Vacation time is limited for most people coming from the U.S. to visit Costa Rica, and while visiting every single destination in Costa Rica would be amazing, it’s just not possible.
Many tourists try to fit in visits to both La Fortuna/Arenal and Monteverde, but if you’re crunched for time, you can skip Monteverde and go straight to La Fortuna/Arenal
The “Cloud Forest” Lie
One of the draws of Monteverde is that it’s located in a “cloud forest”. Whoever came up with this term is a marketing genius.
I used to encounter “cloud forests” during my commute in Los Angeles. It’s called fog.
So, if you haven’t seen fog in your life, Monteverde might be cool for you…
La Fortuna/Arenal = More Options
La Fortuna/Arenal has everything that Monteverde has plus more. You can zipline, horseback ride, visit waterfalls, see sloths, hike, and visit some great restaurants.
Plus, the biggest draw about La Fortuna/Arenal over Monteverde is that you can also take advantage of the amazing hot springs at the base of the Arenal volcano.
Better roads to La Fortuna/Arenal
The road to La Fortuna/Arenal is completely paved. Not so for the road to Monteverde.
La Fortuna/Arenal has more lodging across a wider spectrum of prices ranges. You can spend anywhere from $300/night to stay at an ultra luxurious hotel with hot springs, all the way down to basic hostels for $10/night.