No trip to Costa Rica would be complete without a visit to the Arenal Volcano. Active since 1968, the volcano is now dormant, but it still makes for an impressive and imposing view across the landscape. Activity abounds in the area surrounding the volcano, ensuring that a trip here will never be boring. What’s more, the volcano’s base is stippled with a handful of thermal hot springs, providing visitors with a sensuous way to relax. To reach the beauty and excitement in Arenal you’ll have to get from Monteverde to La Fortuna — the actual town that serves as the entryway to the Arenal Volcano region.
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An important note about driving from Monteverde to La Fortuna.
Renting a 4x4 car is one way to get to from Monteverde to La Fortuna. If you drive yourself, you will specifically need the previously mentioned 4x4, because cars without 4-wheel drive are not recommended due to the bumpy, pothole-filled roads along the route. However, considering both the cost of driving and the difficulty of navigating Costa Rica’s signless roads, we recommend using a combination of shuttle buses, taxis, boats, or tours to get to Arenal. The following directions offer you some of the best options for getting from Monteverde to La Fortuna, and of course, getting from La Fortuna to Monteverde.
Car: It’s 85 miles (136 km) from Monteverde to La Fortuna. Due to the mountainous terrain, there is no direct route. The road from Monteverde to La Fortuna detours by Tilarán and then continues on to La Fortuna. The initial segment of the drive — from Monteverde to Tilarán — is along a road that is in poor condition. This portion of the road is not paved and is quite uneven. The final part of the drive — from Tilarán to La Fortuna — is along a nicely paved road. Still, a 4x4 is recommended, especially during the rainy season when the road gets washed out with water.
With a 4x4 car, it takes about 3 hours to make the trip. In a non-4x4, it will take around four hours. It is, however, not possible to make the trip in a car without four-wheel drive during the peak of the rainy season — in October and November — because the road is typically in such bad condition. A taxi ride from Monteverde to La Fortuna for four people costs around $130. If you choose to take a taxi, make sure that it has four-wheel drive.
Public Bus: The public bus is another way that you can reach La Fortuna from Monteverde, or Monteverde from La Fortuna. However, it does take upwards of nine hours to do so.
From Monteverde to La Fortuna: Take the 7:00 AM bus to Tilarán. From Tilarán, take the 12:30 PM bus to La Fortuna. This will get you to La Fortuna at 3:00 PM.
From La Fortuna to Monteverde: Take the 8:00 AM bus to Tilarán. From Tilarán, take the 12:30 PM bus to Monteverde. This will get you to Monteverde around 3:00 PM.
This mode of transportation involves taking two taxi rides and one boat trip across Lake Arenal. This is a quick and scenic three-hour trip that can go either way between the destinations. The first leg of the journey — from Monteverde to Lake Arenal — is a 1.5-hour drive. You then board a comfortably equipped boat and cross the lake in 40 minutes. Finally, you will be taxied to La Fortuna, which takes about 30 minutes. We can also arrange for a special later departure.
The name says it all. This trip includes two taxis, a horseback ride and boat trip. Travel between the destinations on horseback is exciting and allows for fantastic views of the surrounding area. This trip leaves at 8:00 AM. Generally it is done in a small group (2 to 6 people) with the company of an experienced guide. No experience is necessary, so learn more about this option and book your excursion.
Get a better sense of why it takes so long to visit Arenal Volcano with this Arenal Volcano Region map.
Getting from Monteverde to La Fortuna, or from La Fortuna to Monteverde is certainly more than a 20 minute drive. Additionally, the region’s terrain is not welcoming for those who are only accustomed to well-maintained roads. This is one of the reasons why professional transportation is recommended for certain destinations in Costa Rica. With proper planning you can actually enjoy the process of getting from Monteverde to La Fortuna, or from La Fortuna to Monteverde, so why not make the voyage part of the adventure?
If you have more questions about getting around Costa Rica during your vacation, then give us a call at +1-888-830-6074 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org - our local travel consultants know the lay of the land.
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