explore costa rica

Costa Rica Waterfalls

Costa Rica’s waterfalls never fail in taking visitors’ breath away. Below you will discover some of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica that you will find in this beautiful country. We have listed the best waterfalls in Costa Rica by province and region.
Don't forget to book your vacation rentals with us

About Costa Rica Waterfalls

When it comes to ecotourism Costa Rica always stands out without a doubt, featuring among the top 5 and top 10 travel destinations in the world. Costa Rica offers many options for nature lovers, and if waterfalls are something you want to experience to the fullest, then Costa Rica, located in Central America, must be your next stop.

Related Articles:

Short on time? Read this: Ready, Set, Wet! The 5 Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica

Waterfalls in Guanacaste, Costa Rica


Rio Celeste Waterfall

The waterfalls in Guanacaste are a must-see for any hiker, adventurer, or nature lover. There are many waterfalls in the area of Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast that are worth visiting. Here are some of our favorite Costa Rica waterfalls.

Endowed with spectacular natural beauty and abundant wildlife, Rio Celeste Waterfall is one of the most popular waterfalls in Costa Rica. Located in Tenorio Volcano National Park, the surreal color of its waters gives the sensation of being inside another world.

How to visit the Rio Celeste Waterfall

To get to the Rio Celeste Waterfall, you need to get to the Tenorio Volcano National Park located in the Guanacaste Volcanic Mountain Range, in northern Costa Rica. Hiring a guided tour to Rio Celeste Waterfall is optional.

The path is perfectly signposted, however, if you want details about the national park, the lush rainforest, and the fauna of the place, then you can book a tour to see the Rio Celeste Waterfall.

This waterfall comes from the Rio Celeste River, and while you’re in Tenorio Volcano National Park, you can enjoy the area’s beautiful hot springs.

Unexpected rain (even during the dry season) can surprise you, so make sure to bring a raincoat just in case. The hike to the waterfall can take an average of 3 hours from the park’s entrance, therefore, don’t forget to bring comfy shoes.

Beware that trails can get muddy. You will find loose rocks, tree branches, and over 100 stairs on your way to the glorious Rio Celeste waterfall.

Rules & Restrictions
Even though Tenorio Volcano National Park closes at 2 pm, once you are inside you can remain there until 4 pm.
Swimming inside the park is not allowed, however, about 1km past the entrance there is a natural, calm pool. You can find it on Google Maps as “Rio Celeste Free Pool.”

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

With a few steps to reach the water, Llanos de Cortez waterfall greets its visitors with marvelous tropical beauty, a white sandy beach, and a humid breeze. Know for sure that tranquility and serenity are part of what you will find in this bewitched environment.
How to visit the Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
Llanos de Cortez is situated close to the town of Bagaces, about a half-hour south of Liberia and its international airport. Access to the waterfall is quite easy and it only takes around 5 minutes to get to it from the parking area. A tour guide is not required, you just need to follow the sound of the water, which lets you know how magnificent this cascade is.
Rules & Restrictions
None, you are allowed to swim freely along the river and at the base of the waterfall.

Oropéndola Waterfall

Located inside the National Park Rincon de la Vieja, this waterfall with emerald green water will leave you speechless. In addition to visiting the cascade, you can go hiking, horseback riding, getting in the hot springs, swimming, camping, and enjoying a picnic.
How to visit the Oropéndola Waterfall

The entrance to Oropéndola waterfall is through Hacienda Guachipelín, a hotel located in Liberia. You need to either buy the tickets on their website or at their front desk.

Either way, check-in at the hotel is mandatory as you need to wear a wristband to be allowed inside the property.

Rules & Restrictions
The road to the cascade is quite accessible since it has a very well-marked path, it is not steep, nor risky.
During Covid, the entrance to the waterfall is restricted, so it is recommended to get your tickets in advance. Swimming is allowed.
During the rainy season (particularly between September and November) you need to be cautious due to the potential flood risk as rain is heavier.

La Leona Waterfall

Visiting La Leona waterfall is nothing but an adventure all the way through. Hidden inside a mystical cavern, getting there requires walking through the jungle, crossing parts of the river, experiencing natural water slides (if wanted), and walking inside caves. La Leona waterfall is indeed a piece of heaven.
How to visit La Leona Waterfall

This cascade is located in a town called Curubandé, near Rincon de la Vieja National Park, about 30 minutes away from Liberia International Airport.

You can only access this waterfall by hiring a guided tour. It is a 3 hour hike as the cascade is hidden between caves and canyons.

You need to get wet a few times, so take easy to dry clothes and a swimsuit underneath. Closed-toed shoes are recommended due to all the rocks you will encounter on the way.

It is best to visit between January and April, which are the driest months. There is an easier trail to the waterfall that doesn’t include climbing up rocks or canyons, nonetheless, making it much less adventurous and fun.

