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Top 3 Best Ways How To Get From Rio Celeste to La Fortuna

How To Get From Rio Celeste to La Fortuna

Many people travel from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna annually. And you might be planning on going this route, but you’re probably not sure whether or not you should rent a car, take a flight, hire a private car service, or use the Costa Rican public transportation system to make it, right?

You’re not alone. Many people have come to me with this question, and I’ve helped them find the best ways to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna in the best way for them.

This article will discuss the three main ways to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna, from public buses to hiring a private car service. Let’s dive in and find out which option is best for you.

Transportation From Rio Celeste to La Fortuna

  1. Public Bus
  2. Private Shuttles
  3. Driving (Car Rental)

There are three ways to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna. You can use public transportation, take a private shuttle, or drive a rental car. Generally, the first option is more affordable, and the latter is more convenient.

Public transportation is the cheapest way to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna. On the other hand, hiring a private transportation service is the easiest and the fastest option, while driving a rental car gives you more flexibility and freedom. 

Keep scrolling to find out how each option ranks against each other based on its pros and cons so that you can make the best of your trip from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna. 

Let’s start by comparing the different ways to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna by how fast and how affordable each option is:

How Long Does it Take to Get From Rio Celeste to La Fortuna? 

Depending on your transportation, it takes 1.5 to 2.5 hours to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna. For example, if you travel with a local, experienced driver, it should only take an hour and a half to get to La Fortuna. On the other hand, this trip will take two hours and a half if you use public transportation.

Fastest Ways to Get From Rio Celeste to La Fortuna

Transportation Service How Long it Takes
Private Shuttle 1.5 Hours
Driving 2 Hours
Public Bus 2.5 Hours

Cheapest Ways to Get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna

Transportation Service Price Per Person (USD)
Public Transportation $70 – $90
Driving (Car Rental) $30 – $60
Private Transfer $100 – $110


  • These are estimations to give you an idea.
  • The above rates do not include the 13% IVA tax.
  • These prices assume there is a minimum of two travelers.
  • Renting a car consists of the base rate, insurance, and fuel.
  • Prices can fluctuate throughout the year based on market conditions and demand.

Keep reading more detailed information on each service and how they work.

Rio Celeste to La Fortuna Bus

The cheapest way to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna is to use the public bus. However, the trip is not straightforward because no direct bus connects these destinations. And it’s not very comfortable because you may need to travel standing for a long time and the buses lack air conditioning.

There is no direct bus from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna. You must take a taxi from Rio Celeste to Upala and then a bus from Upala to Ciudad Quesada, which stops by La Fortuna. 

If you’re departing from Rio Celeste National Park, you can ask the receptionist to call a taxi. Receptionists at the park speak English, so you can explain that you’re heading to Upala’s terminal to take the bus from Upala to Ciudad Quesada. They will then present this to the taxi driver, who will likely not speak English. This taxi will take about an hour and cost between $65 and $80.

Once you arrive at the . And before you get on the bus, you must let the driver know you’re heading to La Fortuna. Even though the driver will likely not speak English, you can say “La Fortuna por favor,” and he will get that you’re heading in that direction. 

It’s essential to tell the driver that you’re going to La Fortuna. Otherwise, he might not make the stop, or he might make it, and you will not know about it, and you miss it. And if this happens, you will need to get off at Ciudad Quesada and take a one-hour, $50-$70 taxi to get back to La Fortuna. Therefore, I recommend you tell the driver you’re going to La Fortuna, so when he gets there, he will let you know or shout out “La Fortuna.”

Finally, once you get to the , you may need to walk or take another taxi to get to your destination. Some lodges, such as Selina La Fortuna, are within walking distance of the terminal. Do the research and find out how far your lodging is from the La Fortuna bus terminal, so you can prepare to walk or take a taxi accordingly.

That’s how you get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna by public bus, one of the easiest ways to travel using public transportation between two touristy destinations in Costa Rica.

Now that we know how to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna using public transportation, let’s talk about how to make this trip much faster using other means of transportation, such as driving or hiring a private shuttle.

Drive From Rio Celeste to La Fortuna

Generally, driving is the fastest way from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna, except if you lack experience driving in Costa Rica. Otherwise, a Private Car Service (a.k.a. a Private Shuttle or Private Transfer) will be faster. However, it would be best to consider other factors and caveats before renting a car to make this trip. Let’s explore them. 

