When you visit a Costa Rican waterfall, you are truly immersed in the essence of Pura Vida, or Pure Life. The sound of the rushing water, the crisp ionized air, and the refreshing pools will wash away all the troubles of modern life and leave you feeling completely refreshed and rejuvenated. It’s like a shower for your soul! Luckily when you stay at Pura Vida House you have easy access to some of the best waterfalls in Guanacaste – the province where we reside.

Llanos de Cortes Waterfall

This waterfall, or catarata as it’s called in Spanish, is not only close to Pura Vida House, it is also one of the most swimmable waterfalls in Guanacaste. The Llanos de Cortes Waterfall is close to the city of Liberia, which is likely the city you flew into to get to Costa Rica. The falls are near the town of Bagaces, which is only a two-hour drive from Pura Vida House, which is located within the Hacienda Pinilla Beach Resort.

After paying the $7 entrance fee, visitors to the falls can park their car in the secure parking lot and descend the long cement staircase. The railing makes this easily accessible for most people, however, the stairs are large and require somewhat big steps up and down. Once you reach the bottom of the stairs you will feel like you have been transported to a tropical oasis, with the sound of marimba music echoing around the rocky cliffs and the sight of the cascading falls.

As one of Guanacaste’s best waterfalls, Llanos de Cortes is the perfect place to bring a picnic basket and spend the whole day. At the base of the falls there is a refreshing pool for swimming as well as an area for lounging. Visitors here can get a guided hike around the area to jump off the rocks into the hidden pools and get a view from the top of the falls, which are 60 to 70 feet high!

Rio Celeste Waterfall

Best known for its ethereal blue water, the Rio Celeste Waterfall has earned its designation as one of the best waterfalls in Guanacaste for enticing visitors with its shocking color. While you can’t swim in these falls, getting to see and photograph this unbelievably blue pool is well worth the three-hour drive from Pura Vida House and the hike to the falls. For those who need to cool down after their hike to the waterfall, there is a free public entrance about half a mile past the park entrance near the bridge where the Rio Celeste Free Pool can be found and swimming is permitted.

Since the Rio Celeste Waterfall receives a lot of visitors every year, the trail from the Tenorio Volcano National Park entrance to the waterfall is well maintained and is a fairly easy hike. The last segment of the trail will take you down a long flight of stairs carved into the mountainside, with about 150 steps. It will take you about 30 minutes to hike down to the falls from the park entrance. If you choose to do the entire Rio Celeste Hike, it will take about three hours overall. The cost to enter the Tenorio Volcano National Park is around $12.

La Leona Waterfall

If you’re looking for a true adventure you must visit one of the best and most exciting waterfalls in Guanacaste. La Leona Waterfall is found within a cave and visitors must wade through waist-high water at one point of the hike to the falls. Easily one of the best and most fun hikes in Costa Rica, this hike will take you through natural pools and canyons so be sure to wear your bathing suit and water shoes. The hike itself will take about three hours and there is even the opportunity to go river-tubing if you’re so inclined.

Visitors here must take a guide to reach this waterfall but it is well worth the price at only $25 per person. Located on private property near the town of Curubande, it will take about two hours to drive here from Pura Vida House. Unlike the relaxed pace of the previously mentioned waterfalls, visiting these falls is an adrenaline filled day followed by a surreal swim within the natural cavern.

La Cangreja Waterfall

Often referred to as the blue lagoon, La Cangreja Waterfall has a beautiful blue color thanks to mineral deposits similar to Rio Celeste. La Cangreja, or the crab, Waterfall is found within the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, which offers some of the best hiking in Costa Rica. The three-mile hike to reach the falls will take you through the forest, which boasts diverse flora and fauna like coatis, three types of monkeys, and over 300 species of birds.

The 130-foot high La Cangreja Waterfall plunges into a turquoise blue pool. While you can’t swim at the falls, the hike and surrounding jungle make the six-mile round trip hike worthwhile. In fact, with bubbling volcanic mud pots, the journey to the falls will likely be the highlight of your trip. To visit this waterfall, you can book a tour with Hacienda Guachipelin or simply enter the national park and pay the entrance fees, which are $16.95 for adults and $5.65 for children. This fall can be reached in about two and a half hours from Pura Vida House.

Oropendola Waterfall

Another waterfall that can be found on the property of Hacienda Guachipelin within the Rincon de la Vieja National Park is the Oropendola Waterfall. While there are four main waterfalls to explore along the property of Hacienda Guachipelin, Oropendola Waterfall is the largest, plunging an impressive 82 feet into a greenish-blue pool. The hike to the falls is moderate and crosses a unique hanging bridge. Below the falls is Rio Blanco which allows for a refreshing swim after your hike.

To access this waterfall, you will need to purchase tickets at Hacienda Guachepelin or on their website. The hike to the Oropendola Falls includes a typical Costa Rican lunch for $32 per person. You can even add on horseback riding, river tubing, canyoning, or a dip in the volcanic hot springs. These falls at the base of the volcano are only a two-hour drive from Pura Vida House.

A trip to Costa Rica is a rejuvenating experience when you add a trip to one or more of the best waterfalls in Guanacaste to your itinerary! Please contact us with any questions you have if you are considering an all-inclusive vacation rental in Costa Rica. We are available at (614) 600-1904 or info@thepuravidahouse.com.

Blog by: Jennifer LaCharite – Costa Consultants, International