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 and is some of the best places to visit 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. You can book a tour combining both Llanos de Cortes waterfall and Rio Celeste waterfall here.
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.
Best waterfall tours in Costa Rica
If you want to explore the best waterfalls of Costa Rica, then it is highly recommended to book a tour. During most of these tours you will combine a few locations on one day so you can see the diversity that Costa Rica has to offer. Because of Costa Rica’s popularity it is highly recommended to book your tours in advance as it is likely that tours sell out. So don’t wait with booking until you get to Costa Rica. 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.
- Llanos del Cortes waterfall and Rio Celeste waterfall tour
- La Fortuna waterfall, volcano base hike and hanging bridges combo tour
- Waterfall adventure tour from Jaco. Hike to five different waterfalls in three locations with and jump from the cliffs into the natural pools.
- Rio Celeste waterfall full day tour from La Fortuna
- Visit Chorreras Waterfalls, Victoria Waterfall, Oropendola Waterfall and Rio Negro hot springs including lunch.
- La Paz waterfall gardens, Poas volcano and a visit to a coffee plantation
- Explore Oropéndola waterfall with a horseback riding tour
- Shaman Waterfalls in Quepos with horseback riding tour
- Rio Celeste and Llanos del Cortez waterfall tour from Tamarindo
- Rainmaker park hanging bridges & waterfall tour near Manuel Antonio
Entrance fee and opening times Llanos de Cortes waterfall
The opening times are daily from 8 AM to 4 PM with thelast 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.
Best tours in Costa Rica
If you want to explore the best of Costa Rica, then it is highly recommended to book a tour. During most of these tours you will combine a few locations on one day so you can see the diversity that Costa Rica has to offer. Because of Costa Rica’s popularity it is highly recommended to book your tours in advance as it is likely that tours sell out. So don’t wait with booking until you get to Costa Rica. 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.
- Llanos de Cortez Waterfall and Rio Celeste waterfall from Tamarindo. Hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park and visit the beautiful blue river. Discover the rainforest and swim at Llanos de Cortez waterfalls while observing sloths, red-eyed leaf frogs, toucans, and butterflies.
- Cahuita National Park and Tortuguero Canal boat tour. Explore Costa Rica’s Caribbean side with this wildlife-rich shore excursion to Cahuita National Park. Admire the biodiversity of the Tortuguero Canals, hike across Cahuita and enjoy Puerto Limon’s city highlights.
- 3-Day Tortuguero National Park Excursion from San Jose. Visit one of the most important destinations in Costa Rica on a guided tour. Explore a beautiful natural paradise, tour the famous Tortuguero Canal and see diverse flora and fauna during this 3 day tour.
- Manuel Antonio National Park combo tour from San Jose. Explore the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park and its beautiful white-sand beaches. Discover the abundant wildlife on the park’s rainforest trails. Enjoy included breakfast and lunch, and make stops to see crocodiles.
- Poas volcano, Coffee plantation tour and La Paz waterfall gardens. Visit 3 destinations in one day on this guided tour from San José. Learn about coffee production, visit the Poas Volcano Crater, and experience the incredible nature around La Paz Waterfall Garden.
- Irazú and Turrialba Volcanoes Guayabo Tour. Visit Irazu volcano and the “Central Town” at the foothills of the active Turrialba Volcano. Experience a unique history and culture, shaped by the tallest and most active volcanoes in Costa Rica.
- Night jungle tour Manuel Antonio tour. The best of the wildlife comes alive at night. Allow yourself to live amazing encounters that happen only at night in the rainforest. See wild night animals, and discover a whole new world.
- Tortuguero Park Day Tour with Breakfast & Lunch from San Jose. Spend the day discovering the luscious landscapes of Tortuguero National Park. Explore this vibrant rainforest, see native wildlife in its natural habitat, learn about the local ecosystem and enjoy a delicious Costa Rican breakfast and lunch.
- La Fortuna 4 activities on 1 day; base hike Arenal volcano, hanging bridges, La Fortuna waterfall and hotsprings
More Costa Rica travel inspiration
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