Costa Rica has plenty of natural attractions but one of the most treasured ones are their waterfalls. Waterfalls can be found in every corner of the country and it’s one of the best ways to enjoy the natural beauty of Costa Rica. One of these waterfalls we recently explored took our breath away and that one is the majestic Nauyaca waterfalls.
The Nauyaca Waterfalls
The Nauyaca waterfalls are located near Playa Dominical in Costa Rica’s Southern Zone.
The entrance is on the road from Dominical to Platanillo, about a ten minute drive from where you turn onto Route 243 from the Costanera highway on the way to San Isidro de General.
There are signs leading to the entrance and you will see a large “Nauyaca waterfall” sign at the office. Once you see the office, you will see a road entrance about a kilometer north. The trail head is below from this entrance and you can park in the lot where the horse stables are.
Getting to the Waterfall
Nauyaca Waterfalls is on a private property so you must enter through the office of Don Lulo, the owners. You have two choices: to walk or take a horseback riding tour. To hike, the entrance fee is $8 per person and the horseback riding tour is $70 which includes breakfast, lunch, horseback riding and guides. The trail is about 4 kilometers each way.
The trail is the same for both hiking and horseback riding. It’s a beautiful one with plenty of trees, wildlife and a river to enjoy. It’s not an extremely difficult hike, but it is a bit long so be prepared when you go with lots of water and snacks.
Once you come to a clearing, you’ll see signs for waterfall 1 or 2.
The Nauyaca Waterfalls
The upper falls comprises of several cascades and you can’t swim or bathe in this area. You can walk around the rocks (careful it’s slippery) to get amazing views of the upper fall and the top of the lower falls.
This is where most people spend their time, the lower falls. There is a lovely deep pool you can swim and bathe in and plenty of rocks to sit on. You get a stunning view of both waterfalls surrounded by lush green jungle and the sounds of nature.
You can have a picnic, lay around, swim, or jump off the ledge of the waterfall. The local guides tie a rope onto the rocks and help visitors up so they can climb up and jump off. Be very careful and don’t try to climb up there on your own if there’s no guide, it is quite slippery!
See the Nauyaca Waterfalls From the Air
Yeison brought his drone and took an amazing video of the Nauyaca waterfalls from the air. See what it looks like from above and watch one of the guides leap off a high ledge of the waterfall. Truly amazing!
Tips for Visiting the Nauyaca Waterfalls
- You can bring your swimsuit and change there. There are facilities in the area where you walk down to the waterfalls
- Bring lots of water, bug repellent and sunscreen
- There are no food or snack stands so bring your own
- You don’t need to call ahead or make a reservation if you are going to hike. Just go to the office and pay the entrance fee. You do need to make reservations for the horseback riding tour.
- Bring waterproof equipment if you plan on bringing electronics
- Wear good shoes (not flip flops) since it get muddy/steep on some parts of the trail and the rocks are slippery at the waterfall. We wore our KEENs and they were perfect
If you’re in the Dominical area or even Manuel Antonio/Jaco/Quepos, make a trip out to visit this waterfall. It is one of the most magnificent natural attractions I’ve ever seen in Costa Rica and now one of my top favorite waterfalls along with the Catarata Llanos de Cortes in Guanacaste and Catarata del Toro in the Central Valley.
After a long hike, it’s the perfect way to cool off in the beautiful Costa Rican jungle and will create long lasting memories for your amazing trip to Costa Rica. It was certainly the highlight of our Dominical trip!
Looking for more things to do in Dominical? Check out our top 10 things to do in Dominical and Uvita post!
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