Whenever we think about Costa Rica, the first things that come to our mind are rainforests filled with clouds and several national parks full of some of the exotic plant and animal species. One thing that we often forget is that this country is home to the most amazing waterfalls in the whole world. Some of these waterfalls are big and will make your jaw drop by the height they possess. While on the other hand some of the others may not be that tall but will stun you with their beauty. Most of them are easily accessible but in some cases, you need to make a little effort to get close to Mother Nature. You can also swim in the pools located right under the waterfalls and you will definitely feel relieved by this. In case you are planning a tour to Costa Rica then this article is a must-read for you as here we are going to make a list of some of the best Waterfalls in Costa Rica that you can visit to satisfy your wanderlust. So, without any further delay, let’s dive deep into the topic of discussion and talk about the waterfalls of Costa Rica.
Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica
15La Fortuna Waterfall
The first name that appears in our list of best waterfalls in Costa Rica is La Fortuna waterfalls. This waterfall which is located inside of the very popular Arenal Volcano National Park is the most visited waterfall in Costa Rica and that is why irrespective of the time of year this place remains crowded. Water from La Fortuna starts to flow among the surrounding rainforest which grows on the rocky surface of Arenal volcano and then it takes a dip of 75 meters to create this magnificent looking waterfall. There are several adventurous activities in which you can take part such as zip-lining, swimming in the pool located right beneath the La Fortuna waterfall. All the modern facilities are present here to make it easy for the visitors like restrooms, changing rooms, parking space, and even a gift shop to buy souvenirs. To make the journey smooth a smooth path has been carved out of the surrounding mountains and one can also take the support of the handrails while descending down. Once you reach the bottom pool which is covered by rocks from all the sides let visitors swim in it as mentioned earlier. But we recommend that one should avoid getting in the middle of the pool where the water current is high. To enter the national park an adult needs to pay a total of 18 USD.
14Blue Falls of Costa Rica
Costa Rica never fails to surprise you with its natural beauty and one of the most attractive things that you can do in this country is to visit some of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica. Though we are only talking about Costa Rica, to be honest, these are some of the best waterfalls all over the world. Both these waterfalls are located in the Bajos del Toro area. The height of these waterfalls may not be jaw-dropping but both of them are deeply embedded inside the rainforest. Blue-colored water flows through the stream and though this Blue falls is quite popular among the locals, tourists often find it difficult to reach the waterfalls. So, one thing that is guaranteed is that you will find some alone time here at Blue falls in Costa Rica. This waterfall is located on private land. So, you need to take permission from the owners for visiting the waterfalls.
13Cascada El Pavon
You need not pay a single penny to visit Cascada El Pavon unlike most of the Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica which take an entry fee from the visitors. The waterfall is a hidden gem of Costa Rica. Not many people know about this place and that is why you will spend some alone time amidst the nature here and no one will disturb your solace. The name ‘Cascada El Pavon’ is given to this waterfall by the locals of the nearby town, Ojochal. The waterfall is quite small. A comparatively smaller piece of rock is located right in between two big chunks of rock and right in between these bigger rocks one can see Cascada El Pavon and its crystal clear water which flows into the plunge pool situated exactly under the waterfall. The water of the pool is neither too shallow nor too deep and that is what makes it ideal for swimming. You can also do other adventurous activities such as snorkeling and cliff jumping. This might excite you more to visit this waterfall.
12Catarata Llanos de Cortes
Catarata Llanos de Cortes is located at Guanacaste in Bagaces which is located in a close vicinity of Liberia. You can plan a picnic with your family and the nearest place where you will get the facility of vehicles to reach Bagaces is Playas del Coco. Weather in this part of Costa Rica gets extremely dry in between the months of January and May but this place is just like an oasis in the middle of a desert. A large pool can be seen underneath the waterfall and as we were talking about the dry weather during this time the water of the waterbody gets extremely shallow but you can definitely take a dip in the water after a long walk through the rainforest under the scorching sunlight. No matter what you do in that plunge pool, you should not try to swim exactly under the waterfall or even try to go beyond the waterfall which can prove to be fatal. To do more adventurous activities you can climb on the rocks which surround the pool and can jump off from them. To make the place more accessible for the visitor’s new developments have been made in recent years. So, undoubtedly we can say that Catarata Llanos de Cortes is one of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica.
11Los Chorros Waterfalls
Los Chorros waterfalls which means ‘The Jets’ in English justifies the name completely because of the sheer height both these waterfalls possess. Both the waterfalls are located inside of a recreational park in the Central Valley of Costa Rica. You need to go to the town called Grecia and it is quiet and you will definitely find solace during your stay in this place. After entering the recreational park you need to go a little distance to get to the first waterfall and that is what makes it one of the easily accessible waterfalls all over Costa Rica. The other waterfall is just around the corner of the area and you will definitely have a lot of fun while discovering the second waterfall as it is located in the inner section of the recreational park. So, you have to take a short hike to reach the second waterfall of Los Chorros. Though it is one of the best Waterfalls in Costa Rica, it was closed during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Clear information is not available on whether the park is open or not.
