Costa Rica has so many stunning natural characteristics for you to experience, including impressive volcanoes, winding rivers, tropical rain forests, and stunning waterfalls. Several of the Costa Rica waterfalls that you’ll find there are surrounded by epic scenery that is sure to leave you utterly breathless.
A number of them have fantastic hiking trails that you’ll have to take to be able to see them, but there are still plenty that won’t require much walking on your part if you’re not able to.
Should you take an ATV tour or horseback riding tour, there’s a good chance that your guide will take you to a hidden waterfall, where you may even be able to swim. We’ll leave those for you to discover with your guide.
Read on to discover several of the more well known waterfalls in Costa Rica. These you’ll definitely need to witness for yourself when visiting the Pura Vida country of Costa Rica.
La Fortuna Waterfall
The La Fortuna waterfall is without a doubt one of the most popular waterfalls in Costa Rica. It is located near the Arenal Volcano in the La Fortuna area. It is about 75 meters high. There are several viewing platforms where you can take in the stunning views. You can even go for a swim in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.
While this waterfall tends to always be busy with lots of people, it’s still a wonderful cascade that you won’t want to miss out on. Be prepared to get a cardio workout on the stairs coming back up.
Mistico Hanging Bridges
There’s also a lovely waterfall at Mistico Hanging Bridges, also in the Arenal area. It doesn’t have quite as many stairs. But it is a fair hike in through the rainforest and over several hanging bridges. We spotted a Blue Morpha Butterfly dancing around the base of the falls here.
Cahuita Waterfall is located in Cahuita National Park on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. This waterfall is about 15 meters high and has a small pool at the bottom where you can take a refreshing dip. Less touristy than La Fortuna, the surrounding jungle and wildlife make this an unforgettable experience. These falls don’t cost you anything to visit, although any donations you’re willing to give are welcomed.
Catarata Llanos de Cortes Waterfall
At certain points in the year, especially around January through April, the rainforests of Guanacaste feel an awful lot like you’re baking in an oven. But when you’re hoping to find a magical oasis where you can cool off, the Catarata Llanos de Cortes waterfall is a great destination to visit.
This waterfall is about 90 meters high and you can even bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of the many tables located nearby. Keep in mind that you’re no longer able to swim beneath or behind the waterfall, but you’re still encouraged to around it. This is one of the best day trips that visitors take from Playas del Coco and is about a 25-minute drive from Liberia.
Cascada El Pavon
The Cascada El Pavon Waterfall is located in the town of Puntarenas. It’s about a three-hour drive from San Jose, but well worth the trip if you love waterfalls. This one is unique because it’s set in the middle of a residential area.
However, don’t let that fool you – it’s still an incredibly beautiful spot. It’s also neat because it has a large rock resting in between the rocky cliffs that surround the waterfall on each side.
The best time to visit is right after the rain when the flow is at its strongest. You can even bring an inner tube and float downstream for a bit. Just be sure to wear proper footwear as the rocky terrain can be slippery.
Puerto Viejo Waterfalls
The Voilo Waterfalls are located near the town of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. There are three different waterfalls to explore, each with its own unique features.
Even if you’re not a football fan, there’s a good chance you may have seen Montezuma Waterfall before without even realizing it. Back in 2015, Tom Brady made it famous when he jumped off the cliff for a 60-foot drop down into the pool far below.
Most people don’t dare such a jump, but the waterfall and the Sun Trail hike alone are worth the visit. This waterfall is located in the Montezuma area on the Nicoya Peninsula.
There are so many amazing waterfalls to experience when visiting Costa Rica, but if you’re still searching for that one that may be a little more impressive than the rest, look no further. Nauyaca Waterfalls are some of the tallest in the country, and perhaps even in all of Central America. They are located near Dominical on the Pacific coast and are about 80 meters high. You can hike to the top for an incredible view or relax or swim in one of the many pools along the way. It’s about a 5-mile hike there and back to witness this beauty.
Los Chorros Waterfall
Also known as The Jets, Los Chorros waterfall is one of the most visited waterfalls in Costa Rica. The water comes rushing down from a height of 30 meters and creates a natural Jacuzzi at its base, which is perfect for swimming. The waterfall is located near the town of La Fortuna and is also home to the famous Arenal Volcano.
Rio Celeste Waterfall
Not long ago the Rio Celeste Waterfall was one of Costa Rica’s most hidden gems, but it’s apparent that tourists and locals have recently taken notice. It’s also not a stretch to say that the majestic Rio Celeste is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world due to its tranquility and surrounding beauty.
The Rio Celeste Waterfall is located in the Tenorio Volcano National Park. The waterfall gets its turquoise blue color from a chemical reaction between sulfur and calcium carbonate, providing visitors with a mesmerizing sight.
There is no swimming in the waterfalls or hot springs here. But there is a swimming hope just outside the park by the bridge.
Danta Falls is hidden away in the lush green rainforest near La Fortuna. It’s about a 45-minute hike to get to the falls, but it’s definitely worth it. Once you’re there, you can take a dip in one of the pools or just enjoy the views.
Pura Vida Waterfall Gardens
Pura Vida Waterfall Gardens is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Costa Rica, and for good reason. The park features six uniquely-different waterfalls, as well as a butterfly observatory, a hummingbird garden, and a reptile exhibit. The Pura Vida Waterfall Gardens are located in the Central Valley, about an hour from San Jose.
Catarata del Toro Waterfall
This is the tallest waterfall in Costa Rica, with a height of 100 meters. It’s located in the Chirripo National Park and can only be reached by hiking (the trail takes about 4-5 hours). But trust us, it’s worth it. Once you get there, you’ll be rewarded with incredible views, not just of the waterfall, but also of the surrounding jungle.
More Costa Rica Fun:
So, there you have it, some of the best waterfalls that Costa Rica has to offer. You’ll be met not only with incredible beauty but also great hiking trails on some of them, as well as fascinating wildlife. Do you have a favorite waterfall that you’d like to visit in Costa Rica? Let me know in the comments below!