Because there are no roads in Tortuguero, most travelers will need to make the final leg of their 111-mile (179 km) journey to Arenal by boat. Taking a flight is the best option as you can land directly in La Fortuna, but this option is only available from December-April during the high season.
If you don't fly, you'll have to first take a water taxi to the dock in La Pavona, but this boat ride is it's own trip highlight as you'll weave through the mangrove and see plenty of wildlife along the way. Once you arrive in La Pavona, you can either hire a private driver or book a seat on a group shuttle to get to La Fortuna.
If you're an outdoorsy person who likes a little adventure, consider this 11-day itinerary that begins in Tortuguero and takes you ziplining and whitewater rafting in La Fortuna, to the famous hanging bridges in Monteverde, and more.
Duration: 30 minutes, longer if traveling in the off season
The quickest and easiest way to get from Tortuguero to La Fortuna is by taking one of the daily direct flights from the small Tortuguero Airport to the La Fortuna Arenal Airport. For travelers who are short on time, this is a great option as you can easily get from your remote location to your destination in just half an hour without having to switch modes of transit. Outside of the high season, you can fly to San Jose and then take another flight on to Arenal, but this will add more time.
By Boat and Private Transfer
Duration: 4.5 hours
If you're traveling outside of the high season or would rather see a bit more scenery on your route, you can take a water taxi to the dock in La Pavona and then hire a private driver to take to La Fortuna. You'll be able to stop whenever you'd like for food, breaks, or photo opportunities, and there's plenty of beautiful scenery to see on Route 247 as it takes you out of the outer edges of the park.
By Boat and Group Shuttle
Duration: 5 hours
The group shuttles are almost as quick as a private transfer, and although you can book a boat and shuttle separately, you can easily find packaged tickets. While there is some waiting around for other travelers with this option, you'll still have a comfortable and convenient journey filled with opportunities to spot some of the area's best wildlife.