Cataratas Nauyaca

Top choice in Quepos to Uvita

Owned and operated by a Costa Rican family, this center is home to the coast's most impressive waterfalls. Two falls cascade through a protected reserve of both primary and secondary forest, and are reached by hiking, 4WD or on horseback. Visitors can swim in the inviting natural pools at the lower falls, and the family runs horseback-riding tours and tours by pickup truck to the falls (reservations required; Dominical pick-up available).

The cheapest option is to hike in; those in decent shape can visit the falls on a walk (around two hours one way). It's a full 12km round hike from the booking office. Alternatively, if you have a 4WD you can drive the first 2km and pay to park in the parking area, then it's a moderate 4km uphill to the falls and 4km back down. There are rest benches along the trail and a first toilet break around 2km from the falls, with peacocks and monkeys nearby. Bring swimming gear (changing area and toilets available at the waterfall), plus sunscreen, a towel, and proper sneakers or hiking shoes. The path is wide and well marked but uneven and muddy in places, especially during or just after the rainy season.

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