Waterfalls of Costa Rica are amazing places to cool off and to discover during a day trip, hidden between the green forests and beautiful mountains.
You most probably heard many things about the beautiful beaches in Costa Rica, or the massive volcanoes spread all over this small country, but waterfalls in Costa Rica are equally beautiful and picturesque.
Some of them are located within a short walk from the nearest road, while for others you have to follow a trail for a few hours.
What I can tell you for sure is that most of these Costa Rica waterfalls are real hidden gems and definitely worth spending a few days of your holiday to discover the most beautiful of them.
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On your way to these waterfalls, you will have the unique opportunity to spot the abundance of trees and plants around you and to discover the impressive number of insects and mammals that live in these forests.
Waterfalls of Costa Rica
Rio Celeste waterfall, Guanacaste
Located in Guanacaste province in the national park known as Tenorio Volcano, this beautiful waterfall Costa Rica is about 1 and a half hours hike from the entrance to the park.
On your way to the waterfall, you might spot beautiful blue butterflies, playful monkeys and poisonous frogs.
The name comes from the river that flows into, which has one of the most beautiful colours I’ve ever seen, clear turquoise water that invites you to jump in.
Being located in Tenorio National Park, swimming at the base of the waterfall is prohibited so all you can do is to admire it and listen to the local legend about its fascinating colour.
According to the legend, when God painted the sky, he used these waters to wash the blue brushes and for this reason, the waters have this colour.
Best time to go: between December to April, during the dry season
Where to stay
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel is located at the entrance of the park featuring elegant rooms with dark wood furniture and an amazing view of the forest or the nearby gardens.
Bajos del Toro Waterfall, Cloud Forest
One of the most impressive waterfalls of Costa Rica and the tallest waterfall in Costa Rica, Catarata del Toro is a hidden gem with an impressive drop of more than 265 feet.
The water flows into an extinct crater of a volcano called Bajos del Toro and the entire area that surrounds this waterfall of Costa Rica is covered with lush vegetation and beautiful rainforest.
The hike to this waterfall is extremely picturesque and passes along Catarata del Toro Adventure Park so you’ll find many trails and viewpoints that offer incredible views of the forest.
If you want to get closer to Catarata del Toro you can descend the 200 steps to the base of the waterfall in the crater.
You are not allowed to swim in the pool from the base of the waterfall but you can get some memorable photos from down there.
It might be less famous than Rio Celeste but in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica, less crowded and with an untouched vibe.
The waterfall is located just 2 hours away from San Jose, so you can easily plan a day trip to this attraction while in Costa Rica.
Where to stay
El Silencio Lodge and Spa is a wonderful lodge located right on Costa Rica’s Central Volcanic Valley with a huge tropical garden and stylish rooms.
La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano
The next Costa Rica waterfall from my list is the beautiful La Fortuna Waterfall located in the famous Arenal Volcano National Park.
It is one of the most visited waterfalls in Costa Rica and a great place to experience the most popular activities from Costa Rica: zipline or canopy tours on top of the rainforest, try the natural hot springs or walk along the hanging bridges.
You can easily combine the visit to this waterfall of Costa Rica with one of the activities listed above plus you have the great chance of spotting wildlife in their natural environment.
The area has all the facilities you need including changing rooms, toilets and parking space at the entrance of the park.
You are allowed to swim in the swimming hole from the bottom of the waterfall, but be careful as the currents get very strong right in the middle of the hole.
In order to get to the swimming hole you need to descend almost 500 steps but the experience is worth the effort.
Where to stay
If the idea of having a whole villa just for yourself with a private pool sounds good, then book your stay at Nayara Springs, one of the best resorts in the area.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Cloud Forest
Located just 1 hour and a half from the capital city of San Jose, La Paz Waterfall Gardens is one of the most accessible waterfalls of Costa Rica.
The easiest way to reach this beautiful waterfall Costa Rica is by car, which can be rented from the airport or from San Jose.
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As you have already guessed, we are not talking about one single waterfall but about 5 waterfalls, each of them having its own characteristics and landscape.
There is La Paz waterfall, Magia Blanca, Templo, Encantada and Escondida waterfall and there is a single ticket for all of them that costs around 45 USD.
The protected area around these waterfalls in Costa Rica is extremely well maintained and you can find even a small buffet where you can eat lunch.
You can reach these amazing waterfalls on your way to the town of La Fortuna from San Jose or when you visit Poas Volcano National Park.
Where to stay
The 5 star Peace Lodge is among the best lodges in the area featuring handmade canopy beds, beautiful balconies with a view and huge glass windows.