Rules & Restrictions
Knowing how to swim is not mandatory for the tour, however, life jackets are provided as access to the waterfall requires crossing some ponds.
The minimum age for private tours is 4 years old, and for group tours is 8 years old.
The tour is not suited for people with knee, ankle, or mobility issues in general. If you are up for it, you can make your way back doing some rock climbing.

El Salto del Calvo Waterfall

Strangely unknown by many (even locals) this waterfall is not just the highest in Costa Rica, but in all Central America.  The name of this cascade translates as The Jump of the Bald Man and it is composed of two imposing waterfalls separated from each other by 574 feet, which measure 350 and 300 meters high.

This giant waterfall is located in San Isidro, a town in Hojancha, Guanacaste, 8.7 miles south of the center of the canton, in the direction of the Monte Alto reserve.

How to visit El Salto del Calvo Waterfall
Inaccessible due to new ownership.
Rules & Restrictions
Unfortunately, since the property where the waterfall is located was recently acquired by outside investors, the place is currently closed to visitors.

Waterfalls in Alajuela, Costa Rica


La Fortuna Waterfall

The La Fortuna waterfall is one of the most visited waterfalls in Costa Rica.

It is inside a biological reserve with an area of ​​210 hectares of lush vegetation and transitional humid tropical forest. The La Fortuna waterfall is part of the Arenal Volcano National Park, located in the North Zone of Costa Rica, in the La Fortuna district.

The popularity of La Fortuna makes the La Fortuna Waterfall the most accessible waterfall in Costa Rica.

How to visit the La Fortuna Waterfall

To get to La Fortuna waterfall you don’t need to hire a tour guide, you can go on your own by driving or taking a taxi (there is no bus service directly to there).

From the park entrance, you have to go down a well maintained trail with a bit more than 500 steps that take an average of 15 minutes to walk.

The gorgeous view of the forest and nearby proximity to Arenal Volcano and natural hot springs makes the journey to the Fortuna Waterfall an idyllic one.

Rules & Restrictions
Swimming is allowed, but since the cascade current is solid and there are spiked rocks in the plunging waterfall pool, it is highly risky for swimming straightforwardly at the base.
There are more settled and secure pools downstream with sandy bottoms and clear waters that are perfect for a refreshing dip. The path to the cascade is easy-going and safe, while the return is a little bit harder as the 500+ steps that take to get there are now uphill.


Del Toro Waterfall

Del Toro waterfall is located in a private property reserve between the Poas Volcano National Park and the Juan Castro Blanco National Park. This impressive 295 feet (90 meters) high cascade has the particular feature of falling into an ancient, dormant volcanic crater.

Del Toro Waterfall is known for offering one of the most beautiful landscapes in Costa Rica.

How to visit the Del Toro Waterfall

There are two trails you can take in this amazing spot. One leads to the waterfall and it is self-guided, so no tour is needed.

There are sitting areas along the path to enjoy the gorgeous view. Part of this first trail is flat and the other has some steep steps.

The second trail leads to the garden through a forest. The hike is easy and from it you can see the crater’s edge, allowing you to spot the waterfall from a variety of angles.

It takes approximately 90 minutes to go through both trails.

Rules & Restrictions
Swimming is not recommended as logs can be dragged into the current and can be dangerous.
Book Your
Costa Rica Vacation
Ready to experience the beauty and adventure of Costa Rica? Book your vacation now and discover all that this stunning destination has to offer!

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

The La Paz Waterfalls are a mandatory stop in Costa Rica’s Central Valley. It’s on the road leading to Arenal that connects Alajuela Province with the northern part of Costa Rica. These gardens are located in Costa Rica’s cloud forest habitat.

Even though the well-known waterfall can be observed for free from the road while passing through the cloud forest, it is best to experience La Paz, as well as a few other waterfalls inside La Paz Waterfall Gardens. You can see five waterfalls, including the Templo Waterfall, Magia Blanca Waterfall, Encantada Waterfall, Escondida Waterfall, and La Paz Waterfall inside the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

This eco-park also has hiking trails, a wildlife sanctuary, and more.

How to visit the La Paz Waterfall

Once in La Paz Waterfall Gardens, make sure you have at least 2 hours at your disposal to enjoy this place.

There is much to see here, including a butterfly garden with Blue Morpho butterflies, a hummingbird garden, and more.

Your experience here is self-guided, so you can go at your own pace.

There is a buffet restaurant inside featuring Costa Rican food, among other options, in case you get hungry.

Rules & Restrictions
Swimming in the waterfalls is not allowed.

