Arenal Getting There
Nature Air has daily flights to Arenal from San Jose, Manuel Antonio, Tamarindo, Tortuguero, the Osa Peninsula, and other popular destinations. From San Jose, the flight lasts approximately 30 minutes and departs from Tobias Bolanos Airport in Pavas (20 minutes from the international airport). The Nature Air office in La Fortuna is located on Central avenue.
Transportes San Jose Venecia operates the route San Jose – La Fortuna. Telephones: 2255-0567, 2255-4318 or 2255-4300.
From San Jose: $5.05; 6:15 a.m., 8:10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.; four hours. Departs from the intersection of Calle 12 and Avenida 7.
To San Jose: departs at 12:45 p.m. and 2:45 p.m.; four hours. Buses leave from the bus station in La Fortuna.
From San Jose take Route 1 north and follow the signs for San Ramon. Continue for 19 miles and turn right into San Ramon. Continue straight and drive through the town. Turn left following the signs to Arenal Volcano and continue to Los Angeles del Sur. At the green church there is a Y; Veer left, following volcano signs. A bit farther there is a restaurant on your left called El Mirador; this is a great spot for a light snack. Next door is a souvenir shop that sells the usual and has clean bathrooms that are free for travelers. Continue on this curvy, mountainous road.
You will cross several bridges over Rio La Balsa and Rio Catarata. Continue through the town of Las Tunas. After this town, you'll see an old tollbooth—veer left at the Y and follow volcano signs to La Tigra. Pass through La Tigra and go over the La Tigra Bridge that spans the Penas Blancas River. Only one car is allowed to cross at a time. Continue through the town of Chachagua and arrive in La Fortuna. The trip takes approximately three to four hours from San Jose depending on traffic and road conditions.
Private shuttle buses are also available to La Fortuna. Air-conditioned vans will pick you up in the country’s most popular towns including San Jose, Conchal/Flamingo, Playa Hermosa, Papagayo, Jaco, Manuel Antonio and Monteverde. The journey costs approximately $45 per person each way, and 24-hour advance reservations are required.
Additionally, private transfers are available as an add-on to day trips on the Balsa and Toro Rivers. Your bags will be transported to La Fortuna for retrieval after whitewater rafting and a late lunch. Pickup can be arranged from several tourist hotspots throughout Costa Rica.
Trips to / from Monteverde and Arenal:
Visitors can travel to Arenal via a combination of transportation including jeep-boat-jeep, taxi-boat-taxi or by a horse-boat-horse journey from the cloud forest town of Monteverde. All of these trips transport your luggage separately and offer a scenic journey between the two towns. Horseback riding trails can be slippery, especially during the wet season,(May-Nov.). Trips to Monteverde from La Fortuna are popular as well. The transfer can be booked at several hotels and tour operators in La Fortuna.