12 best waterfalls in Costa Rica you shouldn’t miss (+ map)

One of the best things to do in Costa Rica is visit waterfalls!

Some are great for swimming, some for jumping, and some are simply just stunning. What they all have in common is that they’ll get your heart racing!

I’ve handpicked the best waterfalls in Costa Rica that you should visit on your trip. Let’s dive in!

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The best waterfalls in Costa Rica map

On this map, you can see the 12 best waterfalls in Costa Rica.

Use the map by zooming in and out on the + and – buttons in the left corner. When you click the numbers, the name of the waterfall appears.

Best waterfalls in Costa Rica

1. La Fortuna Waterfall

La Fortuna Waterfall is located near Arenal Volcano, just 5 km from the center of Costa Rica’s adventure capital, La Fortuna.

Towering at 200 feet, the waterfall has a stunning 70-meter drop into a crystal-clear pool. You’ll need to walk 480 steps to the base where you can enjoy the jade-colored pool, surrounded by lush rainforest.

There’s a $18 entry fee to enter, and swimming is not allowed.

best waterfalls in costa rica - La Fortuna Waterfall

2. Rio Celeste Waterfall

Rio Celeste Waterfall is the most famous waterfall in Costa Rica and for good reason!

Nestled in Tenorio Volcano National Park, it’s known for its striking turquoise water, thanks to volcanic minerals.

The hike there is moderately challenging but rewards you with incredible rainforest scenery.

Entry to the park costs $12, and swimming is not allowed.

best waterfalls in costa rica - Rio Celeste Waterfall

3. Nauyaca Waterfalls

Nauyaca Waterfalls is a two-tiered must-see in Costa Rica’s lush rainforest.

You can hike, ride horseback, or take a 4×4 truck to reach it. The upper falls drop 147 feet, while the lower falls have a swimmable 20-meter cascade.

Entry costs $10 for hiking, $85 for horseback, or $32 for the truck.

best waterfalls in costa rica - Nauyaca Waterfalls

4. Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall is located in Guanacaste, and it’s one of my favorite waterfalls in Costa Rica.

It boasts a sandy beach and a swimming area, perfect for families.

The entrance fee is around $7, and it’s just a short hike from the parking lot to the falls. It’s particularly impressive in the rainy season when it’s fullest.

Llanos de Cortez waterfall

5. Catarata del Toro

Catarata del Toro drops a massive 270 feet into an extinct volcano crater. The park has a beautiful garden and trails with some great spots to see the waterfall.

You’ve got around 200 steep steps to get down there, but it’s absolutely worth the effort!

You can also check out the different colored rocks around the crater. Hands down, it’s one of the best waterfalls around.

best waterfalls in costa rica - Catarata del Toro

6. Montezuma Waterfall

Montezuma Waterfall is in the Nicoya Peninsula.

It has three levels, with the lowest one being the easiest to get to. Just walk 10 minutes west from downtown, cross a bridge by La Cascada Restaurant, and follow the trail.

To reach the higher levels, head to Sun Trails, pay ₡2,000 and use their trails. Jumping from the top is pretty gutsy, so be careful.

best waterfalls in costa rica - Montezuma Waterfall

7. Los Chorros Waterfalls

Los Chorros is a must-visit for waterfall lovers.

Known for its strong, jet-like streams, it’s easily accessible from the entrance. The main draw is Catarata Zamora, a 40-meter-high waterfall creating a powerful mist.

The other waterfall, Catarata Prendas, is nearby but can be tricky to reach if the water is high. Both are worth the short hike.

best waterfalls in costa rica - Los Chorros Waterfalls

8. San Gerardo Waterfall

This one is for the bold!

Sometimes called the Rio Savegre Waterfall, the San Gerardo Waterfall is a little-known waterfall near San Gerardo de Dota.

You’ll need to cross a shaky hanging bridge and some old stairs before you climb down a boulder using nothing but a rope. But the view is extraordinary!

best waterfalls in costa rica - Savegre

9. El Tigre Waterfall

El Tigre Waterfalls is one of the best things to do in Monteverde! The trail features four different waterfalls and several smaller ones, making it one of the top hikes in the area.

You’ll find suspension bridges over rivers and a variety of waterfall sizes, including the impressive El Tigre Falls.

After the 2.3-mile moderate hike, you can get free juices and coffee, and there’s a restaurant, too.

best waterfalls in costa rica - el tigre monteverde Waterfall

10. Diamante Waterfalls and cave

Costa Rica is full of stunning waterfalls, but let’s talk about a real hidden gem: Diamante Verde (Green Diamond).

Tucked away in the Southern Zone, these ten jungle waterfalls are a sight to behold.

Here’s the twist – there’s a secret cave where you can actually spend the night! If you’re up for an off-the-beaten-path adventure near Manuel Antonio or Costa Ballena, Diamante Waterfall is the place to go.

Just a heads up, though – you’ll need a guide to explore this unique spot. You can also try canyoning if you dare!

Read next: 30 inspiring waterfall quotes about life

11. Catarata del Cangreja

La Cangreja Waterfall sits in Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

The waterfall is a beauty, standing 130 feet tall and flowing into a turquoise pool.

You’ll need to tackle a 10 km hike through changing terrains and forests to reach it. It’s a bit challenging, with uphill and downhill parts, but the varied landscapes, wildlife, and the awesome view at the end make it worth the effort.

No swimming allowed.

best waterfalls in costa rica - Catarata del Cangreja

12. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is the perfect day trip an hour from San Jose.

You’ll find five stunning waterfalls here, and Magia Blanca, the main waterfall, drops from a height of 120 feet, which creates a misty spectacle.

Plus, you’ll stroll through a garden filled with orchids, hummingbirds, and butterflies.

best waterfalls in costa rica - Paz Waterfall Gardens

FAQ – Best waterfalls in Costa Rica

What is the #1 waterfall in Costa Rica?

The Rio Celeste Waterfall in Costa Rica is the best waterfall in Costa Rica. While it’s no hidden gem, it’s still magical. It’s part of the Rio Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park, known for its sky-blue waters.

Is La Fortuna waterfall worth it?

Yes, visiting La Fortuna Waterfall is totally worth it. It’s easy to visit on a day trip, and the jungle setting is amazing.

Can you swim in waterfalls in Costa Rica?

Yes, you can swim in some Costa Rican waterfalls, but it varies from one waterfall to another. Make sure to check the specific rules and safety info for each place.

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