If you are looking forward to spending one or two days of your vacation quietly then this small town in the Nicoya Peninsula can offer exactly that to you. The town has its own charm and what makes this place even more beautiful is the waterfall which is named after the town. Montezuma waterfall is a three-tiered waterfall. You can climb to the top of the mountain from which the waterfall comes 60 feet down. Montezuma first became popular when eminent personality Tom Bardy jumped off from the top of the waterfall. To get to the top you need to take a stroll down to the Sun trail which is amazing in itself and you will get several moments to cherish in your journey. This trail is known as the Sun trail and as an entrance cum maintenance fee one has to pay 2000 colons. If you have a faint heart then you should opt-out from jumping off the cliff into the plunge pool situated right below the waterfall. The hiking trail is very slippery and the tendency of sleeping on the wet rocks increases during monsoon, so having a non-slippery shoe is a must-have if you decide to go on this trail.
Some of the Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica can be located on the Southern Pacific side of Costa Rica. The reason behind this increasing number of waterfalls in this region is the presence of tall mountain ranges and rainforests. Most of the waterfalls are hidden deep inside the rainforest and you can’t see them from the roads. Uvita Waterfall is unlike these hidden gems and can be easily accessed by visitors who are looking to spend a relaxing day near a waterfall. This waterfall is not tall enough but one of the most exciting things about this waterfall is that it has a natural slide which makes the overall experience of visiting this place more fun. Just climb all the way to the top from where the waterfall originates and from there you can take the slide and at the end, you will find yourself into the swimming hole underneath the Uvita waterfall. You can easily find the entry point of the waterfall if you start driving your car towards the Uvita Info Centre and on your way, you will find an unpaved road. Drive through that road and you will see the road sign on the right-hand side indicating the presence of the waterfall. One needs to pay approximately 2 USD to enter this place which is 1000 colones to be exact. To make your visit more comfortable a cafeteria has also been built in close proximity to the parking lot. This cafeteria is located within a walking distance of 2 minutes from the parking space.
8Rio Celeste Waterfall
Among all the best waterfalls in Costa Rica, this is considered one of the worst-kept secrets. The Rio Celeste waterfall has been a regular feature in most of the travel videos that you will see on the internet about Costa Rica. Rio Celeste waterfall looks amazing most of the time in a year but the best time to visit the waterfall along with the Rio Celeste river in which the waterfall falls is when the weather remains dry, that is in between the months of December and April. At this time the vibrant turquoise blue color creates a majestic view. The river flows inside of the Tenorio Volcano National Park and an adult needs to pay a total of 12 USD as an entry fee. From the park gate, you need to take an approximately 30 minutes long trail to reach the waterfall. The total roundtrip hike is 4 hours long and on your way, you will come across the lush green rainforest. As it is a national park the rainforest is filled with some of the exotic species of monkeys, frogs, and butterflies. No visitor is allowed to swim in the waterbody located just below the waterfall. But you can take some of the amazing pictures of this nature’s beauty from the observatory platform and also from the stairways which lead to the waterfall.
No discussion about the best Waterfalls in Costa Rica can be completed without talking about the Nauyaca waterfalls located in the South Pacific region of Costa Rica. This waterfall is clearly divided into two parts and it is located deep inside the forest. As Nauyaca waterfall is difficult to access, the place is visited by very few people even on holidays. If you are traveling by road then right before entering Playa Dominical via bridge you will find a left turn close to Costanera Sur which will lead to Platanillo. There you will come across the sign of the waterfall office located nearby on the right side of the road. The first part of the waterfall is taller than the second part of the Nauyaca waterfall and at the bottom of the second waterfall, a huge swimming hole is present where people can relax after reaching the waterfall by taking a strenuous journey. You need to walk through the jungle and the hike is nearly 4 km long and you will find it highly refreshing as you will be full of sweat after completing the hike. If you do not want to take that much stress then there are also easier ways to reach the waterfalls. You can ride on horseback or you can also take a truck ride to reach the waterfall. These rides are offered by the owners of the property as the area in which the waterfall is located is not entirely owned by the government. There is also another way in which you can access Nauyaca waterfall. If you choose to visit Nauyaca waterfall park then from there you can avail yourself a tractor ride and after the ride, you still need to walk approximately for 10 minutes to reach the waterfall. To take the hiking trail a visitor needs to pay a fee of 8 USD.
6La Paz Waterfalls
If you are looking for a place where you will get to see more than one waterfall then La Paz waterfalls is a culmination of some of the best Waterfalls in Costa Rica There are actually a total of 5 waterfalls inside of this La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park which is located somewhere in between two of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica, San Jose, and La Fortuna. La Paz is one of them and as it is the tallest one, 110 feet tall, the nature park is named after it. Other than that you will also come across Templo waterfall, Encantada waterfall, Escondida waterfall, and probably the most beautiful and among them all the Magia Blanca waterfall which means the ‘white magic’ waterfall. Moreover, you will not get bored because of the animal sanctuary, walking trails that will lead you to your desired destinations, and finally to add the cherry on top of the cake a butterfly garden. You can hire a private car to reach the waterfall or you can also avail public transport but it will take more time. Each of the waterfalls is distinctive in terms of beauty. At the entrance, you have to pay an entry fee 0f 44 USD. Poas Volcano National Park is also located in close vicinity, so you can enjoy both in a single day. Both the destinations can be covered in one single day. After the hikes, you can eat good quality food in the nearby restaurants and there are also hot springs where you can take a dip to get relief after a tiring day.
