There is nothing more rewarding than the sound of a waterfall and a cool dip in crystal clear water after a hike through the rainforest!
In Costa Rica, water flows freely everywhere and it's well worth the trip to see the country's most beautiful waterfalls. Whether you are travelling solo, as a couple or with your family, by bus or by rental car, it will be easy to find what you are looking for!
1. La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall is a picturesque waterfall located at the base of the dormant Chato volcano where water quickly rushes down into a blue pool in the middle of the dense rainforest. The Tenorio River feeds this enormous waterfall. The water falls continuously for 70 meters into a blue-green pool.
From the small town of the same name, the road leads to the waterfall of La Fortuna. The entrance is 6 kilometers away and is easy to reach.
The entrance fee is 5162 colones (8.64 euros) and the visiting hours are from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. This money is used for the conservation of the place so that tourists arriving in Costa Rica can continue enjoying such enclaves.
Visitors can hike down to the falls on a 15-20 minute hike up a 480-step man-made staircase through the jungle.
You'll have a great view along the way. It's also important to take your time and catch your breath on the way up to enjoy the panoramic views. The forest is full of all shades of green and fascinating wildlife.
2. La Paz Waterfall
The waterfall of la Paz covers an area of about 27 hectares and flows in the middle of the exuberant forest.
The park is located 15 miles north of Alajuela. It is one of the most popular and visited destinations in Costa Rica. La Paz is an authentic natural theme park where, in addition to seeing five beautiful waterfalls, visitors can enjoy a wide range of Costa Rican wildlife in captivity.
It should be noted, however, that the main waterfall in La Paz can be seen free of charge from the road linking Alajuela to the north of the country.
Admission for an adult is $40, while children ages 3-12 pay $24. Those who wish to have lunch on site can enjoy a buffet for an additional $14 for adults and $8 for children.
You can spend the day there if you are in the Central Valley. The guided tours last two hours and it is recommended to wear comfortable shoes and a waterproof jacket, as it usually rains.
The La Paz River flows through the park and has five waterfalls along its course, including the famous La Paz waterfall.
In the park, there is also an aviary with 40 different species of birds, an insectarium, a butterfly farm, a hummingbird garden, a serpentarium, a frog pond and an exhibition of orchids, heliconias and bromeliads. If you keep your eyes open, you'll see squirrel monkeys, sloths, capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, among others.
3. Río Celeste Waterfall
Don't miss the opportunity to visit the spectacular Rio Celeste waterfall, known for its fluorescent blue waters. Its color will leave you speechless.
The Rio Celeste is formed by the confluence of two rivers, Quebrada Agria and Buena Vista, in the rainforest of Tenorio volcano. The river gets its particular coloring from a high concentration of aluminum silicates.
From Bijagua de Upala, the road leads to the Tenorio volcano national park and thus to the Rio Celeste waterfall. Once in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, you can leave your car in a parking lot for the modest sum of 1,000 colones (1.67 euros).
Explore the area on a two-hour, medium-difficulty hike, ideal for hard-core hikers.
4. Verde Waterfall
Another easily accessible waterfall is the Cascada Verde waterfall in Uvita, near Dominical (aka the Uvita waterfall). It's not a big waterfall, but there are several trails that lead to several very nice swimming holes. You can see all kinds of animals and vegetation.
This beautiful waterfall is located 10 minutes drive from Uvita, along a clearly marked road that leads to a private farm.
From the parking lot, you will take a small path that will take you only 5 minutes. The cold water will refresh you after walking in the heat.
5. El Pavón waterfall
Cascada El Pavon is located a little south of Ojochal, in the south of the country. This waterfall has a large rock wedged between the waterfall openings at the top, which makes it quite unique.
You will see beautiful natural pools forming all along the river and you will enjoy diving into the crystal clear waters.
A path leads the more intrepid to the top of the waterfall to see the famous rock. Finally, you can relax in the sun and have a picnic on the sandy area at the foot of the waterfall.
6. Llanos de Cortés waterfall
The Llanos de Cortes waterfall is located 20-30 minutes south of Liberia. It is just outside the town of Bagaces and is sometimes known as the Bagaces Waterfall, in the province of Guanacaste.
