8 Dec 2017
Even the smallest waterfall cascading down a verdant mountainside says, “Paradise,” loud and clear. Costa Rica has so many beautiful waterfalls that it’s hard to choose among them.
Here are a few of our “must see” favorite waterfalls in Costa Rica.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Five waterfalls cascade down the sides of Poas Volcano within the privately owned La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. Admission includes 35km of walking trails, waterfall garden, butterfly observatory, serpentarium, frog exhibit and hummingbird garden, as well as a wildlife preserve for more than 100 species of rescued animals. There are several waterfall-viewing areas; the last one overlooks three waterfalls. One of the most visited attractions in Costa Rica, the Waterfall Gardens are on the way to Jacó and Los Sueños—a perfect day out and you’ll still arrive at Los Sueños in time for dinner!
Nauyaca Waterfall has 2 levels, a top tier dropping 200 feet to the first pool, overflowing into the second, which also has a swimming hole at the bottom. A 2-hour drive south from Los Sueños brings you to the trailhead, a well-maintained trail. The site also has a basic toilet and changing room. The hourlong hike through tropical rainforest has a few steep spots, but should be no trouble. If you prefer, a local tour offers guided horseback rides to and from the falls.
If you want to strike off on your own, the trailhead up the mountain is accessed from the driveway across from the gas station at the south end of Jacó beach. It’s a popular hike, just ask for directions. The trail ends at the waterfall. It’s free, be sure to bring water, snacks and sunscreen. If you drive, don’t leave valuables in your car.
Vista Los Sueños: guided horseback riding tour through private rainforest. At the end of the trail, it’s a 15-minute hike to the waterfall, complete with natural swimming hole and water slides.
Tocori Falls: near Manuel Antonio National Park, an hourlong horseback ride to 4 waterfalls on private property. The first is a short walk and the others are just 1/4 mile further along. A refreshing dip in the natural pool at the base of the falls awaits. The tour includes a traditional lunch back at the ranch house.
The Park at Ocean Ranch: offers a variety of combo tours that include ziplining, canyoneering and waterfall rappelling, as well as riverside jungle hikes to 10 waterfalls.
HRG Concierge staff can help you with any aspect of booking your outing. Access to all waterfalls requires some walking or hiking over slippery surfaces: wear sensible shoes. Also, carry water and take bug spray and a light waterproof jacket or poncho. Depending on the waterfall, swimming is allowed; be sure to ask before you jump in. Above all, don’t forget the camera!