Travel to La Fortuna

La Fortuna Travel Blog

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Our plane

Brenda and I stepped outside this morning, sat down and about six feet away to our right was a white faced monkey just sitting there watching us.  We were quickly paranoid that they may be after our breakfast while the neighbors began pouring out of their rooms with cameras and fruit.  As we stepped back we could see there had to be about 15 monkeys in the surrounding trees.  Lucky for us they were only interested in knocking their own fruit and some coconuts out of the trees. 

                Our plane was scheduled to leave at 10:45 for La Fortuna so we took it easy that morning.

View over Quepos and Manuel Antonio.
  The hotel called us a cab that took us on the 10 minute drive to the airport.  This is where the surprise expenses began.  Upon arrival we were charged $2 each to enter the airport.  It was blocked by a gate and after entering we checked in, weighed our check baggage and weighed ourselves with our carry-on.  I don’t know what the max would’ve been but we made the cut and I was just under 200 lbs with the bag.  Check baggage could be no more than 30 lbs and we were both 27lbs.  Perfect.

                The rest of the airport consisted of about six round tables, a snack bar and information table.  We were able to sit with another couple from Illinois who were able to tell us all about their terrifying plane ride from San Jose to Quepos in the middle of a storm.

Smaller airport in San Jose.
  But we will have a sunny day for travel so we were feeling optimistic. 

                We had about 12 people in our plane out of 15 seats.  It was a two prop plane so with a small plane like that we will feel every little movement in the plane.  So as we took off and met some turbulence in some thunderhead clouds I had to laugh quietly as every couple in the plane was holding hands out of some kind of fear, including us.  (My wife’s statement after the trip is that she never prayed so much for her own safety than when flying and riding in cars in Costa Rica). 

                The trip was quick, we has a “layover” in San Jose.

Enjoying our seats behind the pilot.
  The trip there took about 25 minutes, we had to get off the plane, walk across the entire airport (maybe 150 ft), show our passport twice and board another plane that was literally side by side with the plane we just got off.  So we figure the purpose of the stop was to give the customs agent something to do (and drop off 3 people).

                The trip to La Fortuna was similar, only 25 minutes in the air.  It was a nice change flying on these airplanes from traveling in the states because while we are often delayed, both of these planes left 10 minutes early because everyone was there.  Once we arrive in La Fortuna we are greeted with another service charge of $7 per person because of using the airport.  The one nice thing was that the desk workers in Quepos called ahead so we had a taxi waiting for us at the airport in La Fortuna.

Waterfall shower on the right Saweet!
  He charged us $20 to get to our hotel which was a little bit of a drive, but there were other people traveling on hotel shuttles for free, or a lower cost.  But we did have a nice driver who pointed out many things for us and answered any questions that we had.  The airport, for example was surrounded by papaya and pineapple plantations, which I would not have been able to identify.  Also, he pointed out where the grocery store was in La Fortuna, the church and the center of town and where to find taxis during our stay. 

                When we arrived at Mountain Paradise hotel I screwed up.  They asked if we were on our honeymoon and I said “no.

  Damn honesty getting in the way again!  Their response then was that our room was not quite ready, because they had prepared a free one night upgrade for us possibly with Champaign.  So we sat in the lobby sipping on our fresh complimentary papaya fruit juice while Brenda let me know how I screwed up.  But it turns out we will still had the nicest room we had ever stayed in.

                When given a tour of our “Junior Suite” we were amazed.  We had a King size bed, Plasma TV, remote control lights, AC, Docking station for the i-pod, wireless internet, full size bed, lanai with hot tub, rocking chairs, fresh fruit, towels folded as swans, and in the bathroom a regular shower plus WATERFALL SHOWER, Sweet!  (Waterfall showers are grate for doing laundry J ) Outside the porch/lanai we had a view of Arenal Volcano and bushes blocking the view to other rooms so we felt very private.