Discovering this natural beauty is a worthwhile low-budget adventure.
A visit to the Los Llanos de Cortes waterfall is an opportunity to take memorable photos that will delight your friends. You can spend half a day on this refreshing and inexpensive adventure.
7. Montezuma waterfall
Montezuma Falls consists of three impressive waterfalls, each located next to the other.
The largest waterfall is located at the top of the others and has become a huge tourist attraction, as you can swim in its crystal clear waters and jump off its highest rocks. Wear appropriate non-slip shoes.
The second waterfall is a little further on. You can also jump from its highest rocks at 13 meters high.
Finally, the third waterfall is only 3 meters high. It has swings that are perfect for playing with your children, making it a perfect waterfall to spend a pleasant moment with your family.
There is no entrance fee but you will have to pay for the parking.
8. Catarata del Toro Falls
If you are looking for a quieter experience away from the tourists, visit the Catarata del Toro, one of the country's best kept secrets, not far from the Poás Volcano, more precisely in the town of Bajos del Toro, which is a town in the northern region of Costa Rica's central valley.
Whether you drive your rental car or take the bus to get there, you will find them without too much difficulty.
The falls are located in the middle of a huge rainforest reserve. A path will lead you to the 90 meters high falls. However, if you don't feel like walking, they can also be enjoyed from a distance from the restaurant.
9. Sueño Azul Waterfall
Sueño Azul is located in a private reserve of 1000 hectares. The breathtaking views of the landscape have allowed the filming of important productions in this place, such as the Will Smith movie, "After Earth".
So, if you are a film lover, you know what you have to do. It is located in the province of Heredia, in the district of Horquetas of the canton of Sarapiqui.
It is a private reserve located in the northern plains of the province of Alajuela, only 67 kilometers from San José.
10. La Cangreja Falls
La Cangreja waterfall is located in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, one of the most important tourist destinations when visiting Guanacaste. The entrance fee to Rincon de la Vieja National Park is US$16.95 for foreign adults and US$5.65 for children between the ages of 6 and 12.
Located only 25 kilometers from the city of Liberia, this area offers great ecological diversity with rivers, mountains and trails, perfect for adventurous tourists.
Among the many attractions of this national park is the La Cangreja waterfall, a waterfall of about 40 metres that can be reached by a trail of about 9.5 kilometres round trip.
On the way to La Cangreja, hikers can discover a beautiful landscape surrounded by forests and meadows with tall trees, with some streams and beautiful views. It takes about 2 hours to get there.
Interesting detail: the water temperature is cool, but there is a part where the water is thermal and warm.
11. Waterfalls and Diamante Cave
Between San Isidro de El General and Playa Dominical is hidden in the mountains one of the highest waterfalls in the country where, in addition to enjoying its majesty, you will have the opportunity to visit and even spend the night (yes, yes!) in a cave hidden behind the waterfall.
In the village of Las Tumbas, in the district of Baru, 25 minutes from Dominical on the road to San Isidro, you will find the Diamante property, an area of tropical forest that contains an amazing chain of waterfalls that starts at the top of a 400 meter row and ends with one of the highest waterfalls in the country, Catarata Diamante, with a height of 200 meters.
Continuing the hike, you will reach a semi-open cave, called the Stone House, where people can camp, but not in tents, but in sleeping bags.
The icing on the cake is that at the top of the Diamante waterfall, there is a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean, where the sunsets are particularly spectacular.
12. Los Chorros Waterfall
Los Chorros Leisure Park is located in the district of Tacares, 4 kilometres north of the district capital.
This park covers an area of about 7 hectares. The two waterfalls, which come from the rivers Prendas and Zamora, are 48 meters high each and you will reach them after a 10-minute walk through the bamboo forest.
13. Nauyaca Falls
It is one of the most impressive waterfalls in the Dominical area. Nauyaca consists of several waterfalls, the highest of which is about 45 meters high.
There is a large natural pool of 1,000 m2 where you can swim and have fun. The setting is simply beautiful as the Nauyaca waterfalls are surrounded by dense tropical jungle.
You will have the chance to observe all kinds of animals and lush plant species.