A Beginner’s Guide To Must-See Waterfalls In Southern Costa Rica
Southern Costa Rica’s tangles of verdurous jungle enshroud a network of some of the most dramatic and captivating waterfalls in all of Central America. Hiking through the beauty of Costa Rica’s wilderness to witness these waterfalls for yourself is an electrifying experience that you will not soon forget. There are five major waterfalls in Southern Costa Rica, so you can take your pick! Visit all five, and you may very well fall so in love with Costa Rica that you just can’t leave. 😉
The Nauyaca Waterfalls are two neighboring falls located in an 80-meter wide canyon deep within the jungle of Southern Costa Rica. The taller of the two reaches 45-meters high and forcefully rains down on a landscape of massive rocks creating a stunning scene. The second rises 20-meters high and its steady cascade forms a perfect eco-pool at the bottom. It’s the perfect place for swimming, lounging around on the surrounding large, flat rocks, or climbing up the side of the waterfall (if you’re brave enough) and jumping off.
The Nauyaca Waterfalls are a favorite among tourists, expats, and locals alike. For those that live nearby, it’s the chosen weekend hangout complete with kids, dogs, and picnics. For the newbies, opting to go on a guided horseback tour proves to be a rewarding way to experience this phenomenal natural beauty.
This waterfall duo is privately owned by a local Costa Rican couple, and all visits or tours must be arranged by them. Horseback tours cost $70 per person and should be arranged in advanced. If you choose to hike up to the waterfalls, you can pay the admission fee of $8 per person at the office when you arrive. It is suggested to bring cash, as cards are not always accepted.
The hike up to the waterfalls takes around an hour each way. Most people should be able to complete this hike with no problem, as the only difficulty is the length. Keep in mind there are a few uphill spots and it can get pretty slippery in some places.
Besides the unadulterated beauty of the Nauyaca Waterfalls, the next best thing is its location. The waterfalls are advantageously located within an hour of the four major hubs of Southern Costa Rica: Dominical, San Isidro, Uvita, and Manuel Antonio.
If you would like to know more, here is everything you need to know about visiting the Nauyaca Waterfalls.
The Savegre Waterfall is more suited to the adventurous type. The windy mile-long path is fairly straightforward to navigate but super slippery and steep areas make the hike out to be quite the challenge. For the undaunted traveler, the best of rewards awaits as delicate cloud forests give way to the spine-tingling sight of this 100-foot tall waterfall.
The Savegre Waterfall is about an hour and a half northwest of San Isidro, situated near San Gerardo de Dota, a little-known village on the Talamanca Mountain Range, and Los Quetzales National Park, the best place to witness the highly-sought after Quetzal bird. Additionally, the Savegre River is a popular destination for whitewater rafting, bird watching, and trout fishing.
You can book a tour to see the Savegre Waterfall through the Savegre Hotel, Natural Reserve, and Spa.
The Diamante Waterfalls consist of a set of 10 unique waterfalls located deep within the jungle. These are some of the most remarkable waterfalls to be discovered in Costa Rica, interlaced through a network of caves and untouched rainforests. The Diamante Waterfalls are home to some of the largest of Costa Rica’s waterfalls, with one of them towering at 600ft.
These waterfalls are privately owned, and all tours will need to be arranged through Tree Of Life. You can take your pick from a host of tours to suit your adventurous needs, including, repelling, canyoning, cliff jumping, and even overnight camping in decked-out caves.
Seeing all ten waterfalls will require an overnight camping excursion. Hiking up to these super remote waterfalls and caves is physically demanding, but with the guides from Tree Of Life, you will be in good hands.
Exploring the biodiversity and educating yourself on the age-old rainforest of the Diamante Waterfalls is an experience in-and-of-itself. To make the most of these incredible waterfalls, we suggest dedicating the majority of the day, and if possible, camping out in the caves.
King Louis Waterfall At Matapalo
The coast of the Osa Peninsula lays claim to the pristine Matapalo Beach Town–a town that’s got it all, with the jungle riding right up to the coastline. Hidden within these jungles stands the King Louis Waterfall, rising nearly 100 feet in the air.
Matapalo is a great place to visit if you want to make the most of your time. Hike through the rainforest, get your heart pumping as you repel down the waterfall, and then return to the beach to rejuvenate yourself once again–all in one day!
If you’re looking for a place that will give you a taste of it all, this is for you. There are several different tour options for this day of adventure. Osa Tourz, Playa Lapa, and Viva Travel Guides–just to name a few!
Located just 10 minutes outside of Ojochal, the El Pavon Waterfall is a place of pure serenity. Although the height of this waterfall is not all that impressive at only 10 meters high, the unique natural formation of the fall makes it stand out from the other waterfalls. One large boulder sits perfectly wedged as if having been hand-placed, in the center of the falls between either side of the cliff. Rarely does one see a sight as simple, and unique as the Pavon waterfall.
Take a swim in the crystal pools of water, or lounge around and just enjoy the peace that abounds in this place. If you have kids, they’ll love this place, too! There are even a few smaller pools that make the perfect kiddy-pool. The El Pavon is the waterfall to go to for ultimate rejuvenation and family fun.
Adventure and beauty await you at each and every waterfall in Southern Costa Rica.
Do you know of any off-the-beaten track waterfalls that we didn’t mention? Share your findings in the comments below!