Blue Falls

Located 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) north of Bajos del Toro, in Sarchí, Alajuela province, there is this natural wonder called Blue Falls. It is a compilation of 6 waterfalls (Tepezcuintle, Las Gemelas, La Celestial I, La Celestial II, La Turquesa, and La Pintada) that will drop your jaw to the floor.

How to visit Blue Falls

Visiting Blue Falls just north of Bajos del Toro on your own is not an option, hiring a guided tour is needed, but it is worth it and highly necessary.

To get the best of the area and enjoy these cascades to the fullest, be ready for intense bushwhacking through the cloud forest, river crossings, and some steep sections using ropes.

There are two guided tour packages available.

There is the regular Blue Falls of Costa Rica excursion ($15 adults, $7.5 children) with an approximate duration of 2-3 hours, and an extreme full tour ($50 adults, $25 children), taking an average of 5-6 hours.

Rules & Restrictions
It is recommended to bring water and snacks, old non-slip tennis shoes, a swimsuit, and extra clothes. Picnics are allowed and you can swim in any of the blue pools the waterfalls offer.
You are not allowed to bring pets, awnings, tables, chairs, grills, coolers, drugs, or alcohol. The recommended minimum age for the extreme full tour is 18 years old.

Waterfalls in Puntarenas, Costa Rica


Nauyaca Waterfalls

Nauyaca Waterfall is different and exotic, making it worthy of occupying the first position in a world ranking of waterfalls and cliffs for adventurers made by The Travel site. Surrounded by a dense tropical rainforest, this cascade will blow you away.

How to visit Nauyaca Waterfalls

Nauyaca Waterfalls is located along the central Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Specifically, it’s located in Dominical, San Isidro PZ, in Puntarenas Province, in a canyon, approximately eighty meters wide.

One of the falls is 147 feet (45 meters) high in free fall and the other is 65 feet (20 meters) high in a stepped fall. They form a natural swimming hole of approximately 10,700 sq feet (1000 sq meters) and 20 feet (6 meters) deep.

Natural pools, good for swimming and relaxing, can be found around. In Nauyaca Waterfall you can also do hiking and horseback riding.

You don’t need to hire a tour guide in order to enjoy this slice of paradise, but you do need to buy an admission ticket at the office.

Rules & Restrictions
Nauyaca is not a very easily accessible waterfall. The hike takes about an hour (one way). The trail climbs slightly and the weather is hot and humid, making the hike difficult for some people.
That being said, it is not recommended for young children, pregnant women, older adults, or people with health problems. Swimming is allowed. After 3:30 pm, all access to the waterfall is closed.

Montezuma Waterfall

Located in a town called Montezuma, in the Gulf of Nicoya, this three tiered waterfall is one of the main attractions of the area.

The top waterfall is the smallest, it is about 15 feet (4.5 meters) tall, and it creates a beautiful deep pool where visitors can swim. Its depth goes from 5 to 15 feet deep.

The middle waterfall hides between the upper and lower cascades, and it drops at 40 feet (12 meters). The lower cascade is around 80 feet (24 meters), making it the biggest of the three. Together, they are called the Montezuma Waterfalls.

How to visit Montezuma Waterfall

There are two ways of getting to the Montezuma Waterfalls, either by hiking through the Riverbed trail or through the Canopy Tour Trail.

You can reach the lower waterfall and its pool after a 20-minute hike on the Riverbed trail. From there, a steep climb awaits you to reach the other two waterfalls.

From the Canopy tour trail, you can have easier access to the top two cascades, but a car or ride is needed.

Rules & Restrictions
It is recommended to visit this waterfall during the dry season (December-April). Jumping from the middle and lower cascades is not encouraged as some accidents have occurred in the past and rocks tend to be quite risky. Even when this place is open 24 hours a day, it is best to visit it with enough daylight, you don’t want to explore the area at night and risk getting lost.

Bijagual Waterfall

Bijagual Waterfall is the largest waterfall in the central Pacific and the second-largest in Costa Rica. Bordering the National Park Carara, the Bijagual waterfall offers great scenery that is difficult to forget.

Filled with wildlife, several shades of green and a fantastic view of the pacific ocean on the trail to the waterfall, get ready to be amazed.

How to visit Bijagual Waterfall

This cascade, also known as “Manantial de Agua Viva” waterfall,  is located on the border between San Jose and Puntarenas, near Jaco, in the mountain town of Bijagual.

You have to pay for the entrance at the Bijagual Waterfalls lobby. A guided tour is not needed, but there are options in case you are interested.

Getting to the waterfall takes a total of approximately 2.5 hours on a moderate to difficult trail.

Rules & Restrictions
The horseback riding tour takes about 45 minutes, one way. Afterwards, the path to the waterfall consists of more than 400 steps to descend, which you need to climb on the way back. Swimming is allowed.
Book Your
Costa Rica Vacation
Ready to experience the beauty and adventure of Costa Rica? Book your vacation now and discover all that this stunning destination has to offer!

