Alajuela Province
National Parks

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Our most recommended Alajuela Province National Parks

La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

1. La Fortuna: Waterfall, Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Tour

Escape into the nature of the La Fortuna area. Walk by the river and follow a trail to a panoramic viewpoint. Visit a Maluku Indian village and trek through a forest, lava fields, and farmlands before relaxing at a natural hot spring resort. Be collected at your accommodation and be driven to the beginning of the forest walk. Trek on the easy track along the crystal clear La Fortuna river. En route, hop on a tractor cart uphill to a panoramic viewpoint. Spot the next location from a distance then begin the return walk down a jungle staircase. Halfway down is a high suspension bridge to cross. The trail leads further down the huge canyon, which was shaped by a volcanic mega-eruption. Encounter the spectacular La Fortuna waterfall. Be amazed by the lush vegetation on its 70-meter high walls, the huge volcanic rocks at its foot, and the water splashing down in its massive pool. Bask in its beauty or even take a refreshing dip. Return to the viewpoint then walk down to the little village of the Maluku Indians. Seated in their Palenke (main house), enjoy a rest while listening to an interesting story about their culture, art, and history.  After being active for a few hours, the time has come to relax and enjoy a typical hot lunch. Next to the restaurant is a butterfly garden and frog pond that you can explore until your food is served.  Reenergized, take a 15-minute ride to the park at the foot of the Arenal volcano. Being the trek through the primary forest where you can see huge trees with giant roots. Besides a variety of birds, the forest is host to monkeys, sloths, and coati. Leave the forest and each the highest viewpoint that exists around the volcano and absorb the most spectacular panoramic views of Lake Arenal, the jungle, the valley, the lava fields, and most of all the Arenal that towers over you.  Conclude your tour at the natural hot spring resort. Relax in its soothing warm water for about an hour and enjoy a volcanic mud facial and a complimentary cocktail. Afterward, you will be taken back to your accommodation.

La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo

2. La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano and Hanging Bridges Combo

Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in the La Fortuna area, and travel to Arenal Volcano to hike the paths surrounding the mighty mountain. Get back to nature in Arenal Volcano National Park, where most of the 850 species of bird identified in Costa Rica can be found. Look out for other wildlife, such as white-faced capuchin monkeys, jaguar and deer. Marvel at the stunning landscapes of a secondary rainforest at the base of the park, and a primary rainforest with amazing biodiversity amongst the hanging bridges. Walk through the rainforest on a network of 15 suspension bridges of various levels of difficulty in Mistico Park. Then, cool down with a swim in a natural pool at La Fortuna waterfall.

Poás Volcano, Coffee Plantation & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

3. Poás Volcano, Coffee Plantation & La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Experience Costa Rica's nature and culture on this full-day tour San José. Your first destination is the Doka Estate coffee plantation, where you'll learn all about the ancient techniques of producing some of the best coffee in Costa Rica and around the world. Experience the careful process involved in the cultivation, harvesting and roasting of the Golden Bean before tasting the delectable product. After your coffee tour, continue to Poás Volcano National Park, where there is a noticeable change in temperature and beautiful scenery in a cloud forest. Climb up Poás Volcano, an active stratovolcano that most recently erupted in 2017. The crater of the volcano is over a mile across and 1,050 feet deep, making for breathtaking views. Hike on a trail to the beautiful Botos Lagoon as you learn about the different ecosystems in the park. Then, continue to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and enjoy a buffet lunch of traditional Costa Rican dishes. After lunch, explore the lush tropical rainforest. See the flowing white rivers, spectacular waterfalls, birds, butterflies, monkeys, and hummingbirds before returning to San José.

From La Fortuna: Rio Celeste Full-Day Tour

4. From La Fortuna: Rio Celeste Full-Day Tour

Start your full-day tour with a scenic drive from La Fortuna to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Head out on a 4-hour hike that will take some effort but is definitely worth it. At the end of the hike you’ll have reached the Rio Celeste. The river’s blue color is the result of a chemical reaction between 2 merging rivers having different volcanic minerals. This rare phenomenon creates a fairy tale-like beauty. Visit a waterfall and a lookout point for great views and see the place where the river changes color. Your guide will point out local wildlife on this adventure as well. After your hike, enjoy a delicious lunch before the drive back to La Fortuna.

