Must-See Stress Busters
Waterfalls in Costa Rica are a “must-see” experience. While on a tour, include one of Costa Rica’s best waterfalls on your epic timeless adventure. Stress and life seem to go hand-in-hand, with minds and bodies aching from the tension generated. Just thinking about a visit to the waterfalls melts the stress away and the best Costa Rica tours include spectacular waterfalls, a wonder to behold.
Discovering a Costa Rica Waterfall
Though many waterfalls can be found throughout Costa Rica, no two waterfalls are the same; each boasts its own individuality. Before booking your excursion, look at a map of the area and plan your itinerary; whether going bird watching, exploring a blue river, visiting a botanical or butterfly gardens; enjoying an adventurous tour whilst water tubing, zip lining, rafting or hiking. Some waterfalls are just off a main road while others can be a, short or long, hike to reach it. In some cases swimming under the waterfalls or in its pool is not permitted.
Must-See Waterfalls – are they as advertised?
Here are pictures and information about a few of the must see or best known waterfalls in Costa Rica. Further along this blog, check out some of the waterfalls located on the north side Rincon de la Vieja National Park.
Are these the only ones?
No! There are many more spectacular waterfalls than just these. After visiting one, many people become obsessed with discovering their favorite Costa Rica waterfalls.
La Fortuna Waterfall
La Fortuna Waterfall, is located in a 210 acre biological reserve in a wet tropical rainforest; part of Arenal Volcano National Park in Alajuela province.
Rio Celeste Waterfall
Rio Celeste Waterfalls, in Guanacaste province’s Tenorio Volcano National Park, is on a magical blue river of the same name. It appears at the end long hike; unfortunately with no swimming permitted.
La Paz Waterfall
La Paz Waterfall in Alajuela, is an 8 km/5 mile walk along the eastern side of Poás Volcano, inside Poás Volcano National Park.
Bajos del Toro Waterfall
Bajos del Toro Waterfall, is hidden on a private reserve, between two national parks, the Juan Castro Blanco and Poás, not far from San Jose’s international airport.
Nauyaca Waterfalls, Dominical
Nauyaca Waterfalls, deep in Dominical, in the south pacific jungle of Puntarenas Province at a private park for swimming climbing and jumping. Access is by truck or by foot.
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, in Guanacaste Province, is about 5 km from Bagaces with easy access from the road.
Bijagual Waterfall, is in a private park in Costa Rica’s central Pacific, Guanacaste Province about 20 min north of Jaco; accessed on foot along a 2.5 km trail which offers dips in the larger waterfall pool and smaller pools.
If your adventure tour includes a visit to any or all of them, I’m sure you’ll agree, “these waterfalls are epic and timeless”.
Waterfalls in National Parks
There are 27 national parks and many more reserves and refuges located throughout Costa Rica. Find the official entrance, and pay the fees to enter. Paths are well marked and maintained for self-guided tours that often include waterfalls. Be sure to do your homework.
Waterfalls in Private Parks
Some of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica are also on private property. The riverfront areas cannot be developed and must remain untouched parkland by law. Some waterfalls are well marketed commercially and others have no official name and are not found on maps.
At Blue River Resort & Hot Springs, the many awe-inspiring natural wonders include spectacular waterfalls on private lands that are used for Eco-adventure tours. An agreement with the owner of the property was reached and then an investment made to build and maintain paths and bridges. Only guided tours are permitted. Here are a few examples:
Rio Penjamo Waterfall
Follow paths leading into the rain forest private park past many beautiful waterfalls with pools and a natural waterslide for dips. Following along, the jungle opens-up to reveal the magical blue river, Rio Penjamo. Though the river boasts many more spectacular waterfalls this is our favorite and has become the signature waterfall for Blue River Resort & Hot Springs.
Grand Waterfalls Adventure Tour
From Blue River Resort & Hot Springs travel by safari truck or horse to the incomparable, cascading, Grand Waterfalls for dips in the pool and then hike up to a higher waterfall tier; stand and soak under the falls deep in the jungle rain forest on the north side of Rincon de la Vieja volcano.
Cathedral Waterfalls Adventure
From Blue River Resort & Hot Springs, hike or horseback ride through farms and breathtaking rain forest to reach Cathedral Waterfalls, along the blue river Rio Azul bridge into a water-filled magical waterfall chamber.
Blue River (Rio Azul) visited on Tubing Adventure
The Rio Azul Waterfalls, visited on the Tubing Adventure, near Blue River Resort& Hot Springs in the tropical wet rainforest of Rincon de la Vieja.
Hiking to a Waterfall
Hiking to reach a waterfall on tour is common and guaranteed to be one of the best outdoor experiences. Have your camera at the ready for Costa Rica’s exotic wildlife and flowers; it’s not just about the waterfalls. Know your fitness level and inquire ahead of time:
- The length of the walk or hike,
- The difficulties, especially after hard rains
Watch for tree roots growing crisscross on trails in Costa Rica they can be very slippery, especially when damp. Remember what goes up usually goes down (or vice-versa). Also, apply sunscreen and bug spray regularly, ;hydrate and enjoy healthy snacks.
Waterfalls in a Historical Context
Costa Rica’s waterfalls, hot springs and pools have, historically, played a part in people’s Many traditional tribes and settlers have lived here over the centuries, like the Mesoamericans, Nahuatis, Spanish Conquistadors, Chibchas and many others, may have enjoyed the same waterfall you will swim in.
Distinguishing Characteristics of a Waterfall
The waterfall’s height is most often its most outstanding feature. However this factor really is not all that important. The individuality comes from the way nature mixes the natural elements, producing a panoramic scene second to none. The natural elements that distinguish the best waterfalls are:
- The backdrop: The area surrounding the waterfall boasting Costa Rica’s flora.
- The outcropping: The edge where the water takes to the air and begins to fall.
- The rock shelter: The area immediately behind the falling water.
- The pool: The eroded area at the base of the waterfall.
The Rainy Season
During periods of heavy rainfall, rivers and waterfalls can become muddy and rough for a short time. At Blue River Resort & Hot Springs, it’s amazing how quickly the blue waters return once the rains stop. Check the weather report before booking your waterfall tour; ask if there is a special clause for refunds due to inclement weather. Know when the rainy seasons take place. The dates of the rainy season vary from region to region and even from one side of a volcano as compared to the other. For example, Blue River Resort & Hot Springs on the north side of the volcano Rincon de la Vieja is a lush rain forest whereas the other side of the volcano is a dry, hot Savannah.
The Best Waterfall Tours in Costa Rica
Which is your favorite Costa Rica waterfall? We’d love to know.
Admittedly, we are biased. The best waterfalls are found on the north side of Rincon de la Vieja where Blue River Resort & Hot Springs offers many Eco-adventure tours; waterfalls, zip lining, tubing, rafting, horseback riding and hikes, to name a few. The surrounding natural habitat offer hot springs, a lush rain forest, blue rivers and a panoramic view of the smoking volcano crater. Nothing can beat that.