Top 10 Waterfalls In Costa Rica Every Explorer Must See - Updated 2023

Celia
Celia 
Updated
| 4 min read

The raw and fierce beauty of Costa Rica inspires many travelers to retreat into nature. With a rugged landscape filled with lush rainforests, misty volcanoes, and stunning beaches, it is as if the country is created to showcase the best that the natural world has to offer. So, it’s not surprising that Costa Rica boasts an amazing collection of waterfalls for anyone hunting for wild and beautiful spots in the country. Gorgeous waterfalls dot the landscape. Some of them are powerful ones gushing from several meters high and some of them are gently flowing drop-offs over multiple cascades. Ultimately, they are all worth a visit. Check out the top waterfalls in Costa Rica below.

1. La Fortuna Waterfalls (from USD 18.0)

Found at the base of Chato Volcano in Central Costa Rica, La Fortuna is an absolute beast of a waterfall. The majestic cascade drops about 75 meters (246 feet) into a sparkling turquoise pool in the heart of a tropical rainforest. It is one of the most popular waterfalls in the country, with over 100,000 tourists making their way to the natural attraction every year. Despite the crowds, it’s not difficult to be awestruck by the mighty roar of La Fortuna. Descend down a narrow jungle path to experience the cascade’s power and beauty from the base.

La Fortuna Waterfall Admission Ticket

Duration: 1 to 2 hours

366 reviews

2. Nauyaca Waterfall (from USD 170.0)

Travelers can hike, ride a horse, or hop on an ATV for the 4-kilometer (2.5-mile) journey to the impressive Nauyaca Waterfall. Found in the South Pacific just outside Dominical, the waterfall is a notable tourist favorite. Split into two tiers, the 61-meter (200-feet) waterfall flows over cliffs and into a large watering hole at the base that’s perfect for a refreshing dip after a long hike. If you’re an animal lover, stay alert for jungle inhabitants such as monkeys that may be peeking out from behind the trees.

Nauyaca Waterfalls Hike and Surf Lessons

Duration: 8 hours

3. Llanos del Cortez Waterfall (from USD 155.0)

Head to Bagaces to visit the stunning Llanos del Cortez Waterfall. The eye-catching multi-cascade wonder is one of the most picture-perfect waterfalls in Costa Rica. It is greater in width than in height, with hanging plants peeking out from behind the curtain of water. The cascade tumbles into a vast yet shallow pool that’s great for swimming and splashing around. Unique to Llanos del Cortez is its wide sandy shore, the perfect spot for families where they can relax and hang out the whole day.

Llanos del Cortez Waterfall and Coffee Tour from Guanacaste

Duration: 6 hours

12 reviews

4. Bijagual Waterfall

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Marvel at the 183-meter (600-foot) Bijagual Waterfall in the mountain town of Bijagual. While it is lesser known than others, the towering cascade also known as Manantial de Agua Viva is no less impressive. It’s one of the highest waterfalls in the country with a wide base that’s ideal for swimming. Even the journey to Bijagual is noteworthy. Experience a guided horseback ride or a hike that will take you through spectacular sceneries of the rainforest and Pacific Ocean. Tropical life will also be on display, whether you’re looking in the sky at colorful birds or keeping your head in the ground for a glimpse of sloths and poison dart frogs.

Bijagual Waterfall

Address: San José Province, Costa Rica

5. Diamante Waterfall

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

One of the tallest cascades in the country is Diamante Waterfall, boasting a 183-meter (600-foot) drop. With an experienced guide leading the way, follow the off-the-beaten trail through vibrant flora, bustling critters, and even the occasional toucan or monkey. Be prepared for a fun, strenuous hike with rappelling opportunities. Eventually, you’ll hear the tell-tale roar of Diamante Waterfall. And if you want the gushing water to lull you to sleep, opt for an overnight experience. Behind the cascading water is a spacious cave set up as a cozy camp with sleeping areas, tables, chairs, and even functioning toilets.

Diamante Waterfall

Address: Las Tumbas, Costa Rica

6. Montezuma Waterfall

Waterfall at Montezuma
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Vargob used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The laidback town of Montezuma is primarily known for its pretty beaches, but deep in the forests just outside town is a three-tiered waterfall that gives the coast a run for its money. Travelers can trek to the top through the Sun Trail path. Rising about 18 meters (60 feet) high, the second waterfall is a favorite of daredevils who are eager to literally jump off the edge. Diving off the peak is allowed here, but do so at your own risk!

Montezuma Waterfall

Address: Puntarenas Province, Paquera, Costa Rica

7. Catarata del Toro

Jurassic Cataracts
Source: Photo by Flickr user Steve Jurvetson used under CC BY 2.0

Few travelers make their way to Catarata del Toro, a breathtaking giant of a waterfall that tumbles from a height of about 90 meters (300 feet). Hidden away in the remote Bajos del Toro, the stunning cascade is a jaw-dropping sight as it spills into an extinct volcanic crater below. Hike down a few hundred steps to marvel at the waterfall from its base. While swimming is prohibited, there is plenty to explore in the untouched surroundings. In the absence of crowds, wildlife such as armadillos and hummingbirds are more likely to venture out here.

Catarata del Toro

Address: Bajos del Toro, Costa Rica

8. Los Chorros Waterfalls

Chorros waterfall, Grecia, Costa Rica
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rodtico21 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Spend a fun-filled day exploring Los Chorros Waterfalls, a pair of large cascades found in a sliver of the jungle just outside the town of Grecia. The duo, known individually as Catarata Zamora and Catarata Prendas, is a local hangout with a number of tables in the area for hanging out and eating. It’s a quick stroll from the park entrance to the two waterfalls, although travelers must cross a river or two to get there.

Los Chorros Municipal Recreative Park

Address: Ruta 722, Provincia de Alajuela, Costa Rica

Opening hours: 8am - 4pm (daily)

9. Rio Celeste Waterfall (from USD 108.0)

One of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica is Rio Celeste Waterfall at Tenorio Volcano National Park. Tucked deep in a vibrant tropical rainforest, every first glimpse of the waterfall feels like stumbling into a dream, especially after the one or two-hour hike from the park entrance. Cool waters plunge into a tranquil lagoon with an enchanting turquoise hue, an unearthly shade that’s the result of volcano and rainforest minerals mixing in the water. Swimming is not permitted here, but the breathtaking natural scenery alone is worth the trip.

Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike from Arenal

Duration: 6 hours

18 reviews

10. La Paz Waterfall (from USD 99.0)

With five waterfalls on the property, La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a must-visit for anyone chasing waterfalls in Costa Rica. Nestled in a serene cloud forest north of San Jose, the nature park is a fun day trip for the whole family. Besides offering awe-inspiring waterfalls of all shapes and sizes, the privately owned property is teeming with wildlife such as spider monkeys, toucans, hummingbirds, and even jaguars. In between snapping pictures of the cascades and splashing around the pools, explore the sprawling park’s animal sanctuary that has over 100 species.

La Paz Waterfall Garden Tour from San Jose

Duration: 7 hours

10 reviews

Let’s go chasing waterfalls in Costa Rica

Bask in the sheer beauty of nature and chase down these wild and beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica. And on your way, you’ll be treated to ancient trees, volcanic craters, wild animals, and vibrant plants in all shades of green. Whether you prefer big and powerful cascades or multi-tiered showers, these natural gems offer some of the best and most unforgettable experiences in Costa Rica.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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A freelance writer from the Philippines, Celia Nachura is always in search of new people, food, adventure, and a good story.

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