From San Jose: 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Excursion

5. From San Jose: 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Excursion

Explore the protected Tortuguero National Park in the Limón Province, reachable only by airplane or boat. Take in the wealth of biodiversity in its eleven different habitats, including rainforest, mangrove forests, swamps, beaches, and lagoons. Trip itinerary: Day 1: After an early morning hotel pickup, admire the biodiversity of a primary forest through the window as you drive past Braulio Carrillo National Park. Sample a delicious Costa Rican breakfast during the drive. Mid-morning, board a comfortable boat and travel along the Tortuguero Canals. Be enchanted by the surrounding paradise and its varied flora and fauna. Then, enjoy a refreshing cocktail and a delicious lunch at the hotel. After lunch, tour the canals and take incredible photos for the rest of the afternoon. Arrive at Pachira Lodge (or similar) for a delightful dinner and a restful night's sleep. Day 2: Discover the flavors of Costa Rica with breakfast at the Lodge. Then, hike along the Lodge's private trail and work up an appetite for lunch. After lunch at the Lodge, visit the Sea Turtle Museum, the beach, and the picturesque village of Tortuguero. In the evening, enjoy dinner at the Lodge again. Day 3: After breakfast at the Lodge, head back to San José, stopping for lunch at El Ceibo in Guápiles on the way. Arrive back in San José in the afternoon.

San Jose: Irazú Volcano, Cartago City & Orosi Valley Tour

6. San Jose: Irazú Volcano, Cartago City & Orosi Valley Tour

Start with pickup from your hotel and travel by minibus along the Panamerican Highway until you reach the base of the Irazú Volcano. Travel up the winding road through fertile farmlands where many types of fruit and vegetables are cultivated. Enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. At the summit of the volcano, on a clear day, marvel at the spectacular view of both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Next, descend to the city of Cartago and stop at the Virgin of the Angels Basilica. Discover this local pilgrimage site which has large vaulted ceilings and exquisite examples of stained glass windows.  Continue the tour through the Orosi Valley, an area of magnificent natural beauty. Visit one of the few remaining colonial churches in the region and stop for a tasty typical lunch at one of the local restaurants. Finally, be returned to your hotel to complete the tour.

San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

7. San Jose: Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch

The day begins with pickup from your accommodation in San Jose, Heredia, or Alajuela at 6:00 AM. On your way to breakfast, drive past rolling coffee plantations and admire the mountains of Braulio Carrillo National Park. At around 7:15 AM, stop for a traditional Costa Rican breakfast to set you up for the day's adventure. Enjoy fresh fruit juice, coffee, eggs, and the popular gallo pinto (a typical Central American rice and bean dish.) After breakfast visit a local banana plantation and learn about the process of growing and exporting fruit. At around 10:00 AM, leave the bus behind and hop onboard a boat as you cruise into the jungle of Tortuguero National Park. Surrounded by tropical rainforest, which covers over 29,000 hectares, soak up the magic of this luscious green landscape. As you sail along the jungle canals, see native green sea turtles, as well as other endangered animals such as sloths, monkeys, and manatees. There’s also countless colorful butterflies, toucans, herons, crocodiles, and more. Learn about each of the animals and their habitat in the jungle, as well as about local conservation efforts to protect them. Once you’ve worked up a bit of an appetite, enjoy a hearty buffet lunch. After lunch, take a relaxing stroll through Tortuguero Village where you’ll discover local life and learn about the history of the town and its residents. At the end of an unforgettable day, get back on the bus at around 3:30 PM and begin the return journey back to San Jose.

La Fortuna: Half-Day Waterfall Tour with Lunch

8. La Fortuna: Half-Day Waterfall Tour with Lunch

After hotel pickup in La Fortuna, set off on a short drive to reach the departure point, where you will start with an easy forest walk along the crystal-clear La Fortuna River. Along the way, hop on a tractor cart that will take you up hill to a panoramic viewpoint. Having seen the waterfall in the distance, start a trek down a jungle staircase. Halfway down, reach a high suspension bridge that will have to be conquered in order to continue.  Follow the trail further down the huge canyon that was shaped by a volcanic mega eruption. Coming to the end of the canyon, the spectacular La Fortuna Waterfall awaits. Marvel at the lush vegetation on 230-foot walls, the massive volcanic rocks at its base, and the huge amount of water splashing down in its pool. Take time to bask in its beauty, while the brave souls of the group can even take a dip. Back at the viewpoint, walk down to the little village of the Maluku Indians. Seated in their palenke, main house, enjoy a rest while listening to an interesting telling of Maluku culture, art, and history. Having been active for some hours, the moment will then come to enjoy a warm, traditional lunch. Next to the restaurant, there is a butterfly garden and frog pond, which you can explore while waiting for the food to be served. Return to your hotel at around 1:30 PM.

