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.
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.
- Monteverde Sky Tram & Hanging Bridges Day Tour. Discover the lush cloud forest of Costa Rica on this Monteverde day tour. Ride on the Sky Tram and hike on the Sky Walk Hanging Bridges while you learn about the flora and fauna of your private naturalist guide.
- Mountain bike tour to Lake Arenal from Monteverde. Ride on the trails of farmland from Monteverde to Lake Arenal while you’ll get sweeping views of the Arenal Volcano as you pass rainforest, rural farmlands, and wildlife while biking along the largest lake in Costa Rica.
- Airboat Combo Tour on Lake Arenal. Take an airboat tour across Lake Arenal, the largest lake in Costa Rica. See Arenal Volcano and the rest of the natural beauty of the region from a unique perspective.
- Monteverde Hanging Bridges Day Trip. Explore the lush cloud forest of Costa Rica. Hike on the best hanging bridges in the country and observe the cloud forest up close.
- Complete tour of 4 best La Fortuna activities: hike at the base of Arenal volcano, Arenal Hanging bridges, waterfall and hot springs. This tour shows you the best of La Fortuna. Explore the volcano lava fields, Arenal Hanging bridges, cool off at La Fortuna waterfall and relax in the hot springs.
- Zip-line and rafting adventure from La Fortuna. Combine 2 of Costa Rica’s most popular and fun activities: whitewater rafting and zip-lining. Afterwards you will enjoy a meal cooked on a wood stove at a farmhouse.
- Horse riding, hiking, waterfalls, zip lining and canyoneering in one day adventure. For some of the best, adventurous activities in La Fortuna, book this complete tour including lunch.
- La Fortuna waterfall, Arenal volcano hike and hot springs tour. During this tour you will hike to La Fortuna waterfall, visit an aboriginal village and have a traditional lunch, discover the lava fields from the 1968 eruption while enjoying the panoramic viewpoints on La Fortuna and Arenal volcano.
- Chocolate plantation and La Fortuna waterfall tour. Learn about the chocolate-making process during a visit to a cocoa plantation. After the tasting you will hike through the jungle to La Fortuna Waterfall with an opportunity to swim in the crystal-clear pools.
- Rafting and chocolate tour combo. Learn about the history of chocolate production from bean to bar and enjoy a fun white water rafting experience for the whole family on class 2-3 rapids.
- Wildlife Safari float with lunch. Looking for something with less speed than rafting and are you more into spotting wildlife? Then a safari float on the Peñas Blancas river is the tour for you!
- La Fortuna canyoneering tour. Embark on this adrenaline filled adventure while exploring the Costa Rican jungle. Jump off the canyon walls into the deep, clear pools near the Arenal Volcano and rappel down a monster waterfall.
- Rio Celeste full-day tour from La Fortuna. Experience the natural beauty of Tenorio National Park and see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica. Rio Celeste waterfall is famous for it’s incredible blue water, you have to see it yourself to believe it!
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.