Driving From from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna Can Be Challenging if You’ve Never Driven in Costa Rica

Driving from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna is simple, but it’s not necessarily easy. There are crazy local drivers, unpredictable and harsh weather conditions, and narrow roads in bad shape. 

As mentioned above, Costa Ricans drive significantly faster than foreigners. In addition to this, since we know the roads, as locals, we can make risky moves that might scare someone who has never driven in our country. For example, it’s common to see local drivers going full speed, passing multiple vehicles on a relatively narrow road.

If you live in Costa Rica and have been through that route thousands of times, you will not see anything particularly wrong with this. But if you come from a developed country where the roads are much broader, and there are usually multiple lines on all the highways, you might see such a move as imprudent. 

On the other hand, you have the unpredictable weather conditions of Costa Rica. You might be driving with a clear sky when suddenly a cloud forms ahead, pouring rain all over the place. Driving under changing weather conditions might not be such a big problem during the summertime from December through April, but it can get extremely challenging during the rainy season. 

In Costa Rica, the rainy season is not so bad from May through August. However, it can get scary sometimes during September and October, especially if you stumble upon a storm while driving. These are the top 2 rainy months and the top months for accidents on the road. 

The rain also causes a lot of damage to the roads, which worsens during the rainy season. Many potholes come to life during this time of the year, and it takes a couple of months for the government to repair the cracks. 

A tourist’s main problem with potholes is that they can make a vehicle’s tire explode. Exploding tires do not usually cause many accidents in Costa Rica. However, they can easily create a trip very stressful for a tourist, who will need to phone in the car rental to get another vehicle and then file the insurance paperwork. It’s not dramatic, but it can ruin a few hours of your dream vacation time. 

Costa Rica Rental Car Comparison Tool

Now that you have the ins and outs of driving from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna, it may be time to find a reasonable Rental Car. If this is your case, I recommend using the . You can find the best car rental deals in one place. Choose the city or airport where you plan to pick up a rental car, and the tool will instantly show you the best deals across the major rental car companies in Costa Rica. 

Private Shuttle From Rio Celeste to La Fortuna

We have already explored how complicated it is to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna using public transportation. We also covered how driving can be problematic, so what’s the easiest way to make this trip? 

Booking a private car service is arguably the easiest way to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna.

Hiring a Private Transportation Service, or a “Private Shuttle,” as locals call it, is the easiest way to get from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna. You can arrange a specific time and place with a private shuttle, and a transportation company will pick you up and take you to your lodge in La Fortuna. 

Here at Arenal Tours, we offer a private door-to-door service, so you don’t need to worry about carrying your luggage or walking around the public roads, compromising your safety and belongings. 

You also don’t need to worry about driving in a foreign country with roads that might differ significantly from the streets you’re used to riding back home. 

Instead, you arrange the pickup time and place. Then, one of our local professional drivers will pick you up with a modern vehicle to take you from your departure place in Rio Celeste to your destination in La Fortuna. 

The only disadvantage of hiring this type of transportation service is the price. Going on a private transfer is the most comfortable, convenient, and straightforward option but also pricey. 

Depending on the pickup and dropoff places, a private transfer will usually cost $220 for 1 to 6 passengers. The pickup time can also influence your pricing. For example, this service might get $20+ higher if you want to travel at night. And prices for private transfers are also subject to increase as demand rises, especially during the busiest days, so I recommend booking ahead of time. 

Rio Celeste to La Fortuna

There are no Group Shuttles from Rio Celeste to La Fortuna. 

I’m leaving this topic for last since, as of the time of writing this article, this route is not available, yet, many travelers have asked me about it. Therefore, the closest option would be a private shuttle discussed in the previous section.

Here’s the end of this article. Thank you for reading this far, and feel free to share this info with fellow travelers as you deem appropriate. Happy travels and ¡Pura Vida, amigos!

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About the Author

Daniel Lalinde

I am the founder of send us a message, and we will happily assist you! 


Use our Rental Car Comparison Tool to Find the Lowest Prices (Guaranteed) On Car Rentals To Visit Costa Rica. Choose the city or airport where you plan to pick it up, and our tool will show you the top deals in real-time.