Hot pool.
  However over the next few days we will find some negatives, like the food is hit or miss, tours are expensive and the bus to take you places is always late so you lose time on the activities you paid good money for. 

                We began our stay visiting the pool, which had a swim up bar and the water felt like it was 100 degrees.  They had the main pool plus two other pools with waterfalls that were great, unless you were like me and already had sunburn, which made the pool experience a little more painful.  While chilling at the pool we got our first good look at the volcano.  The clouds cleared up and we could see the steam seeping out of the peak.  Then a big puff of ash which was followed by a loud rumble that sounded like Mt.

View of San Jose from the air.
Sinai with Moses in the movie The Ten Commandments.

                We went to dinner at the restaurant that night because we were told we would get a free “lava viewing tour.”  The food was very expensive.  Brenda got chicken lasagna for $18 (tasted like play-dough) while I got a $20 penne pasta with seafood (very good).  The pasta had shrimp, shellfish, calamari, clams and octopus.

                We got to the lobby for our 7:30 tour to see lava at the volcano (boarded about 7:40) and enjoyed the 20 min. ride getting to know the other travelers.  When we arrived the viewing area was very busy as all hotels in the area seem to take their guests out to see lava when it comes out of the volcano.

Arenal Volcano is getting grumpy making some noise.
  Of course we are expecting the iconic image of explosive lava shooting out, which might have been too optimistic.  As we stood staring at the dark sky and silhouette of the volcano we would see what looked like three large drops of bright red followed by a thunder sound and then we would watch these drops slide down the mountain, sometimes splitting, disappearing and then reappearing a bit lower.  Not exactly what we had in mind but still more lava than I’ve ever seen before, and trying to imagine we were a few miles away so these drops of lava from far away were actually huge collections of lava or red hot rocks the size of cars flying down the mountain side faster than I drive a car.  If you plan on pictures you need to really know how to work your camera and manual settings as nobody could get lava to show up.  After enjoying the show and noticing a few bats flying around our drivers wanted to go back.
Ash at sunset
  I could have stayed all night but I looked at the clock and saw it was 9:00 and we were out there much longer than I thought, so we went back and turned in for the night.

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Our plane
Our plane
View over Quepos and Manuel Antoni…
View over Quepos and Manuel Anton…
Smaller airport in San Jose.
Smaller airport in San Jose.
Enjoying our seats behind the pilo…
Enjoying our seats behind the pil…
Waterfall shower on the right Sawe…
Waterfall shower on the right Saw…
Hot pool.
Hot pool.
View of San Jose from the air.
View of San Jose from the air.
Arenal Volcano is getting grumpy m…
Arenal Volcano is getting grumpy …
Ash at sunset
Ash at sunset
Nature Air check in at airport.
Nature Air check in at airport.
Our runway
Our runway
There goes our luggage to our plane
There goes our luggage to our plane
Palm plantation near Quepos
Palm plantation near Quepos
Our plane in San Jose
Our plane in San Jose
Cramped in the plane right behind …
Cramped in the plane right behind…
Preparing to land in La Fortuna.
Preparing to land in La Fortuna.
Our suite
Our suite
Romantic setting in our room.
Romantic setting in our room.
A view of our room at Mountain Par…
A view of our room at Mountain Pa…
Hot water pool, scared for my sun …
Hot water pool, scared for my sun…
Brenda and I chillin by the pool
Brenda and I chillin by the pool
swim up bar.
swim up bar.
Arenal Volcano from the pool.
Arenal Volcano from the pool.
Flowers around the pool
Flowers around the pool
Humminbird at the pool
Humminbird at the pool
Hummingbird outside our room
Hummingbird outside our room
The good meal.
The good meal.
La Fortuna Hotels & Accommodations review
Affordable luxury with volcano view
Hotel Paradise could be the nicest hotel my wife and I have ever stayed in, however be ready for the extra prices for activities which are high for co… read entire review
La Fortuna
photo by: jeannajumps