EL TIGRE WATERFALLS in Costa Rica – The Ultimate Guide

The El Tigre waterfalls are a collection of four big waterfalls where you will hike along through the jungle and over hanging bridges. This epic adventure shows you some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica and is a great day trip from Monteverde. The hike is self guided and is a little more than 5 kilometres long. You can either choose to go back to the reception by horse, or hike the last bit (which is the heaviest part uphill). Overall the El Tigre waterfalls are a very fun outdoor experience over 10 hanging bridges, crossing rivers and passing four beautiful waterfalls through the jungle. Read in this complete guide everything you need to know about the El Tigre waterfalls. 

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About El Tigre waterfalls 

If you are looking for an authentic non commercialized experience in Costa Rica then the self guided tour along the four beautiful El Tigre waterfalls are a must. The El Tigre waterfalls are located in a 60 hectares protected rainforest which was for many years called the mystic forest “Los Bajos del Tigre” by natives. The reason was because the hunters constantly had encounters with the majestic Jaguar whom they called “tiger”. This is how the name “El Tigre Waterfalls” was born. 

The El Tigre waterfalls hike

Along a 5 kilometre jungle trail you will pass four beautiful waterfalls from 15 to 30 meters height. During the hike you will cross the river a few times by walking on the hanging bridges from which there are 10 in total. 

You can choose from two different types of tours. One where you will get back to the reception on the back of a horse or with a 4×4 jeep. Or one where you will hike the last part uphill which adds another 3 kilometres to the total hike. Further in this blog post I will explain which option we took and which one I will recommend to you. 


How to get to El Tigre waterfalls

The El Tigre waterfalls are 10 kilometres outside of Monteverde centre located. If you don’t have your own transportation, you can book a tour through a tour company in Monteverde which includes pick up and drop off from your hotel.

If you have your own transport then you can reach the entrance without a 4×4 car, but you will drive over a dirt road for about 4 kilometres. In general it is definitely recommended to rent a 4×4 car in Costa Rica considering the amount of dirt roads and eventually rivers you have to cross.

Best time to go to El Tigre waterfalls

It’s quite obvious that you will need to start the El Tigre waterfalls trail in the morning, best before 1.30 PM. However, considering the wet and dry season, take into account that the wet season in Monteverde goes from May to December. With its peak of rain in September and October. So try to avoid these months when you visit Monteverde

However, when we were in Monteverde in April, we go soaked while hiking the El Tigre waterfalls trail. This is because of the altitude and because Monteverde is mainly rainforest. So always be prepared for rain. Bring a rain jacket or poncho and make sure to wear proper hiking shoes with enough grip. 

Entrance fee and opening times El Tigre waterfalls

The El Tigre waterfalls are daily opened from 7.30 AM with the last entry at 1.30 PM. The total hike will take you anywhere between 3 to 4 hours, which is the reason you can’t start later than 1.30 PM.

The entrance fee for the El Tigre waterfalls differs on which tour you choose. There are two options. 

  • Full package $59 for adults and $49 until 18 years old. This is the entrance to the trails and includes horseback riding for the last 3 kilometres. You can also choose to go back to the entrance with a safari car 4×4 if you don’t fancy riding a horse.
  • Big hike $29 for adults and $19 until 18 years old. This option does not include the pick up with the horses or safari car. In this case you need to hike the last 3 kilometres back which is a pretty heavy incline. 

What to expect at El Tigre waterfalls

After you’ve purchased your tickets it is time to start the hike and head into the jungle. The El Tigre waterfall trail is well signed and you really can’t get lost. The trail is made from dirt so if it’s raining it can get slippery and muddy. Be prepared and make sure to wear decent hiking shoes. This is for your own safety as I really don’t recommend doing this hike on flip-flops. 


After about 15 minutes of hiking you will get to the first waterfall. This one has a beautiful viewing platform and is a great place to take some pictures.


But you can also see this waterfall from a lower perspective. If you continue after the viewing platform you will see a narrow path along the river leading you to the base of the waterfall. From here you can also make some stunning pictures before continuing the hike on the suspended bridge.

When you continue the trail you will get to the first hanging bridge. From this suspended bridge you will have another epic view on the waterfall. If you are with someone who wants to go on a little adventure down the river, then there is a fantastic photo spot as seen on the picture below. However, you have to find the path yourself through the jungle to get to the other side.


More waterfalls, cloud forest and hanging bridges 

When continuing the hike you will see more beautiful waterfalls which are all well signposted. It is either just a few meters from the main path that you’ll have to go to see the waterfall, or the waterfall is right next to the path. 


Enjoy the beautiful jungle around you while walking through this nature park. And don’t forget to observe animals which you can see such as monkeys, snakes, frogs and a variety of insects, birds and others. There are many more short hanging bridges to cross that really add an adventurous vibe to the hike. We even had a real cloud forest experience as it started to rain and the fog rolled in. For us this was perfect as we love some foggy weather for waterfall photography. 

When you’re almost at the end of the hike you’ll find a walk talky with which you can communicate that you’re almost ready to get picked up by the horses. From this point it is just a few more minutes of walking until you can start the last part of the adventure, horseback riding!

Awesome tours in Monteverde Costa Rica

If you want to explore the best of Monteverde it is highly recommended to book your tours in advance. Because of the popularity of Monteverde it is likely that tours sell out. So don’t wait with booking until you get to Monteverde. Choose your favorite tours here and secure your booking! All of these tours include air conditioned transport with hotel pick up and drop off, certified guides and sometimes also lunch and the entrance fees. You can reserve now and pay later, with cancellation up to 24 hours in advance to receive a full refund.


More Costa Rica travel inspiration

I hope you enjoyed this blog post about the El Tigre waterfalls in Costa Rica.

For more Costa Rica travel guides, have a look at our other Costa Rica travel blogs.

La Paz waterfall garden Costa Rica – The Complete Guide

Playa Cocles in Puerto Viejo – The Complete Guide

Catarata del Toro – The Complete Guide

Arenal volcano hike – The Complete Guide

Rio Celeste waterfall & Tenorio National Park

Playa Conchal Guanacaste – The Complete Guide

La Fortuna waterfall – The Complete Guide

Irazu volcano – Everything you need to know

Cahuita National Park along the Caribbean coast

BriBri waterfalls near Puerto Viejo – The Complete Guide

Manuel Antonio National Park – The Complete Guide

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