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La Fortuna Waterfall is a 0.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near San Carlos, Alajuela, Costa Rica that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

Distance: 0.6 miles Elevation Gain: 157 feet Route Type: Out & Back

kid friendly




partially paved




There is a fee to enter this area.

18 days ago

Very easy. Would recommend to all ages (as long as you are in decent physical health). Well maintained and popular trail - expect crowds of friendly strangers

21 days ago

This trail was BEAUTIFUL! It was a great way to spend time with your family. My suggestion is, if you have a baby, bring something to put them in for the hike up and down.

30 days ago

Trail is short and all stairs down- it’s worth swimming down there in the fall base. The water is refreshing

Go swimming beneath the falls. DO IT!

2 months ago

The waterfall is stunning! The amount of water falling over the cliff side was enough to dampen people sitting on the rocks. The “hike” was a straight up and down staircase. Many sitting opportunities and even water in between sets of stairs.

2 months ago

Entrance fee is $18 and worth it, I’d say! I went with my parents (in their late fifties), sister, aunt and uncle. It is a long stairway down to the waterfall to two main swimming areas, one right next to the waterfall and one around the bend. Views were fantastic, water was a bit cold but you get used to it after a few moments, and rocks were slippery. I recommend water shoes. The park also had a clean changing area, an orchid trail, and a butterfly path. Not many orchids were blooming when we were there (january), but we saw quite a few butterflies, including one with translucent wings!

3 months ago

Es un lugar lleno de naturaleza, y con un paisaje increíble al final del sendero vas a tener un lugar maravilloso para nadar en un río de agua super limpia.

3 months ago

Beware, the entrance fee is 18$.

4 months ago

Amazing trail: 500 steps to go down and then back up. Crazy view and you can swim in the waterfall!

6 months ago

We hiked here in February. There are a lot of steps. Going down wasn’t so bad, but coming up.... We hiked Cerro Chato the day before, so my legs had enough for two days after this! The water was cold, but the waterfall & scenery was so worth it!! A must do in the area!

7 months ago

Beautiful hike! Loved it!

8 months ago

It’s 500 steps down to the waterfall and back up again but I highly recommend it. An absolutely stunning waterfall and one of the highlights of our Costa Rica trip. Take your time, there’s resting stops along the way. Enjoy the amazing sound and mist of the waterfall at the bottom.

9 months ago

Beautiful. I couldn’t stop looking around. I barely spoke to my friends. It was pretty crowded but everyone respected space for pictures and kept it moving!

over grown
10 months ago

Superbe, l’eau de la rivière est limpide ou peut voir les poissons et se baigner. Beaucoup de marches mais ça vaut la peine pour voir la cascade et toute sa puissance.

10 months ago

STAIRS. Well shaded. Access to swim in the waterfall.

Wed Mar 20 2019

Less of a hike and more step challenge. There are 500 steps down and then back up again, don't let this discourage you because it's a beautiful waterfall. We also went through the butterfly area and orchid garden although there wasn't alot of the flowers out. You can choose to go swimming should the mood take you. I enjoyed it. Be aware that it is warm and humid but there are a few seats on the way back up should you need them. It cost $18 to get in and was worth every penny

washed out
Mon Feb 25 2019

Impressive horsetail waterfall flowing over basalt columns and a carpet of moss. Loved having the opportunity to swim at the bottom. Heavy rain required us to leave the pool after a quick swim, but also kept most of the crowds away. The steps are in good condition and the orchid section makes for a nice stroll. Given the rarity of orchid blooms it was that much more impressive to encounter the occasional flower... on a tree stump (no less) and not in a pot of wood chips! $15 per person can add up for families, but I didn’t mind paying the tourist premium for myself and everything is very well maintained.

private property
Tue Feb 19 2019

Las gradas estan en muy buen estado, salvo pequeños tramos, hay espacio para descansar, espectacular la vista y la catarata

Sat Jan 12 2019

Such a wonderful experience.

Thu Jan 10 2019

Beautiful waterfall and a nice place to take a dip in the water! Stairs have all been replaced since the last time I was there. Much nicer and easier to climb up and down the stairs now.

Mon Jan 07 2019

Beautiful waterfall. Easy paved walk on stairs. Nice for a quick and easy adventure. Bring a suit to swim at the bottom!

Sun Jan 06 2019

The waterfall itself is a majestic sight. If you are into waterfalls this is a good stop and people can dip in the plunge pool. Apparently there are lifeguards who will prevent swimmers from getting too close to the fall itself. But from a hiking / nature viewing perspective this is a rather boring place. Travel is confined to the 500+ stairs down. Very little space at the bottom. It seems all tourists to Costa Rica are at the bottom simultaneously! Other than some fish in the stream no wildlife was seems.

nature trips
Mon Dec 10 2018

Cost 15 dollars, pretty but not worth it. 500 steps down, 500 steps up nothing else to do...no flowers in the orchid garden were in bloom. In high season with warm weather, tiny swimming area just down from the falls would have been too packed to move. The waterfall is nice, but not spectacular and not for that price.

Fri Dec 07 2018

Gorgeous waterfall! Took the stairs down and back up once ready. Man made straight forward trail - there are about 500 stairs down to the falls (ballpark, or so I was told). No guide needed. It is highly trafficked. When I went there were a lot of people there.

Sat Oct 20 2018

Good trial, beautiful views, but expensive

Sat Oct 06 2018

really beautiful quick hike

Sun Jul 22 2018

Great swimming spot at the bottom. Very touristy but gorgeous. Beware, If there is a flash flood warning, they will have you get out of the water and move to the observation deck.

Sat Jul 21 2018

Many stairs, lots of wildlife (saw toucans and monkeys) and a very nice waterfall. Price is OK.

Wed Jun 06 2018

Awesome awesome waterfall amazing views excellent little hike up and down not too difficult but a little bit challenging on the way back Water is beautiful the price is OK and people are fantastic highly recommend

Mon May 14 2018

Super easy, man made trail, no guide is needed. The waterfall is breathtaking and extremely strong.

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