The province of Guanacaste in Costa Rica is a great place for any nature-lover to visit, but sometimes, the most beautiful places aren’t the most well-known. That is exactly the case for the Llanos de Cortes waterfall, which is a magnificent waterfall which has remained mostly unknown for a long time, but is definitely a must-see when visiting Costa Rica.
The Llanos de Cortes waterfalls can be found in the small town of Bagaces, which is near Liberia, so it isn’t too hard to find. To get there, all you have to do is take a bus to Liberia and take a taxi to the waterfalls.
It also isn’t too hard to find when driving. From Liberia, enter the InterAmericana highway and drive straight to the town of Bagaces, which will take roughly around 20 minutes.
From there, you have to keep your eyes open as the only sign to the falls is a sign that says “Catarata”. Once you see the sign, everything is straight forward, as there are more signs along the way that will lead you to the parking lot and trail.
It’s a low-cost, fun adventure fit for the whole family, and is well worth the trip, especially if you already find yourself in Guanacaste. And in this article, we’ll go through everything you need to know about visiting the Catarata Llanos de Cortes.
When Can I Visit The Waterfall Llanos de Cortes?
The falls are open every day, which means you can go whenever you find the time. They are open from 8AM to 4:30 PM, so keep that in mind. If you’re looking to have a more quiet experience, we recommend going on a weekday. The falls are a fairly popular picnic spot on weekends so it tends to be packed on those days.
The best times to visit are in the wet months of September and October, this is because there are fewer people and the water levels are just right. If you visit in the summer, you might find the place packed and the water level too low.
There aren’t too many services at the falls. Aside from the souvenirs that are sold on weekends, the only facilities at the Catarata Llanos de Cortes are the parking lot, bathroom, and changing rooms.
At the parking lot, you’ll be asked to pay a fee of $7 per person which is for the maintenance of the basic facilities they have. But once that fee is paid, you don’t have to shell out any more money.
How Long Is The Hike Down To The Waterfalls?
One of the best things about visiting these falls is that you don’t have to go through a long and arduous hike to get there. From the parking lot, there’s about a 200m hike down to the falls, which isn’t hard at all.
But it’s worth noting that the stairs down to the falls are very steep and the mist from the waterfalls makes them slippery. If you have bad knees or ankles this might make the walk hard, but the falls are so beautiful and the water feels so nice down below that it will be well worth it.
Aside from the hike down, you also have the option to climb to the top of the waterfalls through a trail you’ll find to the left. While it’s a pretty straightforward trail, the steps can be slippery. In fact, you’ll probably have better luck climbing it barefoot than on flip-flops (that, what most people do, anyway).
Tips For Visiting The Waterfall Llanos de Cortes
What To Wear
For the hike down, it’s best to wear tennis shoes or rock climbing shoes for the best grip. Also, make sure to wear comfortable clothes to make the walk easier. However, don’t forget to bring some swimming clothes and flip-flops because half the fun is getting to swim in the falls!
Know The Rules
Before going in, make sure you understand the rules and regulations. There is a lifeguard on duty making sure everyone is safe and having fun. Visitors are no longer allowed to climb up and jump into the pool or stay under the waterfall.
It’s Crowded On Weekends
If you don’t mind seeing a lot of people, there’s no problem with going there on weekends. But be warned, it can get packed in the area. So if you want a more private and quiet experience, it’s best to go on a weekday.
Bring Your Valuables With You
While the parking lot is relatively safe, it’s also very large. Because of that, you can’t be sure that everything is safe, so as an extra precaution, bring your valuables with you. Also, park only at the official parking lot that charges $7, any other space that charges lower than that is not official.
And that’ about all you need to know about the Catarata Llanos de Cortes, one of the best-hidden gems of Guanacaste. Make sure you get to see it the next time you find yourself in the province! It isn’t too hard to find.