Costa Rica Diary Day 4 – La Fortuna

It’s our last day in La Fortuna and there is no rain forecast for a full 6 hours. However, the volcano remains stubbornly hidden behind the clouds.

La Fortuna
La Fortuna

I manage to sleep until gone 6 then get up to watch the hotel staff hoist bananas up a flagpole to attract the birds, and watch as group after group of different species turn up for breakfast – things get particularly fractious between the budgies and woodpeckers. My breakfast this morning is (not surprisingly) from the bakery – bread stuffed with cream cheese and pineapple.


This morning’s activity is a trip to La Fortuna waterfall, which is accessed via a flight of 530 steps – a jolly sensible activity for two old codgers with dodgy knees!

Toucan warning sign
Toucan warning sign

We drive to the top of the waterfall, pay the $18 each foreigners’ entry fee and after an armed security guard has taken our temperature, set off down the steps to the waterfall. It’s quite spectacular – presumably aided by all yesterday’s rain – as it thunders 70 metres over the cliff top into a pool below.

La For
View of the waterfall from the lookout up top

After taking some photos (obviously) the old man braves a dip in the pool. It’s very rocky and the current is strong, so I wuss out and opt to swim lower downriver. It’s lovely and refreshing, although the force of the waterfall makes it a bit like swimming in an infinity pool. I happily swim hard towards the waterfall then floating back downstream a few times.

Swimming in the waterfall
Swimming near the waterfall

Then we have to climb the 530 steps back to the entrance. It takes less time than I’d anticipated – all those hill training sessions are paying dividends!

Gardens at the top of the waterfall

At the top, are an orchid trail with no orchids and a butterfly trail with no butterflies, although we do see a very beautiful hummingbird. We return to the hotel, via the bakery – bread of the day – chicken, cheese and beans.

Bread of the day

After lunch and a regroup, we decide it’s time to find sloths. We haven’t spotted any in the wild, so head for a sloth trail, where you can pay $15 for the privilege of looking for sloths. This particular place (Bogarin) has been mentioned in blogs as averaging 6 sloth sightings per visit. We walk along the trails, necks aching from constantly looking up, toes hurting from tripping on tree roots because we’re not looking where we’re going. We see plenty of wildlife (birds and agouti) but no sloths.

Bogarin Sloth Trail Map
Bogarin Sloth Trail Map

Eventually we spot two sloths– a mother and baby. To be more accurate, we spot a group of people looking up a tree, rather than actually spotting the sloths. It’s quite exciting, apart from the fact that they don’t really do anything except hang from a tree. They are also hanging very high up in the tree, which makes them difficult to see/photograph. I can think of better ways to spend $30.

Bogarin Sloth Trail

We walk around for 90 minutes but don’t find any more, so we follow a sign saying ‘Trail Reception 100 metres’. The old man is adamant that this is not the way we came, but we continue to follow the signs regardless. Unfortunately, it’s the reception for a different sloth trail company to the one we started at. So we end up having to walk down the main road, and round the block to where we parked the car, with the old man harping on about how he told me so. With sloths finally ticked off the ‘to do’ list, our time in La Fortuna is almost at an end.


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