Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica – Nauyaca Waterfall

Best Waterfalls in Costa Rica – Nauyaca Waterfall: Costa Rica has plenty of stunning waterfalls but probably the best and most spectacular, is Nauyaca Waterfall, a privately owned nature preserve with clean, modern facilities, and roads that provide the best access to Nauyaca Waterfall.

How to get to Nauyaca Waterfall:

Driving from Dominical, turn right after the police checkpoint at the Rio Baru Bridge. Following signs for San Isidro, head 7 km up a winding road to the ticket booth on your right, you will see a large Nauyaca waterfall sign across the road.

Tucked deep into the tropical rainforest in the Southern Pacific region of Costa Rica, about 20 minutes from Dominical, you will find the remote and breath-taking Nauyaca waterfalls.

​In a wide valley canyon, Nauyaca is a dramatic series of cascading waterfalls, draped and framed with lush, jungle greenery.

horse tour
horse tour

How long is the hike to Nauyaca waterfall?

The trail to Nauyaca Waterfalls: Around 3.7 mile/6 km

Time to reach the hike: Approx. 1 – 1 ½ hours for one-way (so 12 km total in and out) hike.

Level of difficulty: Intermediate,  you’ll want to be in decent physical shape.

Precaution: In the rainy season, it can get a bit muddy, so it is advisable to bring hiking shoes with traction.

Entry Tickets:

$30 Adults / $20 Children (3 to 12 years old)

Admission Includes:

  • Trolley ride from our park office to the nature park and hiking trails
  • Admission to Nauyaca Waterfall and the Nature Park
  • Parking, bathrooms, showers, changing rooms
  • Hiking trails through a primary rain forest

You will receive a wristband to show at the entrance. Park your car, take all valuables with you, and begin your hike!

Remember to bring plenty of water, shoes with traction, sunscreen, and a camera so you can capture some unforgettable waterfall memories.

Nauyaca waterfalls to Uvita Beach.

Lying south of San Jose, the best way to get to Playa Uvita is to fly into the Juan Santamaria International Airport near San Jose, and then catch a bus to Quepos, Dominical, or San Isidro de El General.

Nauyaca Waterfalls to Uvita by bus
Option #1: Wait for the direct bus back to Uvita

If you are making a full day of it, you can stay at the waterfalls until the return bus from San Isidro to Uvita arrives.

The last direct bus leaves San Isidro at 4pm so expect it to arrive outside the office around 5pm,

Option #2: Catch the bus to Dominical and from there another bus to Uvita

From Quepos to Dominical: There’s a lot more of these buses going throughout the day, nearly every hour until about 5.30pm.

Time to reach Dominical: 15-minute ride to Dominical

Cost: 350-360 colones (about £0.50 / $0.60 / €0.55).

From Dominical to Uvita: The bus starts at 12.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm.

Cost: 900-950 colones (about £1.30 / $1.60 / €1.50)

Option #3: Catch the taxi to Dominical and from there a bus to Uvita

Ask the people at the Nauyaca Office to call for a taxi to get you to Dominical. A taxi to Dominical is apparently between $20-$25

Nauyaca Waterfalls from Uvita by bus

To get to Nauyaca Waterfalls from Uvita, you have to catch the bus which goes to San Isidro.

Frequency: Two buses a day which go this route: one at 6am, one at 1pm.

Bus Stop: Just opposite the Tracopa Station (on the supermarket side of the road), When the bus arrives, just ask the bus driver to stop at the Nauyaca Waterfalls Office (‘Oficina de las Cataratas Nauyaca’).

Cost: About 1500 colones (about £2 / $2.65 / €2.45), and will take about 40 minutes, going through Dominical.

Horseback Tour

You can choose to join a guided horseback tour to get to the falls, or you can do the hike yourself, which is about 5 miles roundtrip. It is moderately difficult, with a few steep hills, and can be slippery with mud during the rainy season.

Once you arrive at the falls entrance you can choose between the upper or lower falls.

The upper falls are impressive, tumbling dramatically over a 140-foot cliff, cascading into the sheer rocks below.

horse tour 2
horse tour 2

The lower falls are mellow, the water meanders over a wide, 60-foot drop-off, creating several large and refreshing pools for swimming beneath the falls.

Typically there is a local man who will bring his rope and help people climb about 20-feet up the lower falls, where they can bravely leap off the rocks, plunging into the deep, natural swimming pool below.

You can also climb down beneath the lower falls to escape the crowds and relax in the river, or shade while admiring the stunning view of both falls above.

Costa Rica island of many waterfalls and the cascading Nauyaca waterfalls is the best natural attraction that should not be missed on your vacation.

There are numerous tour companies in the area, which you can arrange a trip to Nauyaca.


In our opinion, Nauyaca Waterfalls are the best waterfalls in Costa Rica. Many people from various places visit these magnificent falls for various reasons. First, it is very accessible. People don’t need to climb or walk dozens of mountains just to get into these falls. Second, the water is clean and fresh. You can freely swim without worrying about any floating garbage. So if you want to do some water activities, you can go to Costa Rica and visit the magnificent Nauyaca Waterfalls.

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