Arenal National Park just over 2.5 hours from San José, with plenty of interesting stop-off points along the way. La Fortuna town itself sits beneath a volcano with breathtaking views, natural wonders, and a variety of restaurants. With budget and luxury hotels, outdoor activities such as waterfall rappelling, hiking, horseback riding, and zip-lining, it’s the perfect place to enjoy everything this incredible country has to offer. Get ready for an adventure, here are our tips on how to get from San José to La Fortuna.
Driving from San José to La Fortuna
It’s relatively easy to travel from San José to La Fortuna by car. There’s a choice of traveling via the Inter-American highway – the shortest route, or you can drive along Route 702 – a winding road punctuated with beautiful scenery of hills, pastures and charming towns. Driving Route 702 can be quite challenging, especially in the dark as many roads have no lights, therefore rendering signposts hard to read. If driving to La Fortuna after a late flight into San José, it’s wise to stick to the highway. Daytime drivers should stop off at Sarchi to admire the craftsmanship of traditional hand-painted oxcarts lining the streets or break for lunch in laid-back San Ramón with its quirky art studios, produce markets and museums.
Shuttle from San José to La Fortuna
There are several reputable companies offering private and shared shuttle transfers from San José city or airport to La Fortuna. If you don’t mind sharing your journey with like-minded travelers it can cut your travel price by over half. Alternatively, if you prefer a more relaxed trip, book the shuttle and driver all for yourself. This method of transport can be pre-booked via your hotel at least 24 hours in advance or you can book online prior to arrival in Costa Rica. Transit time is around the same as driving to La Fortuna, plus you don’t have the hassle of navigating unfamiliar roads yourself.
Bus from San José to La Fortuna
An affordable way to reach La Fortuna from San José is via public transportation. A few buses operate every morning – from 06:30 am until just before midday. Although the journey takes a good 4 to 5 hours, you will only spend $5-10 USD on a one-way ticket. Buses depart in downtown San José from Terminal 7-10 bus station or if you are travelling directly from the airport, take a short taxi ride to Alajuela and jump on a bus from there. It’s worth noting, depending on which time of year in which you are traveling, many Costa Rican buses don’t offer air conditioning, therefore it’s wise to arrive early to gain a window seat. Bus tickets can be purchased directly from the bus station. Arrive 30-45 minutes prior to your departure in case there are queues at the ticket office.
Flying from San José to La Fortuna
If you’re venturing to Costa Rica from international shores you cannot fly directly to La Fortuna. However, frequent domestic flights from San José International Airport can connect you to your destination in 30 minutes for a reasonable one-way price. If you don’t mind spending a little extra and wish to experience the jet-set lifestyle, consider chartering your own flight from San José to La Fortuna and have the aircraft all to yourselves! Flying to La Fortuna is also a great option if you only have a day to spare or have little time to spend in Costa Rica on a tour of Central America.