To get from Liberia to La Fortuna, you have to take three busses:
Bus #1: 7:45am from Liberia to Cañas – 1500 colones per person
Bus #2: Arrive in Cañas at 9:05am and hop on a bus to Tilarán at 9:10am – 1200 colones per person
Bus #3: Arrive in Tilarán at 9:45am and wait until 12:30pm for a bus to to La Fortuna – Arrive in La Fortuna around 2:30pm. Busses only depart from Tilarán twice a day – at 7am and 12:30pm.
We had planned to stay at Essence Arenal in El Castillo, but it was too difficult to based on the time we arrived (there are shuttles 3 times a day – 9:30am, 12:30am, and 5:30pm). La Fortuna is tourist-galore, and the prices illustrate that. The town as a whole was cute, but it’s mainly used as a gateway to Volcán Arenal.
Volcán Arenal National Park, known for Volcán Arenal’s spewing lava that stopped in 2010, is a popular national park and best accessed on a sunny cloudless day. Unfortunately, the day we chose to visit the park was exceptionally rainy. To get there, we took the public bus at 8am (and you can take it back to La Fortuna at 2pm), got dropped off three kilometers from the entrance, paid the $15 entrance fee, and we were in the national park! The only problem was that…we couldn’t see the volcano. We couldn’t even see the outline of a volcano. The rain and cloud coverage was just too much. We walked around for about 3-4 hours until we had done every trail and were soaked to the bone. For us, the national park was a complete waste of time and money, but I’ve heard that it’s beautiful in the proper weather.
Once we exited the park, we realized that we’d have to blow 3 hours before the bus back to La Fortuna. We were cold, wet, and miserable. What could we do other than wait around in our sopping wet clothes? Hitch hike, of course! Philip and I had never properly hitchhiked, and as cars rolled right passed us we began to get a bit discouraged, but I was not in the mood to be sitting around in the pouring rain for longer than necessary. Within a few minutes, a lovely Swiss couple picked us up, explained that they used to hitchhike when they were our ages, and invited us to lunch! So sweet!