Stunning is the best word I can find to describe Nauyaca waterfalls. This was our first time visiting this area with a great group of friends. Ligia and I wanted to visit this place since a while ago, however, our full-time jobs and daily life made it a little bit difficult. But it was worth the wait. We stayed the night before around Uvita, which is not that far from Dominical, and our plan worked perfectly as we thought. Well, maybe not everything.
We drove and hiked to the water, and during the time that we all were enjoying the waterfall, everything was ok. However, when I got out of the water, I noticed that my wedding ring was not on my finger anymore. I was like, “Oh my God. What do I do now?!”
So, immediately, I told Ligia and our friends and we started to look around in the water. With all the rocks and the dark water color, it was not easy to see, but some guys lent us their goggles. After a few minutes of looking, I thought, “Well that’s it!” But some minutes later, our friend Dargan became the hero of the day because she found it.
I just can say that I was really HAPPY! ☺
Furthermore, the charm of this place cannot be explained with words until you get there and experiment it yourself. Just make sure you hang on to your jewelry!
How to get to Nauyaca Waterfalls
There are two different routes that can take you to Nauyaca Waterfalls. The easiest way to get there is driving route #34, which is called “Costanera Sur.” If you are driving from Quepos to Dominical, turn left just before the police checkpoint at Rio Baru Bridge. Follow the signs that take you onto the road to San Isidro. It is a winding 7km (4.5mi) up to the ticket office, which is located at the main road.
The other route will be from San Isidro del Genera. This route is mostly use by people who are visiting the highest mountain in Costa Rica, which is called Cerro Chirripo. This place belongs to a list of different National Parks and protected areas that we have our country.(We will definitely talk about this in another post ☺)
From San Isidro del General to Nauyaca Waterfalls is 30km (19mi). Check the follow Map!
Nauyaca Waterfalls is on private land that belongs to Don Lulo, Dona Ruth and their family. Originally, they grew corn and rice in this area, however, since their family bought more acres of this mountains, the idea of creating a tourism center became real.
Nowadays, this family focuses on preserving the area and the forest by promoting ecofriendly tours.
The falls are 6 kilometers east of the road, and you can reach them on horseback, by truck or by hiking. It depends how much money you want to spend. If you are fit and enjoy hiking, don’t hesitate to do that. The parking area is 2 kilometers (1.25miles) from the ticket office, but make sure to drive a 4WD car because this is a steep hill.
About the hike
The hike up to the waterfalls is around 4km (2.5 miles) each way from the parking area. This is not an extreme hike, but it is pretty long. It’s mostly flat with some hills and it gets muddy during the rainy season. Be sure to take water, fruit and some snacks with you. Throughout the trail, there are many trees that provide some shade, and the elevation is around 300 meters (990ft) above sea level , so it is fresh even when the weather is hot and humid. Also, the roots of those trees are good hiding places for some small wildlife like frogs, and high up in the branches, you might see some toucans, as well.
When you get close to the waterfall, you will see signs for the waterfall 1 & 2. The waterfall #1 (the upper one) is great for photography, and #2 is the one where you can swim and enjoy the water after a long hike.
All this sounds like a wild place where you won’t find any facilities, but don’t worry, because there are some bathrooms and changing rooms. Don’t forget your towel and swimsuit. ☺
Entrance fee and Schedule
The entrance fee is $8 per person. Getting to the waterfall by truck is $28 and horseback riding is $70 per person.
If you want to go by truck, you’ll have to make a reservation because the limit is 4 people each way. The schedule for this service is:
From Monday to Saturday.Phone number: +506 2787 05 41
Tips for visiting Nauyaca Waterfalls
- Sunblock and mosquito repellent are really helpful.
- We suggest hiking shoes or any kind of closed-toe sandal. During the rainy season, it is a little muddy and there are some slippery rocks at the waterfalls.
- Snacks, fruit and water are really necessary, especially if you are doing the full hike.
- If you are bringing a camera, make sure to bring some waterproof protection because it might rain and even the waterfall can affect your electronics.