Waterfalls in San Jose, Costa Rica


Diamante Waterfall

Diamante Waterfall is not only one of the highest cascades in Costa Rica, but is also the only one where you can spend the night in a cave, right behind its drop. It’s also one of the tallest waterfalls in Costa Rica. Visiting this cascade is undoubtedly a one-of-a-kind experience that you will remember for a lifetime.

How to visit Diamante Waterfall

In the town of Las Tumbas in the district of Barú, 25 minutes from Dominical and on the way to San Isidro, is the Diamond Property.

This is a private property in the tropical primary forest that contains an amazing chain of waterfalls (about 10), including the star of them all, the Diamante waterfall.

Wildlife can be seen along the way and the view is out of this world, so get your camera ready. A guided tour is required. Tour prices include lunch, dinner, breakfast, and more. You have over 5 different tours to choose from.

Rules & Restrictions
A guided tour is mandatory for safety reasons (since this is a remote area, and getting lost is highly likely) and also to learn about the forest, abundant wildlife, medicinal plants, and more.
Hiking takes about 3 hours and it is a demanding 1.8 miles (3 kilometers), fairly steep ascent to the waterfall. Swimming in the different relaxing, natural pools is allowed.
The cave where you can spend the night is equipped with a kitchen, bathrooms, and platforms for sleeping. Meals and parking are included in the tours.

Campesinos Waterfall

Visiting Campesinos Waterfall includes the exciting adventure of crossing one of the largest suspension bridges in Costa Rica. From it, you can see this breathtaking cascade and enjoy the feeling of walking on top of countless trees. On the path to the waterfall, there are water springs everywhere. This place is the true definition of paradise.
How to visit Campesinos Waterfall

This cascade is located in San Lorenzo, a district of the Tarrazú canton, in the San Jose province. Entrance is paid at Los Campesinos Ecolodge and it includes: parking, 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) of self-guided paths, 2 suspension bridges, dressers, and access to the waterfall and natural pools. 

Ecolodge offers a wide variety of tours that you can enjoy there such as a Vanilla Plantation Tour, hike to the Pacific Lookout, Horseback riding tours, and more. Accommodation is also available if you choose to stay in this magical location.

Rules & Restrictions
Swimming is allowed, and guided tours are not mandatory to get to the waterfalls.

Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s cascades are all simply spectacular in their own way. However, some of those that stand out as favorite or most visited waterfalls are: Nauyaca Waterfall, Rio Celeste Waterfall, La Fortuna Waterfall, Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, La Paz Waterfalls, and Del Toro Waterfall. Visiting Costa Rica’s waterfalls makes a wonderful day trip from beach towns in Costa Rica, like Playa Flamingo and Playas del Coco.

Highest Waterfall in Costa Rica

The highest waterfall in Costa Rica is El Salto del Calvo,  at 1148 feet (350 meters) in height. Unfortunately, as of April 2022, the property where the waterfall resides is not open to visitors.

Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica for Swimming

Blue Falls, Llanos de Cortez, and Nauyaca Waterfalls feature as favorites for swimming. Yet, remember that the waterfalls where you are allowed to swim will also provide a great experience to do so.

Other Costa Rica Waterfalls

Other Costa Rica waterfalls not included on this list that you may be interested in visiting include the Los Chorros Waterfalls and Catarata del Toro Waterfall. The Los Chorros Waterfalls are located just outside of San Jose near the Central Valley. The Catarata del Toro Waterfall is located by the Blue Falls in Bajos del Toro.

Enjoy the Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica

Visiting the best waterfalls in Costa Rica doesn’t translate to staring at a bunch of water falling into a river, it is actually the true definition of adventure and fantastic natural beauty. Paradisiacal trails, unexpected water springs, mind-blowing suspension bridges, hiking among caves, and evergreen forests filled with wildlife are just a short description of what you can find. Horseback riding, rappelling, swimming, and other interesting options await you while visiting waterfalls in Costa Rica.

Other Attractions
After you have visited volcanoes and national parks you may want to observe (or cool off in) some of the many beautiful waterfalls while in Costa Rica. Be sure to view our full list of things to do in Costa Rica to ensure you’re experiencing all of the main attractions while on your vacation.


A Few Things Guests
Normally Ask
There are a bit over 400 waterfalls recorded in Costa Rica, spread throughout the country.
Being allowed to swim depends on the waterfall. In most of them you can, as specified above.
It is hard to tell for sure which one is the most beautiful of Costa Rica waterfalls, as they all have their own magic spark, but Del Toro Waterfall will simply amaze you and transport you to another world. The extinct crater it falls into and the gorgeous vegetation around looks like a surreal painting.
Find a Property