La Fortuna, Costa Rica – a magical, stunning, town with the most gorgeous, professional, and hospitable hotel in Central America

Like much of Costa Rica, La Fortuna seems to be a mix of wealth and poverty, tourists and locals, and every possible type of accommodation that one could want.  But hands down, this was my favourite experience in Costa Rica, even thought nowhere near a beach as it is central and next to an active volcano.


Long ago, I read an article about the Nayara properties in la Fortuna, at the base of the active volcano and knew that one day I had to experience this 5-star hotel.  The Nayara Tented Camp is the most exclusive (and expensive), followed by the Nayara Springs (for romance) and the Naraya Gardens (for the rest of us).  Nayara Gardens ( are a stunning collection of casitas and villas.  This is truly a stunning property and one that I would recommend that you experience, knowing that it is rather expensive.  LHW members receive a cute free gift, along with a breakfast which is buffet style but classy and wonderful.  I staying in Casita 08 which was near the foot bridge to Nayara Springs.  Thankfully, there is so much vegetation everywhere that privacy was never an issue and I literally didn’t want to leave my room.


I chose not to dine at the Nayara Gardens (or any of the connected properties) simply because I wanted to explore La Fortuna, small as it is, and see what they had to offer.

If I only had one night in La Fortuna, I would run to Don Rufino (  Although open air, like every restaurant that I saw throughout Costa Rica, the ambiance was outstanding, the bar and drinks incredible, and the food truly wonderful.  And bonus points to the staff who suggested that I order the rigatoni, even though I’m vegetarian: they’d take out the bacon and added small diced beets which was an amazing addition!

Another place that I would highly recommend – and may be justification for staying an extra night if the Nayara Gardens wasn’t enough of a reason (which it should be) – is Kappa Sushi (no website but you can find them on FB and Insta).  I had read waffling reviews online but I honestly have no idea what they were experiencing because the sushi was outstanding and just like I have at home or in NYC.  I’m not sure I’d recommend fish, that central in the mountains of Costa Rica, but the vegetarian sushi was outstanding (the grasshopper remain fondly in my memory).


I hadn’t planned it, but upon arrival at the Nayara Gardens, I learned that they offer a sloth tour on the property, twice a week (Saturday and Tuesday, I believe).  And it was free!  This was the best thing I experienced in La Fortuna and cannot recommend it enough: not only is the guide professional and incredibly knowledgeable, but she had top notch equipment to not only help us see the sloths (and birds, and monkeys, and an iguana), but she was able to help us set our mobile phones to take pictures through her telescope that were like nothing I experienced elsewhere.

There are also lots of day, and night, trips on offer in La Fortuna.  I met a couple of groups who had done night tours to see the poisonous red frogs, snakes, and other nocturnal creatures and they all raved at the experience.  I did learn, dear reader, that not only do sloths not really move that much, but they are more active later in the day, than in the morning, so if it is possible, do a sloth tour in the afternoon.

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