El Salto La Fortuna Guide: El Salto Rope Swing and Swimming Hole in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

girl overlooking El Salto La Fortuna rope swing and swimming hole

El Salto La Fortuna is at the top of my list for free things to do in La Fortuna, Costa Rica and Arenal Volcano National Park. Situated in the refreshing waters of the Rio Fortuna, you can frolic the day away swinging from the El Salto rope swing, the best Tarzan swing Costa Rica has to offer, cliff jumping and relaxing in the energizing yet restorative swimming hole

El Salto Costa Rica is located a quick drive or easy walk from the centre of La Fortuna, and makes for a great morning spent amongst the lush Arenal rainforest. Alternatively, you can visit the La Fortuna swimming hole after a visit to nearby La Fortuna Waterfall, Mistico Hanging Bridges or after a decadent chocolate tour through a local chocolate farm.

More La Fortuna Costa Rica Travel Guides
Best Restaurants in La Fortuna
Tabacon Hot Springs Guide
Eco Termales Hot Springs Guide
Day Trip to Rio Celeste

visitors in the swimming hole at El Salto La Fortuna rope swing

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This detailed guide on El Salto La Fortuna Costa Rica, will give you all the information you need to make the most of your visit to the top Rope Swing La Fortuna offers, including where it is, best way to get there, what to expect, where to stay in La Fortuna, and more!

Visit La Fortuna on this epic 10 day Costa Rica Itinerary

La Fortuna Quick Guide

Check Prices of Costa Rica Rental Cars
*Best way to reach El Salto Rope Swing

Luxury | Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa
Mid-range | Volcano Lodge
Apartment | Condo’s Vista Al Volcan 
Hostel | Selina La Fortuna

Where is El Salto La Fortuna?

El Salto Costa Rica is a 1.1 mile (1.8km) distance from downtown La Fortuna in the northern Alajuela Province and Arenal Volcano National Park. 

Click on the El Salto La Fortuna map below to interact with Google Maps and find your ideal route to visit the El Salto rope swing, or read on about the best ways to get there.

map of where El Salto La Fortuna is

Eco Termales Hot Springs Address:
El Salto Rope Swing, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Costa Rica

How to Get to El Salto La Fortuna

By Rental Car

You can reach the El Salto La Fortuna rope swing within a 4-minute drive by rental car.

 I use Discover Cars for all of my car rentals.  I like that Discover Cars compares local and international companies to find you the best deal. The last time I was in La Fortuna, all of the rental cars were sold out! So, make sure to book ahead.

La Fortuna Costa Rica town centre with Arenal Volcano in the background
Downtown La Fortuna, Costa Rica

Enter ‘El Salto Rope Swing’ or ‘El Salto – Rio Fortuna’ into Google Maps (or Waze) to find the best route to get there. 

Otherwise, follow Route 702 south out of downtown La Fortuna for 1.1 miles. Once you pass Diag. 301 on your right-hand side with a large sign pointing to La Fortuna Waterfall, keep driving until you reach a road bridge. 

Park your car on the side of the road just before the bridge and you can find your destination down a path on the lefthand side of the bridge to your left. 

TIP | You do not need a 4×4 vehicle to visit this top Tarzan swing Costa Rica offers as the entire roadway is paved. 

By Taxi

taxi in La Fortuna Costa Rica which is the best way to get to El Salto La Fortuna
Official Red Taxi in La Fortuna

If you don’t have a rental car, you can opt to take an official red taxi from the town centre to the entrance of the El Salto Costa Rica attraction. The cost will be roughly $15 USD return. You can find the official taxi stand on the road in front of La Fortuna central park.

TIP | Make sure your driver turns on the taxi metre to properly track your trip.

By Foot

The walk from La Fortuna town centre to the El Salto rope swing takes 22 minutes along a flat surface. The route will take you on Route 702 with part of the way featuring a well-established sidewalk. 

Do note, that the last part of the journey will not have an official sidewalk so make sure to keep your eyes peeled for traffic.

Who is El Salto La Fortuna Best For

view from the top Tarzan swing Costa Rica offers

Because of the wild’ nature of the El Salto Rope Swing and swimming hole, I’d recommend these top free things to do in La Fortuna for visitors without small children and without mobility issues. 

The landscape around El Salto La Fortuna is dense dirt paths with uncovered tree roots and slippery rocks. Not suitable for young children or persons in need of mobility aid.

When I visited El Salto Costa Rica, my partner and I were there with a few local teenagers, a family with older teenage children and a few older female friends. The crowd here definitely leans toward young adults. 

There are no amenities on site here, so don’t expect good seating, food or restrooms.

