be experiencing all that relaxation for days.


The Volcano Lodge and Springs is very laid back. During our stay here we went on a few adventure tours: one was a horseback riding tour to the waterfall and the other was the fastest zipline in Costa Rica, also one of the highest. The views from the zipline were spectacular, and it was definitely the fastest I’d been on. I was breathless each and every time I left the platform flying through the air. Hundreds of feet above the trees with views of the beautiful blue water and volcano are truly unforgettable. Tom had been here years ago and wanted to dine together here, so we took in the view over a nice meal after our adventures.

We spent some days at The Springs Resort which was seen on Bachelor and The Kardashians. The resort is enormous, has various hot springs with varying temperatures and a few swim up bars. The Springs Resort has private villas, its own animal sanctuary with sloths, and the views from the main building were beautiful. I really enjoyed the drinks and food at the swim up bar so much and shared the view and experience over instastories.

During our time in Costa Rica, there were a few things I wish I had known prior to arriving. While you plan for your own trip to this gorgeous South American country, I thought I’d share a few basics that I wish other websites had noted!

Things to Know Before Visiting La Fortuna & Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica
1) If you do not plan on staying at the hotel or resort, rent your own vehicle. It’s not expensive to get to Costa Rica, but it’s not a cheap destination. Cabs get really expensive and Uber doesn’t really exist outside of the large cities.
2) There are some amazing restaurants, but when you look for top restaurants online, they often leave out the hotels and consider them an entirely different category. A great source for amazing food is here, and if you don’t mind having a quiet and delicious dinner, book a dinner at Volcano Lodge and Springs. The food was better here than the top restaurants we found on Tripadvisor in La Fortuna.
3) If you’re on a tighter budget, you will find you can pay for day passes at hot springs. Some are more expensive than others, so if you have a specific hot spring you want to visit, check the cost of a day pass first. On days that we did tours, didn’t think it was worth it as much to splurge on the most luxurious hotel in the area, but on days we spent the entire day at the springs, the splurge made more sense. I have no regrets whatsoever though. The natural springs are so beautiful, especially at both Volcano Lodge and Springs and The Springs Resort.
4) If you go to La Fortuna, one of the most popular areas for adventure tours and volcano springs, the beach will be over 6 hours away. Plan accordingly.
5) Hanging bridges all cost money, and some areas charge per vehicle. Better to go with a group if you travel with friends.
6) You can rent a Go-Pro for your ziplining tours. The one I went on charges $40, but you can also bring your own.
7) Save time to dine at the restaurant where you’ll find the fastest zipline at Sky Adventures. You don’t have to go ziplining to dine here, but both the views at the restaurant, the tram ride up, the views throughout the zipline are all absolutely breathtaking.
8) It will rain on and off all the time in Costa Rica because you are afterall near rainforests. It’s basically humid and rainy season all the time but the rainfall is often short and in spurts.
9) Having stayed in dozens of hostels back in 2009 to 2012, I always find the best tour prices there. You can compare prices around all the tour operators, but we found best prices at a hostel in La Fortuna. There is room for negotiation to most tour operators, especially if you book more than one tour.

If you are looking to book AirBNB for your first time, use the link I have to get $40 off your first booking. And, if you’re planning to uber around for a bit, get a discount on your first ride using this here.

If you have visited or plan to visit this beautiful destination, let me know below. If you have your own tips I’d love to hear! I will eventually go back, and I’m sure the readers here would love them as well. If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below! I hope you all have some amazing trips planned!

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73 Comments

  • Reply Olivia Poncelet January 18, 2018 at 4:38 am

    OMG it looks like paradise!!!! Nice pics too 😉
    Have a wonderful day !
    Olivia Poncelet <3
    http://www.oliviaponcelet.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:10 am

      It’s a beautiful spot. Thanks so much!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Esther January 18, 2018 at 6:13 am

    After all these beautiful pictures I feel like packing my bags and enjoy some vacation.
    What a beautiful place.

    Love, Esther
    https://lifestyle-tale.com/teddy-coat/

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:10 am

      I hope you do go somewhere beautiful soon! Thanks so much Esther!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Sharan January 18, 2018 at 10:33 am

    This is such a beautiful post!! Thanks for sharing these tips. I’d love to visit Costa Rica!

    asplashofsharan.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:11 am

      Glad you enjoyed it and hope you go for a visit. It’s so beautiful!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Nina January 18, 2018 at 10:59 am

    SO beautiufl pictures. I would love to visit that place.

