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At eye level, you will see tour-selling touts and hordes of tourists, pizza and postcards: evidence of a sleepy mountain town whose innocence has long been shattered. But whether the volcano is sunshine soaked or cloud-shrouded, it is always a sight to behold. This town has been a somnolent agricultural region for most of its history. La Fortuna is one of Costa Rica’s top destinations for travelers including some friends of mine that own an Edmonton roofing and siding company. Here are the top experiences in La Fortuna, Costa Rica.

Catarata Rio Fortuna
You can catch a glimpse of the glistering 70 meter ribbon of clear water pouring via a canyon of volcanic rock arrayed in ferns and bromeliads with minimal sweating. Though it is risky to dive underneath the thundering falls, there is a range of ideal swimming holes with breathtaking views tiling the canyon in aquamarine. Make sure you arrive early to beat the crowds as the park gets filled up pretty quickly.

Ecocentro Danaus
4km east of the town, this center has an efficient trail system that is perfect for birding and spotting mammals like howler monkeys, coatis and sloths. While here, don’t miss the butterfly garden, the lake containing turtles and caiman as well as the ranarium featuring poison-dart monkeys. For an excellent night tour, reserve in advance.

Arenal Natura
Located 6 kilometer west of town, Arenal Natura is an impeccable nature experience that includes crocs, snakes, turtles and frogs. Also, the birdlife is immense here. Arenal violently erupted in 1968 after almost 400 years of being dormant and buried the villages of Tabacon, San Luis, and Pueblo Nuevo. Excellent guides will ensure you don’t miss anything in the park, and there is a photography tour to help visitors capture it all. There are discounted rates for students and children.

Catholic Church
The Catholic Church is a prominent landmark overseeing La Fortuna central plaza. Often, the landscaped green is dotted with souvenir stands and outdoor art exhibits, and this church is a great refuge when it starts to rain suddenly (as it often does).

Mirador El Silencio
Mirador El Silencio is a private reserve set on about 22 hectares. It is located about 11km west of the town and is a mix of secondary and primary forest, filled with variety of life, from three species of monkey to morpho butterflies, and a wide range of plant life. There are 4 trails marked with informative signs, besides the fabulous lookouts.