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Visiting Costa Rica: Swimming in The La Catarata Fortuna, Crocodile Watching & Heading to Quepos #GiftOfHappiness


La Catarata La Fortuna.
Swimming in the chilly waters of a natural waterfall?


During our Gift of Happiness vacation, Dara and I were able to check off another item on our bucket list. Going to Costa Rica was already checked off due to this gift but, this was one for the books. On our last day at Hotel Arenal Kioro, we headed just out-of-town and to the Catarata La Fortuna. We were absolutely stoked and excited when our tour guide Mario asked us if we wanted to go. Admission costs $10 and goes towards the conservation of the area.


Lush Greenery to An Emerald Pool.
More About the Waterfall:

La Fortuna Waterfall (Spanish for “the fortune”) is located in central Costa Rica, in the Alajuela Province. In Spanish, it is known as Catarata Fortuna. The waterfall drops about 70βˆ’75 meters and is located at the base of the dormant Chato volcano, about 5.5 km outside of the town of La Fortuna, near the Arenal Volcano. It is fed by the Tenorio River, which travels through the rain forest in the Arenal Mountain range until it plunges over the cliff, forming this waterfall. The admission is $10 USD and the hike down to the waterfall is a short, but arduous one. It should take 10 minutes to go down and about 20 to get back up to the parking lot. Open from 7:30 am to 4:00 pm.



The Journey.

We paid our admission and we headed down to the waterfall. The hike down was a bit treacherous, at least for us. It was definitely more than we are used to but, it was such an experience. I think it took us about 20 minutes to reach the bottom and we were armed with our water shoes, bathing suits and towels.

I was blown away by the sight, you look up and the natural beauty is breathtaking. We got undressed down to our bathing suits and then decided to get in. The water was so chilly and cold but, after the hike down–it was refreshing! It took a little while to get adjusted but, we went in all the way. We swam and we even had some company, there was fresh fish enjoying the water with us.



Refreshed and Revitalized.

After we swam to our heart’s content we decided to hike it all the way back up to the top. It took us about 30 minutes to climb up. The way up was definitely more challenging than coming down but, it was amazing. We headed home to Hotel Arenal Kioro, ordered room service, showered and then took advantage of our in-room jacuzzi. We sure needed it!



Amazing Creatures.

The next morning after breakfast, we left the our gorgeous resort and made the trek to our next resort, Arenas del Mar. On our way, we stopped at el Puente de Crocodilios in Rio Tarcoles. We pulled to the side of the road and we purchased the most refreshing, delicious and fresh Pipas de Coco. Fresh young coconut that is cut open and you insert a straw and drink. It was the sweetest coconut water I have ever drank in my life. We also purchased some Costa Rican handmade candies for the road.

We walked a little ways to the bridge and took a look down and in the depths of the river and on a piece of land the crocodiles where they were just basking in the sun. It was unbelievable. I had never seen so many crocodiles so close up. They really are beautiful creatures and we spent quite a while admiring them.



On the Road.

We headed towards Manuel Antonio and on the way, we stopped by the beach in Herradura and ate at the El Pelicano Restaurant. The waves were lapping and the aroma of sea salt in the air was intoxicating. I had a little bit of Costa Rican Americana with some hot wings and fries. Dara indulged in the local seafood and enjoyed a seafood plate. It was really good and a great experience to eat right by the beach. We did a little bit of sightseeing around the area and saw the huge Ocean Golf Resort, Los Suenos by Marriott and went by the pier to see all of the ships. Gorgeous.


Sunset in Quepos.

On our way there we passed by fields and fields of palm trees and Mario explained the industry of African Palms and palm oil and the impact it has on the country to us. As well as the banana industry that preceded it. It was Β so interesting and boy, it was beautiful to see so many palms. He read our minds when we were reaching the center of Quepos and we stopped at the side of the road to capture this unbelievably special moment as the sun set into the ocean.

We finally arrived to Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio shortly after and we were greeted by the most amazing staff at this resort. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow and it’s definitely a place you have to see before you die.

That is what they say!
Do you like to wing it when you travel and go where the wind takes you?

Let me know, til then cheers m’deres!


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  1. Oh my goodness! That looks like the vacation of a lifetime! I would adore to go there and swim in that pool below the waterfall! How amazing!

  2. Oh those crocodiles are so cute!! What was the weather like when you went? I visited the La Fortuna waterfall as well but it was so hot when I went that it was refreshing for a different reason!

  3. SO beautiful, Nancy!!! Makes me really want to visit! Costa Rica has been on my list of places to visit! I've traveled to 13 countries, 20 states, 4 provinces, but Costa Rica is still on my bucket list! Thanks for this post. I will bookmark it for when we go on our trip!! It's going to happen!!!

  4. What an amazing experience! I love that they charged for the waterfall view! It was a reasonable price and it helped preserve the surroundings! What an amazing trip!

    1. Definitely. I love that too. Costa Rica is rich in ecotourism and it makes me feel great about traveling. πŸ™‚

  5. My husband and I went to Costa Rica a few years back and absolutely loved it. I really hope to be able to go back sometime soon.

  6. Oh my gosh! How very beautiful! You made me want to take my family to Costa Rica. The scenery is stunning! What an amazing family trip! We like to do a combination of 'winging' it during vacations and planning to visit local 'must see' places where reservations might be needed. That way we don't miss anything due to lack of planning! Thank you so much for sharing! Angie

    1. So true! We had a great time and though we had a planned itinerary, it was great to be able to wing it on the way!

  7. That waterfall is breathtaking. What an amazing vacation you must have had.
    My recent post Finish Power and Free Review #FinishPowerandFree

    1. Aww, thank-you! πŸ™‚ The food was great. That was the only American food I had the whole time. πŸ˜€

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