    Nina’s Style Blog

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:17 am

      Thanks so much Nina! I hope you do too. You’d love it. There’s so much beauty, and plenty of things to do!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Lesley Kim January 18, 2018 at 11:23 am

    Stunning photos!!

    Lesley Kim

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:24 am

      Thanks!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply THE LALA LOOKBOOK January 18, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Your pictures are stunning!

    THE LALA LOOKBOOK
    http://www.thelalalookbook.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:29 am

      It is!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply sharon wu January 19, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Can you please take me with you on your vacations Miki? You’re so lucky to have been able to see such gorgeous sights in your life time. I hope to make my way to Costa Rica one of these days. I love that dress on you — looks comfortable yet stylish as you always are 🙂 Hope this week has been treating you well babe! xo, sharon

    http://www.stylelullaby.com/fashion/bundled-up-in-shearling/

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:30 am

      You have the luggage girl. Come any time! 🙂 You’d love Costa Rica. It’s such a beautiful destination. I hope you go for a visit soon!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Simplement Lui January 19, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Fantastic pictures! Thanks for sharing 😉

    https://4highheelsfans.wordpress.com/2018/01/19/king-of-the-heels/

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:30 am

      Thanks so much!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Sandra January 19, 2018 at 6:13 am

    It looks like places I’ve seen in movies 🙂 Such a great post! I would love to visit Costa Rica .
    https://sensetheplace.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Thanks so much Sandra. I hope you go for a visit soon. It’s still quite affordable to fly from various locations. 🙂

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Lovely January 19, 2018 at 6:21 am

    What a stunning place Miki, the pictures are just beautiful! Your truly Lovely

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:44 am

      Thanks so much Lovely! Have a great week!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Tina January 19, 2018 at 7:38 am

    Wow definitely need to put this on my bucketlist – looks like Paradise!!

    Such great photos babe ♥

    xxx
    Tina

    https://styleappetite.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:44 am

      It really is. Such a pretty place. 🙂 Thanks!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Elegant Duchess January 20, 2018 at 8:52 am

    ahhh what a beautiful place, I have always wanted to visit Costa Rica and now seeing your photos even more! xx

    http://www.elegantduchess.com/2018/01/18/6-hours-in-london/

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:45 am

      I hope you visit soon! You’d love it so much. 🙂 Thanks so much!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Siree January 20, 2018 at 9:57 pm

    Wow Costa Rica is such a beautiful paradise!
    Thanks for the travel tips Miki 🙂

    Xx
    Siree
    http://www.thehiddenthimble.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 10:53 am

      Thanks so much Siree! 🙂 Have a wonderful week!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Yasmin January 21, 2018 at 8:47 pm

    Wow I have always wanted to visit Costa Rica and zip line, but these gorgeous photos show it’s a great spot for r&r too.

    xx Yasmin
    http://banglesandbungalows.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:01 am

      The best of both worlds, really. 🙂 I hope you visit soon! Thanks Yasmin!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply yuka January 22, 2018 at 3:32 am

    you always go to the best places!! I love your travel photos!

    ww.prettyinleather.net

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:02 am

      Thanks babe! 🙂

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply jasna January 22, 2018 at 9:05 am

    This looks like paradise babe 🙂 xx

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Thanks! It felt like it

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Eva-Maria January 22, 2018 at 10:49 am

    it looks so dreamy!

    http://www.evakapsta.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Costa Rica is stunning. Thanks!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply ANGELEBABY January 22, 2018 at 5:18 pm

    omg this is such a dream!
    xx
    http://www.angelebaby.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:19 am

      Thanks babe!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Alexandra January 23, 2018 at 1:15 am

    You are so cute !
    it’s such a great story.

    Cheers,
    Alex
    Trend Retro Hairstyle Ideas

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Thanks so much Alexandra!!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Anika May January 23, 2018 at 5:55 am

    Amazing photos! Great travel tips too 🙂

    Anika | anikamay.co.uk

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:41 am

      Thanks Anika!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Irina January 23, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Your dress is so cute!!

    irinathayer.com

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Thanks so much!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Hillory January 23, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I would love love love to visit Costa Rica some day. All of your photos look so lush and tropical!

    xo,

    H

    http://firsttimethings.com/

    • Reply miki February 5, 2018 at 11:45 am

      You should. It’s such a pretty destination. 🙂 I hope you go!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Jessica January 24, 2018 at 8:22 am

    Wow, this place is gorgeous, and your photos really captured it dear. Really beautiful. Nicely done!