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Nauyaca Waterfalls, South Pacific Coast
Located in the southern part of the Pacific coast in the vicinity of Costa Ballena and 20 minutes away from Dominical, Nauyaca Waterfalls Costa Rica has a unique layout.
This beautiful waterfall in Costa Rica is divided into 2 distinct waterfalls with different drops: the first one has about 145 feet while the second one is shorter, just 65 feet drop.
The waterfall is located in the heart of the rainforest and is accessible by foot, with a 4×4 vehicle or with a horseback tour.
Along the way to the waterfall, you will see many species of plants and trees as well as birds, monkeys and many insects.
The trail to Nauyaca Waterfalls is 2.5 miles long and is quite easy to hike if you plan to reach this hidden attraction on foot.
Take a swimsuit with you because you are allowed to swim in the large pool formed by the second waterfall.
Read here all you need to know about Nauyaca waterfalls Costa Rica
Where to stay
Casa del Perezoso is a holiday home with a private pool overlooking the sea and the surrounding mountains which are located in Dominical. It has a fully equipped kitchen, clean rooms with a private bathroom with all the amenities you need for an unforgettable holiday.
Montezuma Waterfall Nicoya Peninsula
Located in the beautiful town of Montezuma, the waterfall became famous all over the world when the American football player Tom Brady filmed himself jumping from the top of this waterfall.
The most famous waterfall in Costa Rica has three levels and if you want to get to the top of it you have to follow the Sun Trail, a paid and very well maintained trail from the jungle.
I don’t recommend you to jump from the top of the rocks as the waterfall is almost 65 feet tall, but you certainly have to go there for some breathtaking views.
Get the best pocket guide for Montezuma waterfalls Costa Rica
Where to stay
Anamaya Resort is located just 500 metres away from the waterfall and it features an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant and a beautiful garden where yoga classes are held each day.
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, Guanacaste
Catarata Llanos de Cortes is the perfect refugee from the hot Costa Rican sun that offers an amazing swimming hole at the bottom of it.
One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica is located in Bagaces, just 30 minutes south of the town of Liberia.
This waterfall is about 12 feet tall and 55 feet wide and has a small sandy beach right near the swimming pool from the bottom of it.
You can reach this waterfall of Costa Rica after just 10 minutes of the hike, but be prepared as the trail is really steep.
On your way to this magnificent spot take some time and observe the beautiful rainforest and its unique creatures, as it is one of the wildest parts of the country.
You don’t have to pay any entrance fee to visit this waterfall but if you wish you can donate some money to support the local community.
In the last years, the place became more popular so new constructions and tourist facilities appeared in the area.
Where to stay
Rio Perdido Hotel and Thermal River is a beautiful hotel located close to the hiking trails and thermal river, with amazing rooms nested in the middle of the forest that offers direct access to the nearby river.
Uvita Waterfall, South Pacific
Uvita Waterfall is one of the most interesting Costa Rica waterfalls as it comes with a natural slide included.
There is a small entrance fee for this waterfall, but once you pay the fee you can climb on top of the waterfall and slide down directly into the natural pool from the bottom.
The place is surrounded by jungle, lush vegetation and a very impressive number of animals and insects.
At the entrance of the park you will find a small cafeteria, a parking area and the ticket office; from the parking lot to the waterfall is a short descent accessible to anybody.
Where to sleep
The beautiful resort TikiVillas Rainforest Lodge is conveniently located close to the waterfalls and to Playa Hermosa and features beautiful rooms with outdoor jungle showers, a private terrace and a fully equipped kitchenette.
Oropendola Waterfall, Guanacaste
The beautiful Oropendola Waterfall is located in Guanacaste province in the northwestern part of the country surrounded by green forests and many species of animals.
There is a small entrance fee you will have to pay if you plan to visit this waterfall and don’t forget to check-in at the hotel front desk that administers the waterfall to get the wristband so that you have access to the park.
In order to get to these blue waters, you will have to go deeper into the jungle and pass over a hanging bridge and then follow the stairs down to the pool.
It is a great day trip from the beautiful beaches Tamarindo, Hermosa, Flamingo or Potrero, but with so many attractions in the area, you might consider booking some nights closer to Rincon de la Vieja National Park.
Costa Rica is a country full of surprises and amazing natural gems and once you get to this country you will fall in love with its beautiful scenery.
This tiny country has more than 50 volcanoes and countless waterfalls out of which these 9 are the most impressive ones.
The best way to explore these places is with a rented car and you need at least 10 days to see them all.