5Catarata La Cangreja
Rincón de la Vieja National Park is divided into many sectors and in one of these sectors you can see Catarata La Cangreja which looks magnificent but most of the tourists avoid this place. If you are wondering why? Well, the answer to this question is that one has to take an approximately 3.5 km long hike to reach the waterfall from the entrance of the national park mentioned earlier. The weather becomes hot and humid in the summer months, so it seems highly unlikely to complete this hike during this time. You need to walk through dry rainforest and dry fields but what you will see at the end of the journey will be worth the efforts that you will put into the journey. You cannot take a dip in the natural swimming pool located beneath the waterfall assign three clearly mention ‘No Swimming’.
4Catarata del Toro
Catarata del Toro is situated in the town called Bajos del Toro and this will definitely make it to the list of some of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica as the waterfall has an astonishing height of 270 feet. Though this waterfall presents the wanderers with the splendid beauty of nature, it is less popular than some of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica that we have discussed earlier such as La Fortuna and Rio Celeste. The waterfall originates from a volcanic crater and it is private property so you require a proper license to get a view of the waterfall. Owners of the place are the same guys who own the land on which blue falls of Costa Rica is located and they have created a garden alongside the hiking trail. You will get several places from where you will get a breathtaking view of Catarata del Toro. One needs to climb down more than 200 steps and descending down is not easy as the steps are very steep in nature. Swimming is strictly prohibited but after reaching the end of the hiking trail you can enjoy the beauty of the rocks of various colors which can be seen inside of the crater and the water body. This single feature makes it one of those waterfalls possessing magnificent views of nature not only in Costa Rica but also in all of Central America.
3Jaco Mountain Waterfalls
All the waterfalls in the Jaco mountains are located inside of a private firm. You can take the Jaco waterfall hike to visit the waterfalls. Other than that there is another hike which you can be a part of to get an amazing view of the waterfalls which is the Bijagual waterfall hike. You need to pay an entry fee of 20 USD as you are entering private property and the entrance is located close to the Carara National Park. Both the hikes are approximately 45 minutes long and if you are not comfortable with hiking you can also take a horseback ride to reach your destination. These horseback rides are offered by the owners of the land. Swimming and taking baths are allowed in the plunge pools located underneath the waterfalls and you can definitely spend some quality time there with your loved ones.
Oropendola waterfall is situated inside of the Rincon de la Vieja national park. From the entry point, you need to take a close to 1 mile long round trip trail to reach the waterfall. Skilled hikers and as well as beginners can go on this hiking trail as it is made in such a way and to support the beginners a suspension bridge is also there. The pool and the waterfall both are surrounded by volcanic rocks and on those rocks spots of green are visible. We almost forgot to tell you to carry your swimming suit with you as swimming is allowed in the plunge pool located under the Oropendola waterfall.
If you are planning to visit the mountain town of Bijagual during your trip to Costa Rica, then you must pay a visit to this gigantic waterfall which is close to 600 feet tall. This town is located close to the central part of the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica. You need to take a horseback ride through the lush green rainforest as there is no paved way for the hikers. On your way, you will come across some of the fishing villages where you will get a chance to interact with the villagers and you will also come to know about their lives in the Pacific Ocean. You will also come very close to the wildlife of this region as most of the tourists are able to spot Scarlet Macaws, Sloths, several species of monkeys during the horse ride. After reaching the waterfall you can take a rest near the waterfall but one thing is certain that you will be mesmerized by the surrounding beauty of tall mountains and rainforest.
Diamante waterfall which is located on the South Pacific Coast of Costa Rica is the tallest waterfall all over Costa Rica and this waterfall is approximately 600 feet tall.
Swimming is allowed in most of the pools located underneath the waterfalls but in some of them, it is strictly prohibited. So, you should avoid swimming in them as it can put you in legal trouble.
Of course, you will definitely cherish every single moment that you will spend in these waterfalls. You might find some of the journeys to reach the waterfall tricky and strenuous but once you reach the waterfall you will be stunned by its enormous beauty of it.
In most cases, you need to walk to the waterfall. But some of the waterfalls are located on private land. Owners of those lands offer horse rides and even truck rides so that visitors can reach the waterfall easily.
As we have reached the end of this article we hope that now you are more excited about your upcoming trip to Costa Rica and in case this country is not on your bucket list of places that you need to visit, we highly recommend you to add it now. This is not only because of the Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica as you know in this country you will come across the rainforest, beaches and most importantly some breathtaking beauties of mother nature itself. Before planning the trip you need to take a look at the weather as it may deeply impact your trip. There are several hotels and resorts where you can get a comfortable stay. You can take a guided tour to these waterfalls or you can also explore these places on your own which comes with its fair share of excitement. All of the waterfalls are beautiful in their own way so try to explore them all. Happy holidays!