Best Time to Visit El Salto Rope Swing

Time of Day

Visiting the El Salto rope swing after my morning visit to La Fortuna Waterfall was a great combination. I already had my swimming suit, quick-drying towel, grippy watershoes and reusable water bottle with me from my morning climb down to the falls, so enjoying the El Salto lagoon afterwards fit just right. 

I arrived at El Salto La Fortuna around 9:30AM and left around 10:30AM. There were only a few other people there.

I have seen pictures of the El Salto La Fortuna swimming hole in the afternoons and it can get quite busy. I recommend visiting in the morning.

Time of Year

Generally speaking, Costa Rica will have its main influx of visitors in the months of mid-June to mid-August during the summer holidays, and from mid-December to mid-April during the dry season. Although visiting La Fortuna, in the lush Arenal rainforest, is great all year long.

What to Expect at El Salto Costa Rica

El Salto Costa Rica Parking

parking at El Salto La Fortuna

It is important to note, that El Salto La Fortuna does not have secure official parking. Knowing this, you can take the risk to park your car along the side of the road before and after the bridge lying over the Rio Fortuna with the El Salto rope swing located underneath. 

This is the only area you are able to park to access one of the top Costa Rica swimming holes, El Salto La Fortuna. Alternatively, you can take a taxi from the town centre, or walk.

NOTE | There has been theft from vehicles reported in the area

TIP | Do not leave valuables in your car. Roll up all windows and lock all doors. 

the waterfall at El Salto Costa Rica

The El Salto Trail

Once you’ve parked your rental car or arrived via taxi, you can follow the dirt path down on the east side of the bridge (away from Arenal Volcano). The trail down is dirt with exposed tree roots and rocks, so watch your step

After about 5 minutes down a 45-degree decline, you will come to the side of the El Salto rope swing and swimming hole. If bringing a day bag with you, make sure someone in your group is designated to keep an eye on it while others enjoy the free swimming hole and Tarzan swing.

Avid hiker? Visit Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve

someone using the El Salto rope swing

El Salto La Fortuna Facilities

El Salto La Fortuna Costa Rica does not have any facilities or amenities. Make sure to change into your swimming suit before visiting El Salto and come prepared with snacks, water, a towel and anything else you may need for time spent in nature.

Be aware that you will be wearing a wet bathing suit underneath your clothes when leaving El Salto rope swing, so I recommend heading back to your La Fortuna lodging before moving on to your next excursion. 

El Salto Rope Swing

a man jumping from the El Salto rope swing into a lagoon

A popular Tarzan swing Costa Rica offers, the El Salto La Fortuna rope swing will be located just down the river on your lefthand side. Watch your step along the path and wait your turn before handling the rope swing. Make sure swingers before you are out of the landing zone in the lagoon below before taking part. 

The best way to get out of the lagoon afterwards is to head to the shallow rocky lagoon area downstream and follow the dirt cliff around to the right. Here you can get up using a couple of man-made dirt steps and root handles. Be careful! Follow the path back towards the rope swing to go again.

Cliff Jumping

A woman jumping from the cliff at El Salto Costa Rica

Cliff jumping is also something to enjoy at El Salto La Fortuna. You can do this from the rocks overlooking the lagoon to the right of the Tarzan swing on the lefthand side of the river.

I loved doing this while visiting, but make sure to watch your step, as a woman who went after me slipped on the rocks and fell into the lagoon very close to the cliff. She was definitely dazed.

If you would like to partake in the cliff jumping at El Salto Costa Rica, communicating with the people jumping from the rope swing is key to avoiding near collisions in the water. Do not jump from the cliff at the same time as someone is jumping from the rope swing.

NOTE | The rocks here can be slippery!

El Salto Swimming Hole + Waterfall

a woman perched on the cliff overlooking the waterfall at El Salto La Fortuna

Besides partaking in the rope swing, you can simply enjoy the El Salto waterfall and lagoon. The crisp water is super refreshing after other La Fortuna excursions and will wash the humidity of the rainforest away. 

Love waterfalls? Try Rio Celeste Waterfall & Montezuma Waterfall

What to Bring to the El Salto
La Fortuna Swimming Hole

Because El Salto La Fortuna does not have any amenities, you are on your own when it comes to providing comforts like food, water and essentials for your trip. I highly recommend a quick-drying towel, grippy watershoes and reusable water bottle stuck into your water-resistant day bag

NOTE | Do not bring valuables with you!

If you’d like to take pictures without bringing your camera gear, opt for a waterproof phone case. Otherwise, these are some other Costa Rica packing items I recommend bringing:

VIFUUR Water Sports Unisex Shoes Black - 12.5-13 W US/ 11-11.5 M US (44-45)

WATER SHOES | I used my water shoes to climb around waterfalls and natural hot springs. They are particularly grippy and come in so many sizes and colours. Good for the whole fam!

