Montezuma Falls

Montezuma Falls is perhaps the most famous waterfall in Costa Rica. It isn’t a single waterfall, but three separate falls. To reach the first falls, start at the main beach road near Hotel Amor de Mar, and walk up the river for approximately 20 minutes. Here you will reach the tallest waterfall, with a huge swimming hole. Usually there are lots of tourists here. You may see people climbing up the cliff and jumping off. People die here every couple of years, usually by slipping on the rocks while trying to climb up drunk. You may see locals doing it, who have grown up in Montezuma and been climbing it since they were kids. They know every hand-hold and foot placement. If you’d like to try following in their footsteps, be extremely careful because if you fall, you’ll probably hit the rocks instead of the water.

Montezuma FallsIf you want to jump from a cliff into the water, there’s a better, safer alternative to the lower falls. Continue to pools two and three above. To reach these pools, climb up the steep path to the right of pool #1. You’ll be holding onto tree roots on the way. This is dangerous too, but hundreds of people often do it every day. Follow a trail up and to the left. Eventually you’ll find a steep trail leading down, with a rope to help you descend. From here you’ll be between pools #2 and #3. You can jump from 35-40 feet up into pool #2, or keep climbing up and then you can jump from 8-15 feet into pool #3, which also has the rope-swing.

The land surrounding the pools is private property, and Anamaya Yoga Resort is above, so if you want to hike, the best and most beautiful way to go is just to continue up the river for another hour or so, where you’ll find many smaller falls and pools. Then return the way you came. Don’t get stuck after dark. On a moonless night it’s absolutely pitch black in the river valleys.

Rock Climbing Montezuma Falls: Rock Climbing Costa Rica

360 Degree “Photosynth” of Montezuma Falls, by Gary LaPointe:

Montezuma Falls Photo Gallery

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