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The Best Way To Travel From La Fortuna To Monteverde Or Vice Versa

The Best Way To Travel From La Fortuna To Monteverde Or Vice Versa

NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on October 25th, 2017.

travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde
Ricky and Nikki; van-boat-van from La Fortuna to Monteverde


La Fortuna (home to Costa Rica’s stunning Arenal Volcano) and Monteverde (the center of Costa Rica’s infamous cloud forest) are two of the most visited locations in the country. Located close in proximity to one another (when viewing a map), travellers are often surprised to learn that the unlucky positioning of Arenal Lake in the middle of the two areas presents transportation challenges when coordinating the best way to get from La Fortuna to Monteverde (or vice versa).

Looking for other Costa Rica info? Consider reading our other post:  What To Know About Playa Jaco Costa Rica (Jaco Beach)
travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde
Ricky; enjoying Lake Arenal

Fortunately, there is a route that runs between La Fortuna (Arenal) and Monteverde around the lake–one ideal for travellers with their own rental car who choose to make the solo trip. The trouble with this self-drive option is that the road is rough in sections (mainly when entering and leaving Monteverde) which makes the trip a long and uncomfortable one. Shared shuttle services also run to and from both Monteverde and La Fortuna, as do private transfer services, however both of these methods of transportation face the same challenge: a long ride around the lake complete with rough road patches.

travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde
Van-boat-van driver; a new friend!


As an alternative to these transfer service types which require travelling around the lake, there is also a van-boat-van service (sometimes referred to as the jeep-boat-jeep or taxi-boat-taxi service, depending on the operator or guidebook) which significantly reduces travel time, and consequently, hassle and stress. The van-boat-van method of travelling from La Fortuna to Monteverde (or vice versa) eliminates the majority of time spent driving around the lake by instead offering a boat ride across the body of water. Van-boat-van services offer hotel pick-ups and drop-offs in either Monteverde or La Fortuna (at qualifying “La Fortuna” and “Monteverde” hotels), the cost is relatively inexpensive, and travellers’ luggage stays with them the entire time. The entire business (which operates to and from Monteverde and La Fortuna twice daily; once in the morning and again in the afternoon) is a routine and smooth operation.

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travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde
Along the road to Monteverde


Although the van-boat-van service is arguably the most popular, time efficient, and cost efficient method of transportation from La Fortuna to Monteverde (and vice versa), there are a number of tour options that include transportation between the two cities in their rates. For those who enjoy horseback riding, there is a full-day horseback riding tour which incorporates part of the van-boat-van service with a leisurely horseback riding tour between La Fortuna and Monteverde; the tour is a great way to experience a fun activity on a day you would have otherwise only scheduled your transportation. Similarly, for those who are in search of a more physically challenging experience, there is a full-day mountain biking tour, or else a full-day extreme hiking tour, that can be used as a form of transportation from La Fortuna to Monteverde (or vice versa). For more information about city-to-city transportation-inclusive tour options (between La Fortuna and Monteverde, or other Costa Rica destinations), please see our related blog post: Costa Rica Tour Transportation: How To Use Tours To Travel Between Destinations.

travel from La Fortuna to Monteverde
Nikki ; view of the Arenal Volcano from Arenal Lake on the return trip



QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: What is your preferred method of travel between cities? Shared shuttle transportation? Transfer services private to your group? Local buses? Domestic flights?

Looking for other Costa Rica info? Consider reading our other post:  Costa Rica Hotel Recommendation Series: Where To Stay in La Fortuna / Arenal

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3 thoughts on “The Best Way To Travel From La Fortuna To Monteverde Or Vice Versa”

  • Thank you. Really good tips here. I have a question. My husband and I will be 2 weeks at flamingo beach. Have a rental for a portion and want to visit Arenal or Monteverde. Can we see both with 2 days and one night in La Fortuna and take a taxi/boat over and enjoy Monteverde as well? What are your thoughts? Dislike paying for extra nights when the 2 weeks are already paid. Thank you. KO

    • Kay Underwood Ortiz –
      Yes, absolutely! It will require a fair bit of driving and you will want to fit in as much as possible in both locations to make the most of your visits while at each, however if you only have 2 days / 1 night it is possible. If you plan to spend 1 night in the La Fortuna area, our best recommendation would be to depart from Playa Flamingo early in the morning and drive directly to La Fortuna. Once there, participate in the tours/activities you desire and spend the night at your desired La Fortuna hotel. The next morning wake up very early and drive around Lake Arenal to Monteverde (no need to take the taxi-boat-taxi here as you will have the rental vehicle – the boat is a small speedboat and not a ferry so unfortunately with a rental car you cannot cross the lake but must drive around it). Plan to participate in the tours/activities that interest you there before departing later in the day for Playa Flamingo. 🙂
      Pura vida!

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