5 Best Activities La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

La Fortuna, Costa Rica is a lovely place to visit with your baby and/or toddler.  The plentiful outdoor activities, ample wildlife viewing opportunities and family oriented culture all make La Fortuna, Costa Rica an ideal place to take a trip as a family.  We had a magical time exploring the La Fortuna area with our baby (6 months old) and toddler (2 years old) for 10 days.  During this time, we gained a lot of insight on traveling in/around this area with our two littles.  Read on for our best things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica with a baby or toddler guide. 

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FYI: We took this trip when our daughter was 2 years old and our son was 6 months old.  For more information on exploring with a baby, please see our Top 10 Baby Travel Tips, How to Hike with a Baby, 5 Top Baby & Toddler Flying Tips and Flying with a Baby posts.

#1 Best Activity La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler: Take a Hike

Hiking is really the best way to get out with your baby and/or toddler and explore the beautiful rainforest and waterfalls that Costa Rica has to offer.  This is particularly a great way to explore with your baby and/or toddler because, generally, hiking allows you almost complete time independence and to move at whatever pace you need.  

La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

Some of our favorite baby and toddler friendly hikes:

  1. Mysteries of Tenorio Trail (to Waterfall/Rio Celeste) in Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio (3 miles roundtrip, 650 feet of elevation gain, out & back)
  2. Parque Nacional Volcán Arenal (4.5 mile, minimal elevation, loop) 
  3. Catarata del Toro Waterfall (1.5 miles, steep elevation (300 steps), out & back) 
  4. Blue Falls (varies, our route was 3 miles, moderate to steep elevation gain, out & back) 
  5. Arenal Observatory Lodge (varies) 

For a full breakdown on each of these hikes, please see our Top 5 Best Hikes La Fortuna, Costa Rica and 10 Best Things to do La Fortuna, Costa Rica guide that goes into detail about each.  

Be Prepared for the Rain

La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

Note:  When hiking in the rainforest, it may rain at any time (it’s called a rainforest for a reason).  Be prepared with your own rain gear as well as rain gear for your baby/toddler.  We highly recommend this baby rain suit.  We have used a 12 month size on our kids from 6 months to 20 months (very adjustable).  

Cost: Varies at each trail, $25/adult (or less), baby/toddler $5 (or less) or free 

#2 Best Activity La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler: Mistico Hanging Bridges

Another best activity in La Fortuna with a baby and/or toddler is to visit Mistico Hanging Bridges Park.  The hanging bridges here are magical as they take you into and above the rainforest canopy.  The Self-Guided Hanging Bridges tour is a 2 mile loop path with 400 feet of elevation gain. On this tour, you’ll cross 15 bridges (6 of them being hanging bridges that go straight into the rainforest canopy). We really enjoyed our time immersed in the rainforest here. 

La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler

The trails here are very well maintained and your toddler will be able to walk for a large majority of the trails (leading up to/away from the hanging bridges).  However, we would highly recommend babywearing your baby and using a backpack carrier for your toddler while crossing the hanging bridges as they are a bit wobbly (not unsafe just wobbly).  Although the bridges may look a bit scary, we never felt unsafe or scared on them. There are attendants at each bridge that only allow so many people on the bridges at one time so they never get too wobbly.  These attendants will also take some awesome pictures for your family on the bridges (if you ask)! And even though it seemed busy when we arrived in the parking lot of this park, the trail here is one-way and it felt like there were only a handful of other people on the path during our visit. 

Cost: $28/person, Open 6a-4:30p daily, 25 minutes from La Fortuna Area 

#3 Best Activity La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler: Sloth Watching

If seeing wildlife, particularly a sloth, while in Costa Rica is on your Costa Rica bucket list, we highly recommend going on a sloth watching tour. This will be a great experience for your baby or toddler too as they will be able to see more wildlife than they would notice on their own.  Seeing a sloth on your own in the wild is almost impossible as sloths are master camouflage experts. They tend to curl up into a ball in the trees making them even harder to see.  

We went on a hike with a guide from the small local family business of the Las Mariolas Trails.  On this tour, besides seeing five different sloths (including a mama and her baby), we saw many different birds, several snakes, several lizards and the elusive yet stunning red dart frog.  The highlight of our time here was seeing a mama sloth climbing along a tree with her baby on her belly. The guides on our tour were very knowledgeable and so skilled at seeing different animals.  They also brought a telescope with them that allowed you to see a lot of the animals close up.  

