Everything You Need To Know About Visiting The Nauyaca Waterfalls
Among Costa Rica’s greatest sources of pride stands the Nauyaca Waterfalls, a double-level waterfall latent within the jungles of the Southern Zone. This gem is the perfect stop for any vacation, or needed weekend getaway. The waterfall’s towering upper level lets loose a powerful cascade of water that pounds against strikingly beautiful rocks, while the lower level’s wide top allows the water to flow steadily into a naturally formed pool of fresh, pulsating water perfect for swimming and jumping.
These two waterfalls are a treasure cove of discoveries. In addition to the beautiful sights, you will enjoy the flora and fauna that are ever-so abundant in this jungle. Listen for howler monkeys while you swim in the “jungle pool” or keep your eye out for birds of all kinds as you lounge out on the smooth, encircling rocks.
Whether you’re an expat, or just passing through, you will surely want to get a glimpse of this beauty for yourself. What should you know before making the trip? Here’s your complete guide to visiting the Nauyaca Waterfalls of Southern Costa Rica:
What Are The Nauyaca Waterfalls?
The Nauyaca Waterfalls are two waterfalls consisting of an upper level and a lower level. The upper level is around 150 ft. tall, while the lower level is around 20 meters tall. The Nauyaca Waterfalls is located in a 260 ft. wide canyon. The waterfall’s upper level is too dangerous for swimming, but is a breathtaking site to witness. The lower level of the waterfall naturally creates a perfect swimming pool, a little more than 3,000 sq. ft. and 20 ft deep.
The Nauyaca Waterfalls are located along the Rio Baru, deep within the jungles of Southern Zone of Costa Rica. This off-the-beaten-track location is conveniently located between several other must-see spots, making a visit to the area easily worthwhile.
Dominical: It will take about 10-20 minutes, and can be reached by driving straight along Route 243.
San Isidro: It will take about 30-40 minutes, and can be reached by driving straight along Route 243 toward Dominical.
Manuel Antonio: It will take about an hours drive, and can be reached by taking Route 34 to reach Route 243.
Uvita: Again, you will be coming along Route 34 until you reach Route 243, but from the opposite direction.
The property of the Nauyaca Waterfalls are owned and operated locally by Don Lulo, and his family–local Costa Ricans. All tours and visits must be arranged through them. There are two ways to get to the falls: hiking or horseback riding. You can choose to pay the admission fee, and hike on your own, opt to go on a guided tour, or choose to reach the waterfalls via horseback ride. You will need to make arrangements ahead of time for guided tours and horseback tours, but if you choose to hike on your own, you will only need to pay the admission fee when you arrive at the office.
**Bring cash to cover the admission fee, instead of expecting to use your card.
Hiking Freestyle: If you’ve decided to adventure on your own, the admission cost is just $8.
Horseback Tour: Don Lulo offers horseback tours up to the waterfalls that cost $70 per person.
How Far Is The Hike?
There is one main trail that leads to the Nauyaca Waterfalls. Each way, it is roughly 2.5 miles, and will take you between 1 and 2 hours. It is mostly an easy hike, with the only challenge being the length. There are a few stretches that are more difficult than others, but most people should be able to complete the hike with no problem.
When To Go:
You may prefer the Nauyaca Waterfalls during the dry, summer season, from December to April. The temperatures will be quite a bit warmer, but you won’t have to worry about midday rain interrupting your fun. It’s important to note that during the rainy season, from May to November, the waters can be a bit choppy making swimming quite a bit more difficult. However, visiting during this time can have it’s benefits. The trees are extra green and flourishing, and temperatures are much cooler.
-Shoes: Wear shoes that will keep your feet blister-free for the entire hike. There are a few areas along the hike that can get particularly wet, especially during rainy season. Make sure to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting a little wet and muddy. It is suggested to wear shoes that have a good grip on them. The rocks around the waterfalls are quite slippery, and you will want adequate shoes.
-Suncreen: Make sure to wear and bring sunscreen, especially if you plan to spend the better portion of the day lounging around at the jungle-like pool.
-Water: the hike is a bit lengthy, and you will want to pack some water for the trek.
-Bring the dogs: There aren’t any restrictions on this. Your pets will love running around freely and splashing around in the water. Make sure to bring a leash, and use it as needed.
The Nauyaca Waterfalls have risen to the top of the list of the best attractions in Southern Costa Rica. This spot is the perfect destination for adventurers and nature-lovers. Horseback riding, hiking, exploring, swimming, cliff-jumping, and bird watching are all available at this hidden gem location. Whether you’re visiting Costa Rica for the first time, or have lived here for years, you will certainly adore the Nauyaca Waterfalls and want to come time and time again.