Costa Rica is home to dozens and dozens of waterfalls– some internationally famous, others known only to the locals, all equally as beautiful. So if you decide to chase the very real, very breathtaking waterfalls in Costa Rica, deciding which ones to add to your list can be difficult! (Can’t you just add all of them?!) That’s why we put together our travel guide to Costa Rica’s best waterfalls!
Nothing worth having is ever easy to get, so why should waterfalls worth seeing be easy to get to either? (Hint: They’re not!) Some of Costa Rica’s best waterfalls are easier to get to than others, but hiking is half of the fun! Plus, waterfalls in Costa Rica look better without man-made structures built up all around them, so the hike is worth the unimpeded view 🙂
To start off, Costa Rica’s best waterfalls will be listed from the MOST accessible to the LEAST accessible. We’ll even throw in the entrance fee (as of September, 2018) for you penny-pincher travelers (like Jacob and I). If you’re feeling extra amazing, please shoot this post a like and a share and, as always, enjoy! One last thing before you get too far, remember to…
Pin our top 5 picks for Costa Rica’s Best Waterfalls!
Magia Blanca Waterfall— One of the Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica
Located an hour-and-a-half north of San José, in Alajuela Providence, Magia Blanca is just one of five waterfalls at La Paz Waterfall Gardens. A tranquil 0.8 mile walk on a paved trail will take you through the Costa Rican jungle to see all of the waterfalls. There are stairs, but you only have to go down. A shuttle will pick you up at the bottom and bring you back up to the top!
Dropping 120 feet, Magia Blanca (White Magic), is the tallest of the five waterfalls. Although all are beautiful, Magia Blanca is so beautiful it almost looks unreal! The unequivocal beauty alone makes this one of Costa Rica’s best waterfalls. The trail is set up so you can take pictures with the jungle in the background, and there are never any tourists in your photo– how great!!
La Paz Waterfall Gardens also offers several different attractions, including: restaurants, lodging, butterfly observatory, Trout Lake (swim, fish, or catch dinner!), historical “Casita” farmhouse, an animal sanctuary, and a pool. There truly is something for everyone here, regardless of age or mobility level.
Río Celeste Waterfall— Second on our List of Costa Rica’s Best Waterfalls
Arguably the bluest of waterfalls in Costa Rica, Río Celeste (Celeste River) is about four hours northwest of San José. The waterfall is located in Tenorio National Park, at the base of the Tenorio Volcano. Although there are many different things to see in the 31,794-acre park, the waterfall is just one mile from the parking lot on a paved path. Unfortunately, you can’t swim here, even though the blue water looks so inviting!
Due to the popularity of the park, only 1,200 visitors are allowed in per day, and only 400 on the trail at one time. So to secure your spot and ensure you get to see this gorgeous location, arrive early!
La Fortuna Waterfall— Costa Rica’s Best Waterfalls are Worth the Hike
Located three hours northwest of San José, at the base of the dormant Chato Volcano and near Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna— The Fortune– is one of the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica. A 20 minute hike down steps through the jungle will allow you views of the 246-foot waterfall from many angles. And the best part? You can swim at the base of the waterfall when you make it down, it’s just chilly!
Los Chorros Waterfall— One of the Most Hidden Waterfalls in Costa Rica
The locals hide some of Costa Rica’s best waterfalls for themselves (I mean, who can blame them!) Los Chorros (The Jets), located an hour northwest of San José, is tucked away into the Costa Rican countryside. To get there from San José, we had to take two separate buses in order to get to the city of Grecia, and then walk 1.5 miles (uphill!) to get to the entrance of the park. Of course, many stopped and offered us a ride– but for a price– so we sucked it up and walked. And my, oh my, was the difficulty of finding this place worth it!
We were the only foreigners there, you could swim in the water (although it was freezing) and climb the waterfall (at your own risk!).
Fundación Dúrika— One of the Coolest Waterfalls in Costa Rica
Good luck finding this waterfall, because It. Was. Hidden. Fundación Dúrika is an ecovillage located almost 5 hours southeast of San José in the Puntarenas Providence. Hidden way up in the Talamanca Mountains, Dúrika is a self-sustaining community that is accessible only by an hour drive in a 4WD vehicle from the city of Buenos Aires.
Once in Dúrika, we were taken on a hike to this waterfall (which either doesn’t have a name or we don’t remember it… it’s THAT secluded). From the bottom, it just looks like any old waterfall, but upon hiking up to the top of it, there’s an entire “infinity pool” you can hang out in! The pool isn’t extremely deep, nor is the water running extremely fast, but it is nice and cold if you want to take a relaxing dip!
It is usually more than a one-day trip, so lodging and a restaurant are located on site.
Hint: this waterfall is Walk 3, located here.
Of course, there are hundreds of spectacular waterfalls in Costa Rica. When each and every one makes you stop and say “wow” it’s nearly impossible to choose your favorite. These were just our picks for Costa Rica’s best waterfalls. Let us know which waterfall was your favorite! Have you ever been to Costa Rica? Would you visit any of these waterfalls if you go?
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