• Caitlin McAninch

Escape to La Fortuna Waterfall

Updated: Feb 16, 2019

I have this thing for waterfalls. Don’t most people have a thing for waterfalls? I mean, how could you not? They’re powerful, gorgeous, and they just don’t quit. Seriously, I have a major thing for waterfalls.

When we went to Puerto Vallarta in 2016 we rode horseback to a gorgeous waterfall in the jungle. So for Costa Rica, I was dead set on that. I wanted to find a beautiful waterfall, in the middle of the jungle, that I could swim in. So we booked a tour to the gorgeous Rio Celeste.

If you read my blog post about our Night Hike in Costa Rica, I talked about the storm that crushed my dreams of visiting Rio Celeste. We drove an hour and a half to the national park that the falls is at, but when we arrived we were informed that the storm from the night before had trashed the trails, and the gorgeous blue Rio Celeste was a muddy brown. And due to the mess, the park would be closed for 15 days.

I was crushed.

A) Because it looked amazing, and I really wanted to visit, and B) We had just driven 2 hours to the middle of nowhere and I had no idea of what the next plan would be.

Luckily the company we toured with had a plan, and there really wasn’t much of a hiccup in our day. And we even saw a waterfall! Continue on for the rest of our tale of getting to La Fortuna Waterfall.

Getting to La Fortuna Waterfall

The national park that hosts the waterfall is about 5.5 km from La Fortuna. It’s a quick easy drive to get there, basically all paved roads.

Once you arrive to the park, you do have to pay a $15 entrance fee per person. If you are taking a guided tour, the cost is included in the package.

Our tour guide explained that once upon a time ago, the paved pathways and nice stairs that lead to the waterfall did not exist. That this was an intense hike that not everyone could manage. Most would only see the fall from this view and never actually make it down to see the falls up close:

Today, the actual hike down to La Fortuna waterfall is insanely easy. It’s a 600m hike down paved stairs – 500 steps to be exact. And it was very, very easy to get down! And you pass beautiful rock walls like this as you leave:

La Fortuna Waterfall

The fall itself is GORGEOUS. Stunning. Everything I was hoping for when I said I wanted to see a waterfall in the jungle. It’s massive when you’re standing at the base, and it just mists over you. The area is just so lush, green beyond belief. I never got over the green while I was in Costa Rica, but here, it just popped.

The water collects in a pool at the base of the falls, and immediately heads to the left when you’re facing it. The water continues down into a river, not sure where it ends. But. In the spot around the bend (just around the river bend!) people swim! The water is this foggy blue shade, and I mean, it’s cold, but it’s not horrible. It’s definitely not Lake Tahoe cold! But we saw around 8 swimmers. We chose not to swim because it was raining and I just didn’t want to be more wet than I already was!

Our tour guide showed us that if you toss sticks into the river, tons of small fish would swim to try to grab them. Another reason I don’t want to be swimming in the foggy blue water. I don’t know what’s down there!

But I wandered around. Took photos of the waterfall from every different angle. How many photos of one waterfall are too many? Well. According to Photos on my Mac, around 73. I took 73 photos of that waterfall. Hahah. I think I posted two on Instagram: one and two.

The Hike Up

What must come down, must go up… that’s the saying, right? On this day, it had to be. Those 500 steps weren’t bad coming down, but damn. Going up? Whewieeee. It was a rough one. I struggled basically the whole way up. Taking like 5 breaks to breathe. Dumb Dylan and our tour guide were just rushing up the whole time. Show offs.

I kept telling myself that my trainer Oscar would be so proud of me for making it up those stairs. But honestly, what other choice did I have?! Ha! Seriously, though. This was me at the end:

We missed out on Rio Celeste. But truly, La Fortuna made up for it. I was seriously so impressed by the entire area. The park rangers keep the place so clean and so well protected. I just loved this spot.

Want to learn more about what we did on our Costa Rica honeymoon? Check out the rest of our blogs about this trip here:

Costa Rica

Distance: 3,844 miles

Driving Time: 76 hours

#CostaRica #Activities #Abroad