In order to maximize our time in Costa Rica, Shelley and I spent only about 1 1/2 days in each city we visited. We made sure to do everything we really wanted before heading on our way to the next destination. After leaving Monteverde, we headed on our way to La Fortuna, home to the famous Arenal Volcano.
Don Olivo Chocolate Tour
This $25 tour may seem a bit steep in price for 2 hours, but with the amount of food you’re given, it’s worth the price and more! The owner of the farm walks you around sharing about the many fruit trees that grow there. These trees not only protect the cocoa trees, they serve as a good source of revenue for the owners. The best part is all of the amazing fruit and chocolate you get to eat! We tried star fruit, papaya, pineapple, bananas, and oranges right from the tree. We also pressed our own sugar cane juice, and made our very own hot chocolate from the cocoa bean we picked ourself! Tours leave at 8am, 10am, 1pm, and 3pm, and the price includes transportation to/from the farm.
Many people probably think, like we did, that you could climb the two volcanoes located in La Fortuna, Cerro Chato and Arenal. Unfortunately, though, it is illegal to climb either volcano, but you can climb around them! We paid $50 to join a tour group with a guide to walk around the volcanoes, go to the observatory, lunch, hot springs, and transportation around. Most of the other tours we saw were $75, so we thought we’d gotten ourselves a deal through our hotel (see more below). Pick-up is at 9am and though the ad claimed that it ended at 7:30, we were back at the hotel by about 5pm.
Unfortunately, I can’t recommend any specific restaurants in La Fortuna since we didn’t find any worth mentioning, but check out the note below about “Sodas”.
Pick a Soda, any Soda
What is a Soda? It’s a traditional Costa Rican restaurant that offers the standard Casado meal. What’s a Casado? You choose your meat/protein, which is served with rice, beans, fried sweet plantains, sometimes cheese, and salad. You really could pick any soda for an inexpensive Costa Rican meal..and we did many times all over the country.
La Choza Inn
This hostel helped to set up our tour and transportation to our next destination. A hot, homemade breakfast was included.
Room: private room with two beds, ensuite bathroom
La Fortuna is small enough to walk around the town itself. To get to the volcanoes or hot springs, you definitely need to use the transportation provided by the tour companies. Hotels and travel agencies can set up “taxis” for you, too.
To get to La Fortuna, our hostel in Monteverde set up the private transport we took. We got picked up in Monteverde by a mini-bus (though they called it a jeep, which maybe it is an actual jeep during other season). The road was not paved, but the views were spectacular. We got dropped off at Lake Arenal and took a boat over La Fortuna, where a bus/jeep picked us up and dropped us off at La Choza. Pick-up was at 8am, and the trip took a total of 3 hours. If you were to take public transportation, I heard it takes more like 8 hours. The cost was $25, more than the public bus of course, but shaving off 5 hours was worth it.
Day 1 – Fly to San Jose
Day 2 – San Jose, Travel to Monteverde
Day 3 – Monteverde
Day 4 – Travel to La Fortuna
Day 5 – La Fortuna
Day 6 – Travel to Tortuguero
Day 7 – Tortuguero
Day 8 – Travel to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
Day 9 – Puerto Viejo
Day 10 – Puerto Viejo
Day 11 – Travel to San Jose
Day 12 – Fly home
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