Posted on 3/13/2018

5 of the Best Waterfalls in Guanacaste

There are few simple pleasures more delicious than hiking to a deserted waterfall in the middle of paradise, peeling off your walking shoes, and then jumping into a cool, mountain-fed swimming hole. In fact, we love this simple pleasure so much that we make it practically our job to scope out the best waterfalls in Guanacaste, Costa Rica (and beyond). Hey, it's a tough gig but someone's got to do it! After long days of arduous hard work, we've whittled this list down to five of our favorites, all within a few hours' drive of Tamarindo. And now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to hike and swim more of the best waterfalls in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. As we said, it's our job.

Las Chorreras and La Oropéndola Waterfalls

Located within Hacienda Guachipelin, just outside Rincón de la Vieja National Park, sister waterfalls Las Chorreras and Oropendola offer a true nature retreat. Start with Las Chorreras, about a 20-minute (1.25 miles) walk from the hotel; here, twin cascades are surrounded by large rocks and spill into a refreshing swimming pool. If you're up for more of a challenge, take the 45-minute walk from the hotel – the trail loops about 2.5 miles through tropical dry forest – into Rincón de la Vieja National Park and its sky-high Oropendola Waterfall, which flows into a bright turquoise pool and offers scenic photo ops and cool swimming. Cost: Chorreras: $27 adults / $22 children (4-10) / Oropendola: $45 adults / $35 children (4-10) + $15 national park feet Difficulty: Moderate

La Piedra del Indio Waterfall

One of Costa Rica's most incredible (and best-kept) secrets, La Piedra del Indio Waterfall (Indian's Rock) tumbles 260+ feet and is named for the pre-Columbian figures that bedeck a large rock before the falls. This picturesque waterfall is surrounded by tropical dry forest – home to various monkeys, sloths, toucans, coatis, and other wildlife – and races down the rocks to feed a cool and refreshing swimming hole below. Cost: Chorreras: $27 adults / $22 children (4-10) / Oropendola: $45 adults / $35 children (4-10) + $15 national park feet Difficulty: Moderate (walking) or Easy (if you take a 4WD or ATV down to the falls)

Land of Senses Waterfalls

A secret known only to a few, Sensoria (the Land of Senses) is a special place, veiled and protected by the rainforests surrounding Rincón de la Vieja National Park. And here, amidst hot springs and jungle trails, stand a quintet of magical cascades: Madrigal Canyon Waterfall (a capsule waterfall inside a cave!), Dantas Waterfall, Jicara Waterfall, Aguilar Waterfall, and Buenos Aires Waterfall. Some of the waterfalls and their swimming holes are bright blue in color, thanks to a fortuitous mineral balance. Cost: $120 adults / $90 children (6-11), includes a bilingual guide, snack and lunch Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Llanos de Cortés Waterfall

Located less than two hours from Tamarindo, between Liberia and Bagaces, this easy-to-hike waterfall is considered one of, if not the most beautiful waterfall in Costa Rica. As stunning as it is large (about 50 feet wide by 12 feet tall), Llanos de Cortés Waterfall stands as a cool-water oasis, even in the parched Guanacaste summer. (Note: By March/April, expect more of a wispy water-flow, rather than a torrential waterfall.) The large, clean and mostly clear pool beneath the falls offers a calm and welcome respite, complete with a small, sandy beach. Cost: Free. (About $5 parking) Welcome donations support the nearby Los Llanos school. Difficulty: Easy, although the 10-minute hike from the parking lot is relatively steep.

Viento Fresco Waterfalls

Named for the cool winds that whisper through the trees, Viento Fresco is an enchanting spot about 3 hours from Tamarindo (and, at just 7 miles from Tilaran; it's a great day trip, especially if you're spending an overnight in Arenal or Monteverde). Amidst shaded forest trails hide five beautiful waterfalls: Serena Waterfall (102 feet), Hidden Waterfall (66 feet and with 2 caves), Rainbow Waterfall (247 feet), Slide Waterfall (312 feet), and The Rock Waterfall (49,21 feet). Cost: $15 adults / $12 students / $10 children (6-12) Difficulty: Easy So, what'd we miss? Fill us in on your picks for the best waterfalls in Guanacaste! SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSaveSaveSave
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