Our Top Costa Rican Waterfalls
The incredible country of Costa Rica is full of so many natural treasures, that choosing what to see with limited time can be quite challenging. So here are the top waterfalls when you visit Costa Rica. Each one is unique in its own way, and all are sure to provide you with an unforgettable experience that you will always remember. Travelers to Costa Rica, do not miss the most beautiful cataracts of Costa Rica, there are plenty. Costa Rica is a country of water: waterfalls, cataracts, volcanoes, rivers, there is everything to make your trip to Costa Rica a treat. The waters are blue, there are natural pools everywhere to swim, dive, and swim and swim. There are also warm waters usually near a volcano, and the nature is lush along the trail that usually runs along the river that feeds the beautiful waterfalls. Only a few hours from any city, be it San Jose, Alajuela, Montezuma, Uvita or La Fortuna, you will always find a beautiful waterfall to swim in after a hike on a trail surrounded by nature. The most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica have to be earned: you have to walk along a natural path, fed by a river, sometimes close to a volcano, after paying a reasonable entrance fee or not and after climbing several steps or not. There are waterfalls for all tastes in Costa Rica, so swim, swim, swim in the beautiful blue waters and natural pools of Costa Rica.
La Fortuna Waterfall at La Fortuna/Arenal
The Fortuna waterfall is located in the province of Alajuela, near the Arenal volcano.
Get prepared to climb around 500 steps to get there! It will take you about 10 minutes to get to the waterfall from the entrance, and 20 to 30 minutes to get back. This waterfall one of the most popular in Costa Rica, so we recommend that you get there early in the morning. Bring good shoes, drinkable water and mosquito repelent. Even if the access is quite challenging, the hike is really worth it especially because at the end yo can take a swim in the blue water surrounded by nature. Only 4 hours from San José, this waterfall is really worth the trip to Costa Rica. The access is very easy, you will pay a very reasonable entrance fee. Swim in the blue waters of these waterfalls fed by the water of the volcano, surrounded by the most luxuriant nature. You can take a tour with a local guide or enjoy a solo hike to get there. You can also enjoy the hot spring water on your way back to the hotel.
Uvita Waterfall, South Pacific
You will find the Uvita waterfall entrance after about 10 minutes walk from town. This waterfall is one of the most famous in the region.
Indeed, besides the beautiful nature, you can enjoy a natural slide from which it is possible to slide. The advantage is that this waterfall is very easy to access, and the entrance fee is very cheap: it will cost you the equivalent of 3$. You will be able to take a swim in the blue water.
Montezuma Waterfall on the Nicoya Peninsula
Located in the Nacoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, this set of three waterfalls is called Montezuma, because of its proximity to the resort town of the same name. It is possible to walk from the center of Montezuma to the waterfall. The region is full of waterfalls, but this is one of the most popular.
We don’t recommend to jump from the highest waterfall. On the other hand, if you feel adventurous, you will find a rope swing near the smallest waterfall. And for the others, a refreshing and relaxing swim in the blue natural pool is always a must!
Rio Celeste Waterfall between Guancaste and Alajuela
The Rio Celeste, located in the Tenorio national park, is also known as the "Blue River" and you will quickly understand why...
Its water is an absolutely impressive turquoise blue! This is due to the chemical reaction of the minerals contained in the water, the reflection of the sun associated with these then create this fluorescent blue color. This specific blue makes the waterfall of Rio Celeste one of the major attractions of the country! Unfortunately, you will not be able to swim, but the sight to admire and the hike are really worth the trip. You will get there after a 30 min walk climbing around 150 steps in the nature.
If you like swimming in clear blue waters, go to this beautiful waterfall. The access is through a path surrounded by lush nature, where you will climb a lot of steps but the hike is worth it because you will be rewarded with a good swim in the natural pool of the cataract.
Be careful, choose your period to go to the Rio Celeste waterfall. If it rained a lot the day before, the water can easily be brownish or a little less blue, and the path to get there particularly muddy. The best period to visit the Rio Celeste waterfall is the dry season.
Grecia Waterfalls, Los Chorros
Los Chorros refers to two waterfalls located in a protected nature reserve, not far from Alajuela or San Jose. Both are about 25 meters high and include a pool where you can enjoy swimming. To get there, you will have to walk for about 30 minutes on a path that runs along the river. The Los Chorros waterfalls are not well known to tourists, but they are very popular with locals who like to spend their weekends there with their families. To visit the Los Chorros waterfalls you can drive from San Jose, get to Grecia town and enjoy a one day trip. The highest of the waterfalls is several feet high. If you like to swim and dive, you can jump from the top of the waterfall, but be careful, the natural blue water pool is not as deep. The trail leading to it is surrounded by nature. Take a tour with a local guide to enjoy the explanations or hike the path to the cataracts on your own. The view is beautiful all along the river. This is one of the most beautiful activities you can do during your trip to Costa Rica. Spend the day there, it is worth it after only a few hours drive from San Jose.
Waterfalls in Nauyaca in the South Pacific
Located in a canyon in the heart of the rainforest, Nauyaca waterfalls consists of two waterfalls that flow into the Barucito River. You can take a refreshing swim in one of the natural blue pools. To get to Nauyaca Falls, you can take a bus from the town of Dominical to San Isidoro. However, the easiest way to get to the Nauyaca waterfalls is to take a cab or rent a car. Once there, you have two options. You will have to walk 4 km by yourself on a beautiful hiking path or hire a local guide for a reasonable fee.
Waterfalls at La Paz in Alajuela
La Paz Waterfall is located inside a private ecological park north of San Jose. Apart from the waterfall, you can enjoy the different attractions offered by the ecological park such as a serpentarium and a butterfly garden, it is ideal for children or simply enjoy the view over the gardens. To go to the La Paz waterfall, the best way is to drive 1h30 from San Jose and spend the day there.
Llanos de Cortes in Guanacaste, and La Cangreja in the región
Located near Liberia, the Llanos de Cortés waterfall is an ideal site to enjoy nature and take a swim in the blue water surrounded by nature. This site is easily accessible from Guanacaste. It is a very popular place to spend a day with your family before heading to the nearby beaches. You can also relax, enjoy the view or take a horseback ride tour. One of the best moments of your trip to Costa Rica.
Pacific Ocean - Cascada The Pavon
El Pavon is a small waterfall located only 20 minutes drive from Uvita. The access to the waterfall is very easy, suitable for everyone. Once there, you can take a swim in the natural water basin. The more courageous travelers can take the trail that leads to the top of the waterfall. We strongly recommend not to jump from the top as the blue pool is not as deep as it seems.
Costa Rica Catarata del Toro Blue Falls are located in Alajuela
Located in the region of Alajuela, the Catarata del Toro is one of the highest in the country at 90 meters high. The peculiarity of the waterfall is that it pours over an ancient volcanic crater surrounded by a magnificent tropical forest and low clouds. The view is wonderful and will be one of your best memories of your trip in Costa Rica. To get there, the only entrance is located near the El Silencio Lodge and Spa where there is a staircase. From there, there is a 45 minute hike to access the waterfall.