The flat and dry Guanacaste region isn’t the most well known to find beautiful waterfalls. But there is an exemption! Llanos de Cortes waterfall is a magnificent waterfall with thin streams of water cascading down along the mossy rock wall. This waterfall maybe isn’t the highest of Costa Rica, Llanos de Cortes waterfall is only about 4 meters high. But because it is so wide with many thin water streams flowing down the rocks, it is a beautiful one to look at and photograph. With a fresh water pool at the base where you can swim and a nice sandy area to just hang out and relax, Llanos de Cortes waterfall is a great spot to spend a few hours.


How to get to Llanos de Cortes waterfall

Llanos de Cortes waterfall is located along the Pan American Highway route 1 in Guanacaste. From San Jose it is more than a 3 hour drive and from Liberia only 30 minutes. The best way to get to the waterfall is by car, so if you have a rental car this would be the best as there is no public transport going to the waterfall. 

You can perfectly combine a visit to Llanos de Cortes waterfall when traveling to Tamarindo from Rio Celeste waterfall or La Fortuna. From the main road you have to turn right onto a dirt road where you will see a sign for Catarata Llanos de Cortez. Follow this dirt road, side note, you don’t need a 4×4 vehicle for this, and you will soon see the main intersection with the official entrance gate to the waterfall. Here you will pay the entrance fee and parking ticket before you continue for another 5 minute drive (about 1 km) up to the parking area. From here the short hike down to the waterfall begins. 

Best time to visit Llanos de Cortes waterfall

Considering the best season to visit Llanos de Cortez waterfall you have to take the rainy season into account. Generally, the rainy season in Guanacaste lasts from May to mid-November. This results in powerful waterfalls from August until at least December. So on the other hand, if you visit the Costa Rica waterfalls in general, you can expect them to be a little drier when visiting at the end of the dry season. This will be in the months March, April and May. 

In terms of the best time of the day to visit, it totally depends what you come for. If it’s just to relax and swim, any time is good. But if you want to have a peaceful experience, then try to get there as early as possible to eventually have the waterfall for yourself. 


Entrance fee and opening times Llanos de Cortes waterfall

The opening times are daily from 8 AM to 4 PM with the last entrance at 3.30 PM. The entrance fee is $7 per person for adults and $4 per person for children. The entrance is free for children under 6 years. 

What to expect at Llanos de Cortes waterfall

Once you’ve parked the car and make your way down to the waterfall, it is only a 5 – 10 minute walk down the concrete steps. This makes Llanos de Cortez waterfall very easy accessible and a great destination for young and old. The short trail leads you through a lush forest where you can even see monkeys and tropical birds along the way. 

Once down at the base of the waterfall you will see the beauty of the 4 meters high Llanos de Cortes waterfall. Although it is not the tallest waterfall, it is a beautiful one thanks to the different small streams of water that fall along the mossy rocks. 


At the base of the waterfall you will find the natural pool and a little white sandy beach to relax. You will soon see why this waterfall is a perfect spot to go for a day trip with the family. Young kids can safely play in the sand and wade in the water, you can have a picnic and just enjoy the beautiful nature surroundings. Don’t forget to explore the river banks to spot some more wildlife. 

Other things to do around Llanos de Cortez waterfall

If you want to combine some other things next to visiting this waterfall, you will first of all have to have your own transport. For beach life, you can head to Playa Hermosa or even further down to Tamarindo for more nightlife. Rincon de la Vieja National Park and Palo Verde National Park are both also in a range of 1 – 2 hours distance located. Rio Celeste waterfall in Tenorio volcano National Park is only a one hour drive away La Fortuna, in the Arenal volcano area, is about 2.5 hours driving. So either way, you have plenty of options to go to after visiting this waterfall.