Costa Rica’s Most Spectacular Waterfalls
Costa Rica is renowned as one of our planet’s most biodiverse nations, with one of the densest concentrations of endemic flora and fauna you’ll find anywhere. Much of its blessings come from its overabundance of fresh spring water, with raging rivers, crystal clear springs and sparkling streams carving the country’s extraordinary wilderness since time immemorial. Waterfall hopping is one of the most rewarding activities you could ever dream to do when visiting Costa Rica, so add a few days to your week-long adventure trips with Costa Rica Rios, follow our guide, and take a spectacular swan dive into the country’s most majestic natural wonders. Here’s a taste of what you can expect to see.
La Paz Waterfall Arguably the most popular of all, thanks to their ease of access, the La Paz Waterfall are found in the country’s central highlands, only 100kms north of San Jose. This awe-inspiring falls run off the side of Poas Volcano and are set in the heart of a stunning cloud forest. The entire eco-reserve in which they are found, called La Paz Waterfall Gardens, is absolutely brimming with interesting wildlife, including toucans, butterflies, ocelots and countless hummingbirds. Visit the Gardens on a day tour from San Jose or stay overnight in one of the park lodges for an exceptionally rewarding experience. Make sure you wear comfy non-slip shoes, as the walk to reach the different viewing platforms can be quite slippery when wet which, admittedly, is most of the time. The excellent restaurants in the area, and dedicated trout fishing spots, make this an ideal multi-day trip from the capital. The Gardens costs USD26 per person to visit. La Fortuna Waterfall The most popular falls in La Fortuna, only a further 100kms north from La Paz, are found in the Arenal Volcano National Park and are simply sensational to explore length. The fact that they are easy to reach, easy to hike to and require only two hours of your time, make this a popular side trip option for countless tourists on a self-drive discovery of Costa Rica. There are just over 500 steps which need to be climbed (each way) and, although this won’t be a problem for physically active visitors, they may cause issues for anyone with knee or joint problems. Of course, the hike to and from the falls can be taken at a leisurely pace, which only adds to the allure of the journey, right at the heart of the La Fortuna rain forest. Better still, why not join a horseback tours to the falls instead? Yes indeed, these tours are as blissfully enjoyable as they sound Montezuma Falls If you’re looking for a much more rustic waterfall setting, and one which is free to visit, then head to Montezuma Falls, a superb three-tiered waterfall just outside the town of Montezuma on the south-eastern tip on the Nicoya Peninsula. The hike from town is arduous, so take a local guide with you as the trail is not well marked and the terrain quite adventurous. All of this, however, makes for a spectacular setting. Once there you can swim and jump into crystal clear pools right below the falls, but do use common sense when attempting a hike (and a jump!) at these heights. While cliff diving is best done in Montezuma Falls (in the second, 50ft falls) do note that this whole region is simply bursting at the seams with fabulous falls, so take a few days to explore the area at length and you’re come across a wide array of striking natural wonders. Las Musas Waterfalls Mother Nature at its most comfortable best is the only way to describe Las Musas, one of the most popular family attractions in the entire country. Found just a few kilometres out of San Ramon, in the central Alajuela Province of Costa Rica, Las Musas is a collection of five different falls which can be admired either on a 1.5hr-long hike, or much easier 2hr horseback ride. Before you start the hike, you’ll come across the first waterfall, as well as several swimming pools (a baby pool to!), a playground, several picnic spots, a volleyball court and even a super fun water slide. An adjacent restaurant completes the family-fun attraction and, it must be said, makes it difficult for many to move along to see the remaining four falls. But move you must! Follow the trail leading from Las Musas Restaurant and hook up with a local guide who will arm you with a bamboo walking stick (we can’t recommend this highly enough) and guide you on your merry way. For the next hour or so, you’ll be lead through dense forest and past several stunning viewpoints, before reaching the breathtaking cascades. Make sure you wear good quality, non slip water-shoes and take plenty of refreshments along. Celeste Waterfalls Right in the heart of the Tenorio Volcano National Park is where you’ll find these most mesmerizing falls, which boast one of the most awe-inspiring colours Mother Nature has ever created. The volcanic mineral-enriched waters, which are high in sulphur and calcium carbonate, grant Celeste Falls a most surreal, almost fairytale-like hue. The wondrous Blue Lagoon is renowned as nature’s most astonishing photoshop creation. Due to the high content of sulphur, swimming is not allowed nowadays, and it must be said that although the falls look utterly amazing, they are also rather fragrant, and not in a particularly charming way. Nevertheless, Celeste Falls are arguably the most photogenic and unforgettable falls in the whole country, so include a few days’ exploration of the Tenorio Volcano National Park, which is home to the Celeste Falls and their derivative, the Rio Celeste, and you’ll be privy to one of the most astonishing sights in all of Costa Rica.