Costa Rica Highlights: La Fortuna Waterfall

Look at this waterfall, would you?  It’s not something you would ever see in nature in Florida.  You might see something similar at a theme park or hotel but that’s just not the same.

The La Fortuna waterfall was not too far from our hotel.  We located it on a map and decided to drive over.  Of course, most roads in Costa Rica are not named.  Locals rely on landmarks to get around.  Take the paved road to the mango tree and take a left on the gravel path.

The hotel’s map showed a road leading to the waterfall so we thought it would be pretty straight forward getting there.  And it was but we weren’t prepared for how far we would have to travel on semi-paved and unpaved surfaces.  After 15 minutes of bumping along (thank goodness for our 4×4 SUV) without a sign of life or a sign indicating that we were indeed on the right road to the waterfall, I began to get a little nervous that we were lost.  J, who had been to Costa Rica before, was completely confident that we were going the right way.

He was right.  Eventually the unpaved path dead ended into the waterfall’s visitor center.  It’s amazing how you can go from a remote gravel trail through the middle of no where and to a lovely visitor center with a big paved parking lot.  I’d never been so happy to see a ticket taker in my life.

We paid our entry fee and hit the steepest trail I have ever experienced.  I’m not a seasoned hiker by any means but I think you’d have a hard time finding a steeper trail that does not require rock climbing.  It was not such a big deal getting down to the canyon floor since gravity was working with us.  But with every step down I kept thinking that it was going to be a real bitch getting back up.  Some of the steps were 18″ or more.

We could see the waterfall in the distance as we descended into the canyon.

When we finally made it to the bottom we were amazed by how many people were down there.  And we kicked ourselves for not bringing our bathing suits!  The water was pretty chilly but that didn’t stop tons of people from swimming.

J decided to go in in his shorts.

A lot of people tried to see how close they could get to the waterfall.  The force of the water falling into the pool was such that one could not make it very far before they got pushed back.  J did pretty well.  He got to the turbulent section on the outer edge of the spray.

We sat for a long while on the rocks people watching and letting J drip dry.  Neither of us was real gung-ho about the hike back up to the top.  Eventually we decided to try it.  Let me just say thank goodness I do Zumba because I didn’t find it as challenging as I thought it would be.  Yeah for cardiovascular fitness and let muscles!  LOL!