Nauyaca Waterfall is a hidden gem located in the lush jungle of Dominical, Costa Rica. This breathtaking natural wonder is a popular destination for adventure travelers and nature lovers alike, offering a unique combination of stunning scenery, clear turquoise waters, and opportunities for swimming and hiking.
So if you’ve been looking for something to do in Costa Rica that is off the beaten trail, these falls would be a great activity, whether you’re traveling alone or with the whole family!
In this article, I take a look at everything you need to know about visiting the Nauyaca Waterfalls in Dominical. Read on to find out more.
How to get to the Nauyaca Falls?
These waterfalls are majestic, and it is one of the main attractions in the entire southern region of Costa Rica, It is tucked away in a private forest reserve about 10 kilometers away from the town of Dominical.
The best way to get to Nauyaca Falls in Costa Rica depends on your starting location and personal preferences. Here are some common options:
Rent a car
Renting a car allows for maximum flexibility and the freedom to explore at your own pace. The waterfall is about a 2-hour drive from San Jose, and the journey is scenic with stunning views of the countryside.
Book a tour
Booking a tour can be a convenient option, as transportation, guides, and sometimes food and drinks are included. You can find various tour operators in San Jose or Dominical that offer day trips to Nauyaca Falls.
Hire a taxi or private driver
Hiring a taxi or private driver can be more expensive than renting a car, but it offers a stress-free option, especially if you are not comfortable driving in a foreign country.
Take a shuttle bus
Taking a shuttle bus is a budget-friendly option, but it may not be as flexible as renting a car or hiring a private driver. You can find shuttle buses that depart from San Jose or other popular tourist destinations and go directly to Nauyaca Falls.
Once you get to the falls, you’re going to have to ride a truck for around 20 minutes, which is a fun activity on its own. After the ride, you’ll still have to hike a little bit (it can get really hot in the area, so make sure to bring water and wear comfortable clothes).
But the Nauyaca Waterfalls itself isn’t the only attraction in the reserve. You can also go on horseback riding tours, observe the beauty of the rainforest, go swimming, and even jumping. So this trip can be a great outdoor adventure as well as a serene and relaxing experience.
At The Entrance
As it is a private reserve, expect to pay a fee once you get there. The falls are open every day from 7 AM to 2 PM, but they open at 8 AM on Sundays. The parking fee for the reserve is $3 and you can expect to pay more fees to get to the waterfalls as the entrance fee to the waterfall is $9.
There are three ways to get to the falls from the parking lot. You can either walk and hike the whole way, take a horseback riding tour, or ride on the back of a 4×4.
The horseback riding tour costs $70, you’ll need to make a reservation for this and the tour is from 8 AM-1:30 PM. The tour includes a small breakfast and lunch. The truck tour will cost $32 per person and is scheduled at 7 AM, 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM, and 12 PM.
How To Get To The Falls from the Entrance
The hike is a challenging but rewarding experience, with breathtaking views of the jungle and the waterfall itself. Here’s what you need to know about hiking to Nauyaca Falls:
Distance and difficulty
The hike from the entrance to the waterfall is approximately 4 km (2.5 miles) round trip and takes about 2-3 hours. The trail is steep and rocky in some areas, making it a moderate to difficult hike.
The trail starts at the entrance and follows the river, passing through lush jungle and crossing over several streams. The path is well-defined and easy to follow, but it can be slippery in some areas, so be careful.
Arriving at the waterfall
When you reach the waterfall, you’ll be greeted by the stunning sight of the falls cascading into a large pool of crystal clear water. There are several areas to swim, relax, and take in the views.
Always stay on the designated trail and be mindful of your surroundings. Some areas near the waterfall can be slippery, so exercise caution when swimming or exploring.
The hike is the cheapest option, as you’ll only have to pay the entrance fee of the falls, and if you enjoy walking through nature it’s worth every step.
There is a truck ride but it is the most expensive option, howeever, it’s also the quickest and easiest way to get to the waterfalls and back. The Horseback riding option is the middle ground, but expect to get wet and dirty as the horseback trail has a lot of puddles and muddy spots.
Tips For Your First Visit to the Waterfalls
Here are some tips for your first visit to Nauyaca Waterfalls in Costa Rica:
- Plan ahead: Book your transportation and arrive early to avoid crowds. If you’re hiking, make sure to bring plenty of water, snacks, and sun protection.
- Respect the environment: Nauyaca Waterfalls is a natural wonder, so make sure to leave no trace. Do not litter or disturb the wildlife, and follow the rules and regulations set by the park.
- Wear proper footwear: The trail to the waterfall is steep and rocky in some areas, so make sure to wear sturdy shoes with good grip.
- Be prepared for a challenging hike: The hike to the waterfall is moderate to difficult, so be prepared for a physical challenge. Make sure to bring plenty of water, and take breaks if you need to.
- Pack a picnic: There are several areas to relax and enjoy a picnic near the waterfall, so consider bringing a light snack or a full meal to enjoy.
- Bring a camera: Nauyaca Waterfalls is a stunning natural wonder that’s perfect for capturing memories. Don’t forget your camera or smartphone to take photos and videos.
- Be mindful of your surroundings: The waterfall and surrounding areas are home to a variety of wildlife, so be mindful of your surroundings and exercise caution when swimming or exploring.
Visiting Nauyaca Waterfalls is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that offers a chance to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Costa Rica. With a little planning and preparation, you can make the most of your visit and create unforgettable memories. Now, all that’s left to do is plan your trip and have fun!