Welcome to the enchanting realm of La Fortuna, where nature's wonders and cultural richness converge to create a tapestry of unique experiences. Nestled at the foothills of the majestic Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is a destination that captivates the hearts of travelers seeking adventure and tranquility alike. Join us as we reveal some of the most interesting secrets of La Fortuna.
Few vacationers realize that there are two submerged towns located at the bottom of Lake Arenal. During the 1970s the region experienced a significant transformation with the construction of the Arenal Dam. The landscape once occupied by the towns of Arenal and Trondora was flooded in 1979 during the creation of the expansive Lake Arenal, which became the second largest lake in the country and doubled Costa Rica’s hydroelectric potential overnight. Construction of the dam reshaped the topography, and the communities of Arenal and Trondora, which were once nestled in the valley. Both towns and occupants were relocated to higher ground as they made way for the expanding reservoir, and the new towns boasted improvements and modernizations that had not existed in the former communities. Sidewalks and streets, gutters and telephone service, gridded electricity and new homes and community buildings were some of the amenities that awaited the transplanted inhabitants of these two older towns. Today, the submerged towns beneath Lake Arenal still hold many memories for older locals who recall their youth with some nostalgia. The creation of Lake Arenal, at over 29 square miles, now generates enough electricity to meet over 40% of Costa Rica’s demand.
The 1968 Arenal Volcano eruption stands as a pivotal moment in the history of Costa Rica, reshaping the landscape and the lives of the surrounding communities. For centuries Arenal Volcano had lain dormant, with its last eruption taking place in the year 1525. During surveys of the volcano conducted by Instituto Costarriquense Electricidad (ICE) in 1965 as they prepared for the creation of Lake Arenal, some unusual phenomena were recorded in the area surrounding Arenal Volcano, and as a result, the volcano’s status was updated to active. Still, no one who lived in the area could have predicted the catastrophic eruption that was to take place in July of 1968. The eruption was unexpected and devastating, leading to the tragic loss of lives and the burial of three entire villages beneath volcanic ash and debris. These towns, Pueblo Nuevo, Tabacon, and San Luis, along with a total of 90 square miles of area in the region were destroyed by the July 29, 1968 eruption. The impact for locals was devastating, but the incredible resilience of the area’s people slowly emerged in the aftermath. Eventually, the scars left by nature's incredible power were transformed into an opportunity for education and public awareness with the opening of the 1968 Trail. Recognizing the importance of sharing the story of the eruption and the changed geography, the 1968 hiking trail winds through the once-lava-covered fields, not only serving as a living testament to the force of nature, but also allowing visitors to witness the remarkable regrowth in the area.
Another way the area’s local communities sought to harness Arenal Volcano’s incredible resource came in the way of natural hot springs resorts. The first hot springs in La Fortuna opened in the early 1990s and marked a transformative moment in the region's tourism and cultural landscape. Fueled by the heated underground magma supplied by Arenal Volcano, these hot springs emerged as natural havens of relaxation and rejuvenation. As the warm mineral-rich waters bubbled to the surface, entrepreneurs recognized the potential for creating unique wellness experiences. Over time, a vibrant culture was cultivated around these geothermal resorts, with establishments offering a range of spa treatments, thermal pools, and lush surroundings, all harnessing the abundant minerals and natural warmth generated by the volcano. Today, the hot springs are not only a draw for those seeking tranquility, but also the inspiration behind the community’s ethos of sustainable tourism and environmental appreciation.
La Fortuna Waterfall, nestled in the lush greenery of Costa Rica, stands as a breathtaking testament to the dynamic geological forces shaping the region. Formed by the confluence of volcanic activities from the nearby Chato Volcano, La Fortuna Waterfall cascades majestically from a height of 75 meters, surrounded by dense rainforest foliage. What sets this waterfall apart is not just its stunning beauty, but also its unique connection to the local Makeku tribal culture. For the Makeku people, the waterfall is a sacred site, embodying the essence of their spiritual beliefs and connection to nature. It serves as a place of reverence and rituals, underlining the significance of La Fortuna Waterfall in the cultural tapestry of the region. The cascading waters, framed by the verdant landscape and the geological history etched into its surroundings, create an awe-inspiring experience that beckons visitors to appreciate both the natural wonders and the cultural richness that converge at this mesmerizing destination.