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Complete Guide to Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, Costa Rica

Conveniently located near Liberia International Airport, Llanos de Cortez waterfall Costa Rica is one of the most popular attractions from Guanacaste Province.

The waterfall is located just 10 minutes drive off Highway number 1 known also as Pan American Highway or Inter American Highway, being extremely easy to reach by car.

Llanos de Cortes waterfall is managed by the authorities from Bugaces Municipality and I can tell you they are doing a nice job, as the place is very well maintained and the trail is in very good condition.

Book about 2 hours to visit this amazing waterfall and take your swimsuit with you as you can swim in the pool from the base of the waterfall.

It is one of the very few waterfalls with a swimming hole that has a lifeguard on duty so you can feel safe and secure while enjoying this magnificent attraction.

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Llanos de Cortez waterfall Costa Rica

Llanos de Cortez waterfalls Costa Rica

Getting to Llanos de Cortez waterfall Costa Rica

The easiest way to get to this beautiful waterfall is by a car that can be rented from Liberia International Airport or any beach resort from the area.

You have about half an hour drive ( a great destination for a day trip) from the beautiful town of Liberia, about a one-hour car journey from the stunning beaches Playa Hermosa and Playas del Coco.

The good news is that the road is accessible even with small cars, you don’t necessarily need to have a 4×4 vehicle.

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The road from the highway to the waterfall is not entirely paved and right at the end of the road, there are about 2 kilometres of dirt road until you reach the parking area.


Llanos de Cortez Waterfall Costa Rica

Llanos de Cortez Waterfalls Costa Rica


After you park your car in the parking lot, buy your ticket and start the descent to the waterfall.

You can also get to this waterfall by bus, taxi or with an organised tour.

If you take the bus tell to the driver that you want to go to “entrada para Llanos del Cortez” and he will tell you when you have to get off the bus.

The buses run on a regular basis and you’d better check the bus schedule before going to the waterfall.

Taxi and Uber are more expensive than the bus, around 25 to 30 USD, but you are safer and the journey is shorter than by bus.

Stay safe while you travel

  • medical safety abroad
  • medical assistance including COVID-19
  • emergency medical evacuation
  • trip interruption -up to $5.000
  • travel delay - up to $100/day

And there is also the option of taking an organised tour which takes you from the hotel and most probably you have included more attractions from the area, but it can be really pricey ( between 110- 150 USD).

Entrance fee and facilities at Llanos de Cortes waterfall

Until 2019, there was no entrance fee to this waterfall but you gave a donation to the local community when you entered the park.

Today, there is an entrance fee which you have to pay if you want to visit this beautiful waterfall equivalent to 7 USD for adults and 4 USD for children.

This is a small fee to pay compared with other touristic spots from the country like La Fortuna waterfall or La Paz waterfall gardens where the entrance fee is around 50 USD for adults.


At the entrance to the park, you will find a bathroom and changing rooms, both very clean and well maintained.

There are no shops in the area, so I strongly recommend you to bring with you a bottle of water and a snack, especially if you plan to stay for long.


Packing list for Llanos de Cortez waterfall

Besides the bottle of water and the snacks mentioned, we strongly recommend you to take with you a towel, sun cream, insect repellant and of course your camera and phone to take some memorable shots.



Put into your bag some flip flops, sunglasses and a hat to protect you against the hot Costa Rican sun.

Opening hours

The waterfall is open on a daily basis between 8 in the morning till 3 in the afternoon, so you’d better get here before 1 o’clock to enjoy a little bit of what this amazing place has to offer.

Try to avoid going to this waterfall on weekends or later in the day as the place becomes quite crowded and lose a little bit of its wild side.

The hike to Llanos de Cortes waterfall

The descent to this amazing waterfall is not as steep as it is for La Fortuna, for example, but you still need to descend some concrete steps to get to the bottom of the waterfall.

The waterfall is about 27 metres high and about 12 metres wide and from the top of the waterfall, the water flows rapidly into the swimming hole located at the bottom of this magnificent cascade.



Nearby the swimming hole this is a beautiful sandy beach where you can put your towel and relax after you cooled off into the cascade.

On the left side of the waterfall is a small path that goes up to the top of the waterfall, but I don’t advise you to follow it as it is quite slippery, steep and dangerous.

Stay at the bottom of the waterfall and enjoy the magnificent scenery and take a refreshing bath in the swimming hole.

Useful tips when visiting Llanos de Cortez waterfall Costa Rica

  • Don’t park anywhere on the street but use the specially designated area
  • Give 1 USD to the parking guy to help him sustain his family and to look after your car
  • Use the newer concrete steps not the older trail to get to the waterfall
  • Dress up with your swimming suit from the hotel as the changing cabins are located at the entrance not down near the swimming hole
  • Don’t visit the waterfall when is dark outside as it can be a dangerous place
  • Don’t bring valuable items with you as there are no lockers around
  • Don’t climb behind the pool as it is not permitted anymore

Accommodation around Llanos de Cortes Waterfall

Hilton Garden Inn Liberia Airport Costa Rica is a great place to set your camp and explore the nearby beaches, waterfalls and rainforest.

The rooms are comfy and clean, while the breakfast is tasty and varied with traditional and international dishes.


One of Liberia’s secrets, Llanos de Cortez waterfall Costa Rica is not just extremely beautiful but also accessible to a large category of people.

From the parking lot to the waterfall are just 5 minutes to climb down some concrete steps and once you are at the bottom of the waterfall a beautiful natural pool with a small sandy beach opens in front of your eyes.

You definitely have to include Llanos de Cortes waterfall into your itinerary, especially if you will be in the Liberia area.

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.