Tamarindo is full of people who have travelled throughout Costa Rica. Whenever we meet someone we are asked where else we have been and the answer is always short and simple: nowhere. J works 5 (sometimes 7) days a week and it’s not easy trekking through the jungle with twins and their belongings so we just hadn’t gotten around to planning anything.
My parents have been in Tamarindo since January and we knew we wanted to visit the Arenal Volcano during their stay. La Fortuna is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano which was Costa Rica’s most active volcano until 2010. I wasn’t sure what to expect bringing two toddlers to a place known for it’s waterfall, hanging bridges, outdoor adventure tours, volcano hikes and spa like hot springs, but we kept hearing how beautiful it was and having 4 adults/2 kids seemed like a safe bet.
So we squeezed the 6 of us, our luggage, pack N plays and stroller in our rental car (a disappointingly small Nissan Pathfinder) and drove 5 hours to our rental house. The place was perfect for us with it’s beautiful gazebo where we ate breakfast, it’s large riverside property where the twins (and Pops) chased the wildlife and a perfect view of the volcano from the upstairs bedroom. We had spoken with enough people to know that seeing the volcano is rare so it was pretty amazing when the clouds started clearing and we got a perfect view.
La Fortuna is a quaint little town with tons of restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores and we spent the first few days walking around and checking out the shops. We weren’t sure about going to one of the well known springs (and paying $60-$90/person) if the twins were only going to last 10 minutes and were looking into other options (National Park, Butterfly Conservatory) when we heard about Termales Los Laureles. For $12/person you get access to a family friendly waterpark/hot spring with approximately 7 pools surrounded by picnic benches where we were able to enjoy our own food and drink. We loved that it was frequented by the locals and had shallow pools for the twins to walk around in and it had a perfect view of the volcano. We also enjoyed some great meals with special mention to the Rainforest Cafe which had delicious coffee, good sized portions, friendly service and our #1 need – 2 high-chairs.
I know our Arenal experience was different that most people’s and you could see we stumped the info booth people when we asked for toddler friendly activities, but we found little gems that worked for our family and together the 6 of us enjoyed our “first weekend away”.