Teva Women's Tirra Sandal,Black/Grey,9 M US

HIKING SANDALS | I lived in a solid pair of hiking sandals for the entirety of my trip in Costa Rica. These sandals have great grip and strap you in so your foot doesn’t move around. Plus, they look cute, in my opinion.

Columbia Women's Switchback III Jacket, Black, Medium

RAIN JACKET | Because Costa Rica is covered in rainforest, that means the weather can be pretty unpredictable. Make sure to bring a hooded rain jacket with you that can pack up small in your day bag just in case. I definitely used mine.

ZOMAKE Lightweight Hiking Backpack Water Resistant,20L Packable Daypack Foldable Small Backpack for Travel

WATER RESISTANT DAYPACK | Costa Rica is a wealth of adventure and with that comes multiple day trips or days spent in and out of your rental car. Make sure to have a water resistant daypack that can carry your water bottle, snacks, mosquito repellent and sunscreen.

LARQ Bottle Movement PureVis - Lightweight Self-Cleaning and Non-Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle with UV Water Sanitizer, 32oz, White/Pebble

PURIFYING REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE | I travel full time, so I’ve seen the devastation single-use plastic can have on our environment. Once I purchased this purifying reusable water bottle, I never looked back. It’s super stylish and you can recharge it through USB!

Rainleaf Microfiber Towel,Blue,24 X 48 Inches

MICROFIBRE TOWEL | Costa Rica is humid, so a normal cotton towel will take forever to dry. Let’s try to avoid that moldy towel smell. For those day trips to waterfalls, hot springs, rivers and beach, make sure to carry along a microfibre quick-drying towel.

JOTO Waterproof Case Universal Phone Holder Pouch, Underwater Cellphone Dry Bag Compatible with iPhone 13 Pro 12 11 Pro Max XS XR X 8 7 6S, Galaxy S21 S20 S10 Note Pixel Up to 7.0" -2 Pack,Black

WATERPROOF PHONE CASE | Plan on repelling or canyoning down a waterfall? Snapping pics in the hot springs? You will need a good waterproof phone case.

Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen – Safe, Natural Sunblock for Sports & Active Use - Water Resistant Sun Cream –UVA/UVB Sun Protection – Vegan, Reef Friendly Sun Lotion, 6oz

SUNSCREEN | Y’all, the sun is HOT in Costa Rica as the country is located close to the equator. Make sure to throw on some sunscreen even if it’s cloudy out. That’s what it gets you. There are some great reef-safe sunscreens out there nowadays, so let’s protect our ocean life!

Natrapel 12-Hour Insect Repellent, 6 oz. Eco-Spray Picaridin Bug Spray – Family Insect Repellent for Mosquitoes, Ticks, & More, Black (0006-6878)

MOSQUITO REPELLENT | Yup, there are mosquitos in the rainforest, who would have thunk. I like to use a more natural mosquito repellent.

Best La Fortuna Hotels in Costa Rica

Okay, let’s take a look at where to stay in La Fortuna Costa Rica. The town of La Fortuna is the best base for your adventures around the Arenal region, but you can also book La Fortuna hotels with hot springs in the outskirts of town nestled in the jungle. 

Most hotel La Fortuna options and Arenal hotels include spacious suites, some with shared pools and volcano views and great amenities. You can definitely find the comforts of home in most of the La Fortuna Costa Rica hotels. 

The Best La Fortuna Hotels: A Detailed Guide

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa via Booking

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa

Features: Arenal Volcano views, natural hot spring, luxury spa, fine dining

Best For: Couples, honeymooners

Distance from Town: 15 minute drive

Arenal Obseratory Lodge & Spa via Booking.com

Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Features: Arenal volcano views, two-bedroom suites, on-site swimming pool and lake

Best For: Families, groups

Distance from Town: 35 minute drive

Condo’s Vista Al Volcan via Booking.com

Condo’s Vista Al Volcan Suites

Features: Arenal Volcano views, quiet downtown location, family-run apartment-style suites (I stayed here and loved it)

Best For: Families, groups, couples

Travel Insurance for La Fortuna

La Fortuna Costa Rica is known for adrenaline-packed adventures, and with that, comes the risk of fall, injury or accident. Don’t be left with huge hospital bills and protect yourself with the right travel insurance.

Travel insurance is one of those things I hope you never have to use. But in case you do, you’ll want reliable insurance on your side. Plus, it’s such a small cost for peace of mind. Please, don’t leave home without it!

I used HeyMondo insurance on my trip to Costa Rica and can recommend it.

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  • Covers trip cancellation – very useful these days!

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