So you’ve enjoyed your 5-star surfing session and are now looking to enjoy more of the beauty of Costa Rica. Why not keep the water-themed fun going by visiting some of the nation’s most gorgeous waterfalls? With breathtaking scenery, crystal clear waters, and a plethora of activities for the whole family to enjoy, visiting these natural wonders can offer tons of fun and precious memories you can take back home with you. Two of these gems are offered as optional tours that we can help you arrange!
Check out this list of the top 10 best waterfalls in Costa Rica:
1. Nauyaca Waterfalls, South Pacific Coast
This is one of the top 5 activities we arrange for our guests as an optional activity. The breathtaking Nauyaca Waterfalls are located in the Costa Ballena area, about 20 minutes from Dominical. The upper and lower waterfalls of Nauyaca are distinct in their layout, with water pouring over the cliffside to fall over 140 feet before the following 60-foot plunge. The placement of this waterfall is one of its most spectacular features, allowing travelers to witness the region’s vibrant plant life and rich biodiversity.
Traveling there may be difficult due to its remote location in the thick rainforest, but the views alone make the journey well worth it! Guests may reach the falls through horseback riding, trekking, or a 4×4 vehicle. Hikers and horseback riders use the same well-maintained route, keeping a lookout for wildlife such as monkeys and birds.
2. La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Cloud Forest
As part of our guest’s Saturday departure itinerary, we can help arrange this excursion. The La Paz Waterfall Gardens, located in the Cloud Forest north-west of San Jose, is Costa Rica’s most visited privately-owned natural destination. The region has a nature trail, five waterfalls, and a rescued wildlife preserve with over 100 animal species. A Butterfly Observatory, Serpentarium, Frog Exhibit, and Hummingbird Garden are just some of the incredible features you can view on the property.
The La Paz Waterfall Gardens are available to the public all year and are mostly self-guided, allowing visitors to customize their experience and decide for themselves how much ground they’d like to cover. With expansive wildlife and tropical scenery to absorb, it’s easy to spend an entire day wandering the gardens and waterfalls at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
A bonus to this destination is we also can arrange a visit to Poás Volcano National Park – home to one of the largest craters in the world and boasts magnificent natural landscapes.
3. La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano
The waterfall, which is Spanish for “Fortune,” is the focus of several trips near the Arenal Volcano and is fed by the Tenorio River. The sight of the waterfall gushing from a cliff at the base of the extinct Chato volcano and dropping 230 feet before reaching a tropical pond surrounded by the lush, green rainforest of the Arenal Mountain range is breathtaking. People come from far and wide to appreciate the beauty of La Fortuna as well as bathe in its surrounding hot springs.
The journey from the cliff’s beginning point to the waterfall takes around 15 minutes and follows a stairway cut into the mountainside. You can decide to take a slightly alternate tour where you’ll have to cross an adrenaline-inducing hanging bridge.
4. Uvita Waterfall, South Pacific
Uvita waterfall is a small waterfall perfect for little ones since the surrounding rocks form a natural slide. Traveling there from Uvita is also quite simple, and there’s a small fee to enter. The owners have also erected a modest café adjacent to the parking lot, allowing visitors to grab a coffee and a quick bite.
To get there from the main town, drive along the gravel road a few hundred feet till you reach the Uvita Info Center. You’ll notice signage for the Uvita waterfall and the parking area on the right. The hike down to the actual pool and waterfall only takes two minutes.
5. Rio Celeste Waterfall, Guanacaste
When we think about the best waterfalls in Costa Rica, the Rio Celeste waterfalls are top of mind. It is fed by the sky-blue Rio Celeste river that flows through the scenic Tenorio Volcano National Park. Although swimming is no longer permitted, the viewing deck and stairs are great for taking some Insta-worthy photos.
The site has become quite popular in recent years. To avoid crowds, arrive on or before the park opens at 8 a.m. The walk from the entrance takes around 30 minutes, and you may continue on the route to observe the whole of the river. Most visitors come to Rio Celeste for a day trip from La Fortuna or Guanacaste.
6. Bajos del Toro Waterfall, Cloud Forest
The Bajos del Toro Waterfall, one of the highest in the country with a 300-foot drop, is hidden away in the Bajos del Toro Cloud Forest, approximately one and a half hours from San Jose.
For the entire Bajos del Toro experience, we highly recommend staying at El Silencio Luxury Lodge. Hike the meandering route down to the foot of the waterfall with a guide for approximately an hour to get up close and personal with the roaring mist of this natural wonder. Visitors can witness rare Costa Rican flora and animals in the nearby streams and pools. Because the region is not overrun with tourists, wildlife is abundant, including blue morpho butterflies, armadillos, and plenty of colorful hummingbirds.
7. Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, Guanacaste
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall is located in Bagaces, roughly 30 minutes (16 miles) south of Liberia. The pool at the foot of the falls is clean and clear, making it ideal for a cool dip on a hot day. There’s also a little white-sand beach ideal for picnics and lounging around. Although steep, the walk from the parking lot to the cascade is a brief ten minutes. The forest leading up to the falls is lush and deep, with birds and monkeys visible along the route. Llanos de Cortez does not charge admission, although donations to the local community school are appreciated. Because this is considered one of the hidden gems of Costa Rica, excursions to waterfalls can be organized with the help of a guide.
8. Oropendola Waterfall, Guanacaste
Another little-known gem is the Oropendola Waterfall which is located within Rincon de la Vieja National Park and needs a 0.8-mile in-and-out hike. The trail is suitable for people of all ability levels and features a suspension bridge, offering good exercise and a chance to truly appreciate the lush greenery.
Bring your swimming gear because once you arrive, you can cool off in the clear waters of one of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica. The site also offers many Insta-worthy pictures that will garner a few likes from your followers.
9. Bijagual Waterfall, Central Pacific
The Bijagual Waterfall is located in the mountain village of Bijagual, near Jaco on the Central Pacific Coast. A guided horseback ride through the verdant forest leads to the 590-foot waterfall. The climb offers breathtaking views of beachside fishing communities and the mighty Pacific Ocean. Look for tropical birds, such as scarlet macaws and toucans, as well as other tropical fauna, such as sloths, frogs, and monkeys.
When you get to the falls, wander around or cool yourself in the refreshing natural spring supplied by the high mountains of Carara National Park. Horseback riding trips are available upon request.
10. Montezuma Waterfall, Nicoya Peninsula
Last but not least on our list of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica is none other than the Montezuma Waterfall. Tom Brady popularized this waterfall by posting a video of himself diving over the top, cementing it as a must-try for adrenaline-seekers. Needless to say, the 60-foot plunge is not for the faint of heart and many don’t even bother.
This three-tiered waterfall is located near Montezuma, and the Sun Track is a well-maintained trail that will take you to the summit. Visitors must pay a small entrance fee upon arrival.
Other activities to enjoy in Costa Rica
If you’re still in the planning phase of your Costa Rican getaway, there are a lot of other things you can do aside from visiting the nation’s beautiful waterfalls. From camping and hiking to zip lining and surfing, there’s no limit to how much fun you can have.
Check out our article on the 5 other outdoor activities you can do before, after, or during your stay at Kalon Surf’s 5-star accommodations!
Get relaxation, surfing, and gourmet meals with Kalon Surf
At Kalon Surf, you can enjoy the instruction of world-class surfing coaches and relax at our mansion’s infinity pool between sessions. With friendly staff, organic meals, pilates, a midweek massage, and so much more in store, book your stay today and kick off your Costa Rican adventure on a high note!