    Jessica | notjessfashion.com

  • Reply Olga January 24, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    That dress looks amazing!Lovely photos:-)

    http://www.lostindaydreams.com/

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      Thanks so much Olga! 🙂 Have an amazing week darling.

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Irena January 24, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Beautiful pictures!Beautiful blog!

    Irena Novákoá I The Gown
    http://www.shop-it.cz

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 6:19 pm

      Thanks so much Irena!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply FASHION TALES January 24, 2018 at 4:15 pm

    Your vibrant outfit is so fitting for a rainforest shoot–Costa Rica is such a beautiful place. My brother and sis-in-law just came back from there again. I love the coffee there! <3 /Madison

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      The coffee is so good! 🙂 I hope you go for a visit soon. Your brother would probably give you amazing tips too. 🙂 Thanks so much Madison! Have a great week.

      Xo,
      Miki
      http://mikialamode.com

  • Reply Rubi January 24, 2018 at 6:02 pm

    Wow looks absolutely stunning babe, loving your vacay outfits too!
    x Rubi
    Pose & Repeat

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      Thanks so much Rubi!! 🙂 Have a great week!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Gil Zetbase January 25, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Fantastic shooting!
    Have a nice end of the week!
    Gil Zetbase

  • Reply Atsuna January 26, 2018 at 1:38 am

    You look so beautiful in this print here babe!! Looks like such a beautiful location to be also. Making me wanting to travel again soon.

    BLOG | YOUTUBE | INSTAGRAM

  • Reply Nina Nguyen January 26, 2018 at 11:07 am

    Love your dress and this place is beyond beautiful!!!
    xx- Nina

    http://www.ninalnguyen.com/2018/01/camel-coat.html

  • Reply Ashley January 27, 2018 at 6:51 am

    Wow babe!! Costa Rica sounds and look absolutely amazing. I haven’t heard or seen much of Costa Rica except for Jurassic Park!!
    Definitely on my list after reading yours!! Love all your picts!

    xxx

    Ashley

    http://www.missgunner.com

  • Reply Andreea January 30, 2018 at 11:33 am

    So jealous on your trip to Costa Rica! These photos are amazing and loved your mini dress. Wishing you a great week! xx

    Andreea,
    http://couturezilla.com/

  • Reply Tara January 30, 2018 at 11:46 am

    Your photos from travel are simply gorgeous!

  • Reply Vaishali January 30, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    Thanks for sharing the tips gal. Your dress looks pretty 🙂
    Vaishali
    http://www.vivaciouswish.com/

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 6:24 pm

      Glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks so much Vaishali!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Varuna January 31, 2018 at 11:24 am

    Nice and perfect looking outfit

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 6:43 pm

      Thanks so much Varuna!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Rachel Holliday February 2, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Costa Rica has been on my buckelist for a while and this post has made me want to visit even more! It looks absolutely incredible and I can only imagine what the views from that zipline must have been like.

    I love your dress too 🙂

    Rachel xx
    http://www.thedailyluxe.net

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 7:15 pm

      Thanks so much Rachel. I hope you go for a visit soon. It’s so beautiful and you’d absolutely love it. Thanks so much!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply Hadasah Love | Style To Love February 3, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    So awesome! Love everything about this!
    Much love, Hadasah
    http://www.styletolove.com

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 7:30 pm

      Thanks Hadasah! Have a lovely week!

      Xo,
      Miki

  • Reply dora February 4, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    I’m headed to Mexico this year, but I really want to try Costa Rica next year after reading this post. It looks so amazing
    Dora
    http://www.adropofindigo.com/

    • Reply miki February 6, 2018 at 7:28 pm

      I hope you go. It’s really beautiful. You’d definitely love it. Have a great time in Mexico!

      Xo,
      Miki
      http://mikialamode.com

  • Reply lesley kim February 6, 2018 at 2:28 pm

    I am dying to go!

    Lesley-Kim

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