From La Fortuna: Nocturnal Nature Experience

9. From La Fortuna: Nocturnal Nature Experience

This tour is ideal for those who want to take advantage of their nights in Costa Rica to discover some of the country’s nocturnal wonders. You will begin your tour in the small town of La Tigra, located just 30 minutes from La Fortuna. Here you will meet a local family who has devoted part of their land to the natural regeneration of plants and animals.  Once you arrive, you will take the trail into a small patch of rainforest with some mirrored lakes, which facilitate wildlife observation. You can expect to see a variety of nocturnal birds and mammals, insects, amphibians, bats, and more. The trail will take you around the mirrored lakes to the frog sanctuary, which is an area dedicated to the regeneration and natural reproduction of frog species. Here you will discover countless species such as the dart frog and the bullfrog, the smallest and largest species in Costa Rica, as well as the spectacular Red-Eyed Tree Frog, and the beautiful Glass Frog. After the tour, a delicious Costa Rican dinner prepared on a wood burning stove will await You. You will enjoy your dinner viewing the lights of the valleys of San Carlos, before returning to your hotel in La Fortuna.

Arenal: 4 Activities Tour with Optional Hot Springs

10. Arenal: 4 Activities Tour with Optional Hot Springs

Visit the most important attractions of Arenal Volcano National Park and hike along a mountain trail to get magnificent views of the mighty mountain in safety. Hope for clear skies to see as far as Arenal Lake, the secondary forest, and the area devastated by previous eruptions.  Continue to the impressive waterfall of La Fortuna, where you can go for a refreshing swim in the cool waters or take pictures of its natural beauty. Stop at a restaurant near downtown La Fortuna for a delicious a la carte lunch. Then, head to the Arenal Hanging Bridges to hike the trail high above the tree canopy. Cross 15 hanging and stationary bridges and look for the local wildlife along the way. End the day at the hot springs of your choice, with or without dinner. Get picked up after your meal for the drive back to your hotel. 

Frequently asked questions about Alajuela Province National Parks

What are other things to do than National Parks that are worth visiting in Alajuela Province?

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Other Sightseeing Options in Alajuela Province

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What people are saying about Alajuela Province

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 152 reviews

I highly recommend going on this excursion!!!! I am never the person to leave reviews, but I was honestly blown away by all that we did and got to see. Be prepared to spend the entire day as it lasted far beyond the 10 hours that is stated, but it’s so worth it! Our tour guides were Enrique and Isaac and they were phenomenal. They were very easy going and knowledgeable, they helped make the experience as enjoyable as it was. You will be doing a lot of hiking and climbing up and down steep and uneven stairs/terrain getting to the volcano as well as the waterfall (500 steps). I am not an avid hiker or even an outdoorsy person so some of this was a bit challenging, if you feel intimidated don’t let that stop you! There were people of all hiking levels on this trip. From seeing the volcano/the lava fields to climbing over rocks to take a dip next to a waterfall you will be impressed by the beauty around you. Ending the day in a hot spring with drinks was a great ending to the day! 11/10

we had a wonderful day with Santiago. The pick up was a bit messy (20 min late) but we made it happen. it was a longer drive than expected (around 1h30 drive) but it was worth it !!! the park was absolutely gorgeous ! we stopped on the road to check some sloths, we continued in the park where it was absolutely magical ! we spotted a lot of different animals and the sighting was incredible. Santiago was soooo friendly, knowledgeable and great vibes. the lunch was great too and the swimming in the river was awesome. the group of people was super friendly too. it was honestly a great day in total ☺️. highly recommend !!!

great way to see 3 big activities in one day trip. Had Erica as our guide, she was amazing!, brought her telescope to help us see the local animals. She found sloths, 3 different species of snake, frogs, a tarantula, howler monkeys and a few beautiful local birds. Great local knowledge and history chats about the region. Would definately reccomend. Our driver Jorge was super helpul as well, punctual pick up and super clean bus.

Great day! Just be sure to expect a lot of walking and a long day. We were pooped by the end! Our guide Érica was awesome!

Très belle journée bien remplie et guide très sympathique!