Costa Rica Waterfall - Famous Montezuma Falls

Waterfalls are common in this part of Costa Rica, on the Montezuma side of the peninsula. Because of the natural geography, most of the rainwater that falls on the Nicoya peninsula flows towards the Montezuma side, so there are many falls with water in them year-round. Many have swimming holes, two have rope-swings, and one is ideal for cliff-diving (Montezuma Falls.)

Until now, some of these waterfalls are virtually unknown and you are unlikely to find anyone else there.

All rivers in Costa Rica are considered public land if they have water in them all year round. So, you can legally hike up any stream or river in the area, although it may seem like you’re on private land. The public land extends 15m horizontally from the edge of the river, so you can also hike along the shore. Although you may find barbed wire fences along the way, you can pass under them.

On these rivers you may find exotic animals that you won’t see in other parts of the area, such as roseate spoonbills (these look like pink flamingos), river otters, blue crayfish, and Jesus Christ lizards and run on top of the water. If you want to see animals, then start your trip at first light in the morning. Everyone wants to know about snakes… there are very few poisonous snakes in the area, and I’ve never seen on in the river, so you’re unlikely to encounter one.

Please be wary of flash floods. If you see super heavy rains falling upriver, it’s possible a flash flood will come down, so be prepared to run up the riverbed if you hear a roaring sound. This is very unlikely, so don’t let it stop you from a great hike. Just be aware.

Map of the locations of waterfalls in and around Montezuma

Click for Details on Specific Local Waterfalls

  • Horseback Tour to “El Chorro” WaterfallHorseback Tour to "El Chorro" Waterfall
    Without a doubt, one of the best things to do when visiting Montezuma is to take a horse tour. The only major industry around Montezuma besides tourism is cattle ranching, so Costa Rica is definitely cowboy country. The people here love their horses, and rodeos are frequent and very popular events. We highly recommend ...
  • Montezuma FallsMontezuma 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 ...
  • Cocolito Falls – El ChorroCocolito Falls - El Chorro
      A two hour hike down the beach from Montezuma, the El Chorro waterfall, at the far end of Playa Cocolito is one of the most magical places in Costa Rica. If you take the trip, you won’t be disappointed. The falls are beautiful, often with a rainbow in them. The beach just before it is ...
  • Limestone Waterfall CaveLimestone Waterfall Cave
    This is one of the most remarkable sights in the Montezuma/Malpais area, and perhaps in all of Costa Rica. This waterfall has been formed over millions of years from limestone, with the same process that makes underground caves. The entire waterfall is a set of pools with perfect edges of uniform height, and have the ...
  • Rio Ario Falls
    These falls are north of the map area, on one of the largest rivers in the area. Few tourists ever go to them and I haven’t visited either so I don’t have a photo to share with you. I’ve heard they’re spectacular and worth the trip up to see them.
  • Rio Negro Falls – Near ManzanilloRio Negro Falls - Near Manzanillo
    When you take the road from Manzanillo to Cobano, you will cross the Rio Negro at a small bridge. Park there and walk down river for an hour to an hour and a half. You will see many large trees and a good variety of orchids. The falls have several large swimming holes. While walking, ...
  • Santa Fe Falls
    The falls north of Santa Fe are one of the most mysterious waterfalls in the area. Most people who have lived here for years have never seen them and don’t even know they exist, yet they are marked on old maps. Usually, you can’t see the falls, but occasionally they will run so huge that ...
  • The Seven Sacred Pools of FloridaThe Seven Sacred Pools of Florida
    When Ponce de Leon searched for the fountain of youth in Florida, he was in the wrong country, because the place he was looking for is in Costa Rica. These spectacular falls are a true paradise, and usually no one will be there when you visit. To find them, drive from Cobano towards Tambor, and ...
  • Rio Lajas FallsRio Lajas Falls
    This waterfall is legendary in the area, and few people have actually made the epic journey to see it. It’s a two-hour hike each way, so plan to spend the day hiking up to it… bring plenty of food and water. To get there, drive south from Montezuma to the Cabuya Bridge. You’ll see it’s a ...
  • Buena Vista FallsBuena Vista Falls
    This is a small double waterfall in Delicias. It’s a wonderful, secluded spot where no one ever goes. It seems a shame to send tourists to it, so we’re not going to give directions. If you want to see these falls badly enough, you can find someone who knows where they are and will take ...

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