At the end of this tour, we got to make (and eat) traditional handmade tortillas and hand press/juice sugar cane with the family.  This family treated our kids like their own family members. We would highly recommend this tour for some awesome wildlife viewing opportunities and welcoming company. Las Mariolas offers public tours (up to 10 people) or private tours (great option with unpredictable littles, inquire with company on dates/times/cost).

Public tour: $32/adult, baby/toddler free 

#4 Take a Cooking Class

Another great thing to do in La Fortuna with a baby and/or toddler is to take a cooking class with a local family.  This was definitely one of our favorite things we did in Costa Rica!  The food was amazing (more delicious than words can describe) and we really enjoyed the company of the family.  Most of the ingredients you use to cook your meal are right from the family’s farm. You actually go and pick most of them fresh from the garden that evening (our toddler helped with this). 

We really felt like part of the family and got so much local insight from the two sons who taught the class.  The day we took the cooking class, it was just our family of 4, which was extremely nice given our two unpredictable children.  An added bonus to this cooking class is that before you leave, they’ll take you on a little tour of the garden area at night, and will show you lots of different and very colorful frogs. This was super neat and our toddler could not get enough of seeing these frogs.  We highly recommend this class! 

Cost: $80/adult, baby/toddler free 

#5 Explore Downtown Parks in La Fortuna

Another great activity to do in La Fortuna Costa Rica with a baby and/or toddler is to explore the parks downtown.  In downtown La Fortuna, Parque de La Fortuna is the main park in the center of the city.  Our toddler really enjoyed walking around the flower lined paths here and spent quite a bit of time playing around the fountain in the center of the park.  On a clear day, you’ll have views of Arenal Volcano from this park as well. 

There is also a really nice outdoor children’s playground across the street located in the middle of a shopping center.  This park is not something you would stumble upon unless you are walking through the city center. It just looks like a walkway in between the shopping center until you get into it.  This playground has something for all ages (trampolines, slides, climbing gyms, play houses, etc.) and we spent a good hour here while our toddler played.  We were also able to put a blanket down for our son to do some tummy time.  

Beyond these parks, we do not recommend spending a lot of time downtown with your baby or toddler as it is congested and a bit too touristy.  However, we did really enjoy eating at Tierra Mia in downtown La Fortuna (within walking distance from both parks). The staff there was very kind to our kids and even brought our toddler some stickers/coloring books that they had clearly bought themselves.  If you are looking to spend more time near downtown, you can hike to the La Fortuna Waterfall too, which is only 10 minutes outside of the city center.  You cannot swim at the base of this waterfall but can swim in the river next to it.  Beware that you have to climb down (and back up) 500 steps to reach it.  

Cost: Free to walk around/explore La Fortuna parks, $18/adult at La Fortuna Waterfall, baby/toddler free 

Bonus Best Activity La Fortuna with a Baby or Toddler: Visit Low-Key Local Hot Springs

Our bonus recommendation of what to do in La Fortuna with a baby and/or toddler is to visit a natural hot spring.  Natural hot springs are very prevalent throughout the La Fortuna area.  There are many large and extravagant resorts in the area that offer you an expensive yet luxurious hot springs experience.  However, with littles, we recommend a low-key and local hot spring experience at Relax Termalitas Hot Springs.

Located here are several nice pools (both hot and cool) and even a large slide leading into one of the hot spring pools (that our toddler LOVED watching us go on). This place also had a very local feel, and we are quite certain we were the only non-locals there.  Many people were cooking out and making the most of using the covered picnic areas surrounding the poolsYou’ll have complete time independence here.  And if your littles are not having it, you are out less than $10/person (whereas most other hot springs cost $50 or more per person).  

Cost: $10/adult, baby/toddler free 

General La Fortuna with a Baby and/or Toddler Tips

  • Babywear almost everywhere.  Most paths and activities are not stroller friendly other than walking around downtown La Fortuna. 
  • If there are particular dry snacks your baby/toddler likes and you have room in your luggage, bring them.  Food options were pretty limited in La Fortuna at the grocery store.  In hindsight, we wish we would have brought some crackers and pretzels with us for our toddler because we could not find any there. 
  • Bring diapers if possible.  You can buy them at the grocery store but they are much more expensive than in the US. 

We hope this guide helps you plan your trip to La Fortuna with your baby and/or toddler.  Anything you’d add to our best things to do La Fortuna post? We’d love to hear your feedback and questions.  Please leave us a comment!

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