Costa Rica has many things to offer; surfing, bird watching, pristine beaches, hiking, active volcanoes, natural hot springs, zip lining, canyoning… the list goes on and on. And while I loved Costa Rica for all of those things, like any girl my favorite activity when abroad is chasing waterfalls. Just like the rest of the amazing, natural wonders you can find in this beautiful Central American country, it does not disappoint when it comes to waterfalls. On my recent trip I visited seven different waterfalls and I still felt like I was barely scratching the surface! Here are five waterfalls you can’t miss while in Costa Rica.
1) Rio Celeste Waterfall
Known around the world for its insane blue coloring Rio Celeste Waterfall tops the lists of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica. There is no photoshop in the picture above. The water is just that blue due to minerals in the water and the way they react to light. You can visit this waterfall by heading to Bijagua and entering Tenorio National Park. Here are detailed directions and tips for visiting this perfect waterfall.
2) La Fortuna Waterfall
Located in the small town of La Fortuna that sits at the base of the huge Arenal Volcano, this waterfall can sometimes be overlooked because of all the things to do in the area. Don’t make that mistake. Head to La Fortuna Waterfall early in the morning to beat the crowds and experience the powerful waterfall alone. More tips on visiting La Fortuna Waterfall here.
3) Nauyaca Waterfall
Nauyaca Waterfall is located in the Dominical area and is a very popular attraction. The two-tier waterfall is surrounded by lush jungle and is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day in Costa Rica. You can hike to the waterfall in about 1 hour or arrange a 3-hour tour on horseback for around $70. You can book once you arrive or click here to book ahead of time.
4) Viento Fresco Waterfalls
This is my favorite waterfall stop in all of Costa Rica. It is most likely because I like a good deal – and this is a great deal. The lone trail on this property leads you to 4 gorgeous waterfalls and a 5th one can be seen from the lookout point. The rainbow waterfall with its 75 meter (245 feet) drop was my favorite. Details on visiting the waterfalls here, including how to find the hidden waterfall.
5) Montezuma Waterfall
One of the few free waterfalls in Costa Rica (although parking is $2) the Montezuma Waterfall is great for budget travelers. There are 3 waterfalls to explore but most people stop at the first one since the second two require good physical fitness to reach. Even if you only go for the first waterfall it is fantastic, and many people jump (at their own risk) from the cliff into the deep pool.
Costa Rica Waterfall Chasing Tips
- Pack lots of water and sunscreen. Most of the waterfalls are less trail-like and more straight stairs up and down. Going down is great but coming up can be brutal.
- Catarata is waterfall in Spanish and is a good word to recognize even if you don’t speak any spanish. There are tiny waterfalls everywhere in Costa Rica and you will see lots of handmade signs that simply say ‘Catarata’ with an arrow pointing to a turnoff on the main road. Don’t be afraid to explore these smaller waterfalls!
- The larger waterfalls (and all the ones listed) have more permanent/professional looking signs.
- Waterfall chasing can get expensive. Each waterfall entrance costs between $10 – $20.
- Dry season can slow down the waterfalls but I visited all the above during the dry season and they were all strong and powerful. I can only imagine what wet season is like.
- Planning a trip to Costa Rica can be overwhelming click here for guides on where to go and what to do.
Have you been to Costa Rica? Please share your experience in the comments below! Read Next > Why You Will Love Nayara Springs, Costa Rica