Costa Rica has a lot of waterfalls and they are all beautiful displays of the country’s topography. Rumor has it that there is a waterfall in Costa Rica for every day of the year. Some of these waterfalls are easily viewed and get visited a lot more then others. Some of Costa Rica’s waterfalls have a good road right to their base, but a lot of them don’t. Some of our favorite waterfalls take a little bit of an adventure to get to and that is also what makes them so much more magical and beautiful to visit.
On your adventure vacation to Costa Rica you can’t help but see some waterfalls on your other adventure activities but described below are two of our favorite waterfalls that are well worth the adventure necessary to discover their beauty up close.
The Turrialba River starts near the top of the Turrialba Volcano. Early in its journey to the Caribbean it falls over a massive cliff and creates a waterfall visible from town and along the road to Cartago. The Aquarries waterfall (not visible from town or the road) is along the same river but located further downstream, outside the city of Turrialba and near the town of Santa Rosa in a large coffee plantation. Once we enter the coffee plantation the main road is lined with massive Eucalyptus trees and we can look out over the plantation from our higher vantage. After only a mile on the main road we cut off and make our way along paths (we are still driving but your hard pressed to call it a road we are on!) that crisscross through the coffee plants with their shade bearing trees creating visual brakes and camouflage for numerous birds and animals that call this their home. We must ford a couple small creeks in our vehicle and finally come to a stop near a massive clump of bamboo trees. From here we hike. The short trail brings us through thick jungle and then suddenly spits us out to the base of the majestic 140-foot waterfall. The picturesque pool here is fine for a swim and the waterfall makes for a perfect backdrop for photos.
If the group is still looking for more of an adventure, and it hasn’t rained lately, a trail (although its not much of a trail) leads around the side of the waterfall and to the top. This trail is very steep and not maintained. It is a challenge when its dry, and impossible if it’s the least bit muddy, and has a few places where it lies only a few feet from the 100-foot plus cliff. The reward for your bravery is what sits on top of the waterfall. This pool is fed by a series of much smaller cascades that are the perfect natural waterslides. In fact on warm sunny days you might find a few of the local kids playing in the pools as well. The view from the top is amazing and the water is pleasant and warm. Its one of the many places in Costa Rica where all of the worlds stress just disappears and you are transported into a perfect paradise.
La Fortuna Waterfall
Another favorite and much more popular waterfall in Costa Rica is the La Fortuna Waterfall. This spectacular display of gravity and water is called La Catarata de La Fortuna in Costa Rican Spanish. It is found about 3 ¼ miles (5.5 km) from the town of La Fortuna which sits at the base of the ever active Arenal Volcano. The Catarata (Spanish for ‘waterfall’) pours down 70 meters (nearly 230 feet) and can be viewed from an observation deck that sits about level with the top of the waterfall. For the adventurous, with good lung capacity, a descent (and then a literally breath taking ascent) of the step canyon via a long series of steps leads to a truly breathtaking view from the pool at the bottom of the waterfall. A large pool here is also suitable for swimming but the better swimming hole lies just around the corner. Deep and slow the water here has a beach on one side and a cliff on the opposite. The water is warm and very inviting before your work out to make it back up to the top.
You can make the ascent back at your own pace and anytime you stop to rest you are rewarded with incredible views of the waterfall and river canyon.
The waterfall is protected as part of a national park so the trails are well maintained and a restroom and shower sit at the top, near the parking lot. There is also a gift shop and a soda where you can find water to rehydrate before or after your climb.
No matter where you go in Costa Rica you are bound to see a brilliant blue waterfall cut a path through the vibrant green of the rain forest, but if you want to enjoy the serenity of a moments peace at the base of one of the majestic giants let us know and we can make
sure your Costa Rican adventure vacation includes visiting a few of our favorites.