La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Last updated on May 28, 2023
la fortuna costa rica

Alright folks, let me tell you about La Fortuna – the land of hot springs, volcanoes, and a slower pace of life. It’s a hidden gem tucked away about three hours northwest of the bustling capital of San José, in the heart of Costa Rica’s Arenal region.

Sure, it’s been a mecca for eco-minded tourists for years, with its bountiful wildlife, jungle hikes, and water sports, but it’s also attracted a growing number of expats seeking a quieter, more serene way of life. And let me tell you, they’ve found it.

The majority of expats in the Arenal region reside around the 33-square-mile Lake Arenal, nestled amid an unspoiled shoreline, verdant fields, and forested hills. It’s a peaceful haven with eco-lodges, B&Bs, and boutique hotels dotting the landscape.

The villages and settlements are few and far between, with Nuevo Arenal being the most well-equipped with all the daily necessities like gas stations, banks, pharmacies, and grocery stores. It’s perfect for those who don’t want to travel too far for their daily fix.

For those on the opposite shore, Tronadora and San Luis are small and simple, but offer affordable housing with tidy, spotless homes. Tilarán, about 20 minutes inland from Tronadora, is the larger town with more medical care and larger stores.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – what about medical emergencies? Shopping malls? Airports? Don’t worry folks, they’re just a short drive away. If you live on the northern and eastern sides of the lake, your best bet is to head to San José and its suburbs. If you’re on the other side, near Tilarán or Tronadora, follow the lead of expats there and head to Liberia. It’s only about two hours away.

But let’s not forget about the natural wonders of this region. The nearby active Arenal volcano is a spectacular sight, with its cone rising 5,479 feet out of forest and farmland. And the thermal hot springs that abound in the area? Talk about heavenly. They’re naturally heated by volcanic activity and have temperatures ranging from 90 F to 110 F, making for the perfect way to soothe those sore muscles after a long day of trekking or traveling.

There are plenty of hot springs to choose from, ranging from deluxe locations with attached spas (most feature volcano mud treatments) to more budget-friendly facilities favored by locals. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not take a dip in the waters that are said to have medicinal properties and alleviate arthritis, certain heart conditions, and other ailments?

Getting to the shores of the lake from La Fortuna takes about 30 minutes, but trust me, it’s worth it. Midway along the northern shore lies Nuevo Arenal, a popular village with visitors and expats alike. Make sure to stop at the cafes, artisan galleries, and restaurants you’ll pass along the curvy lakeshore road.

And let’s not forget about La Fortuna itself. It’s the largest town in the region and offers all the amenities and services you could need. There are top-notch medical and dental clinics, grocery stores, markets, banks, and gourmet restaurants. It’s also a hub for tour companies that offer a range of adventures in the area, from ziplining and whitewater rafting to jungle trekking and wildlife watching.

So there you have it folks, La Fortuna – the perfect place to live if you want to slow down, take a deep breath, and enjoy the simple things in life.