Costa Rica has many adventures within a variety of things to offer. From sunny bright beaches to foggy jungles and silent mountains and from surfing blue waves to fast rivers and green waterfalls.
On one of my travels to Manuel Antonio, I decided to spend the day at the Nauyaca Waterfalls. It took me some time to get to the waterfalls, but it was totally worth it. It was a very emotional time by then; I was closing a personal phase and rethinking my decisions. I was a month away from moving back to Argentina, no job, no plan, and no idea what was going to happen. Things were very uncertain. All I had was my time left in Costa Rica.
Nauyaca Waterfalls blew my mind. My expectations weren’t very high, but as soon as I arrived at the first waterfall I was amazed by this place. Let yourself be surprised, Nauyaca won’t disappoint you.
HOW TO GET THERE?
If you are staying in Dominical you can take a taxi ride, it’s only a 20 minutes drive or less. From Quepos or Manuel Antonio, you can take either public transportation or you can reserve a spot on these small busses that take you there (tour not included). The best option is to drive there. It’s a 50 minutes drive from Manuel Antonio. Keep in mind that the routes in Costa Rica are curvy with ups and downs; so be careful and don’t drive in a rush.
Once you get there you will go to the offices where you will pay the entrance fee. In Costa Rica, most places have differential fee rates for foreigners. If you are driving a 4x4 you can enter 2km until the parking lot. If not, just leave your vehicle parked near the entrance and start your hike there. I highly recommend you start walking from the entry since there is a cliff hard to drive through, especially if you are not very experienced driving in muddy roads.
HIKING OPTIONS & OTHER TOURS.
The trail to and from the waterfalls is 12 kilometers in total (6 each way). It is a moderately difficult road due to its muddy characteristics and with many ups and downs.
There are 4 ways to do this tour.
1 - WALKING SELF TOUR
If you enjoy doing things at your own pace, then you will definitely want to do this hike. The trail is very easy to follow since it is well marked. You still have to pay an entrance fee.
2 - HORSEBACK RIDING TOUR
The owners of the property offer horseback riding tours as another way to go to the waterfalls.
This tour includes a tour guide, horse, light breakfast, lunch, and admission ticket to the waterfalls. It starts at 8 am and finishes at 1:30 pm. Tour must be booked in advance and each participant should meet the requirements. It is only available from Monday to Saturday.
3 - ECONOMIC 4X4 TOUR
Other tours the owners offer are two types of 4x4 tours. One is Economic and the other one Premium. Both are available from Mondays to Saturdays.
The Economic Tour only offers the ride to the waterfalls and back and admission tickets. You would only have to walk 100 meters to the waterfalls themselves. This tour does not include guides, snacks, meals, nor beverages. This tour lasts 2 hours.
4 - PREMIUM 4X4 TOUR
In this Premium version of the 4X4 Tour, you will enjoy an extended and complete version of the previous one. This tour includes the ride to the waterfalls and back, tour guide, light breakfast, lunch, and admission ticket. It lasts 5 and a half hours; where you will be able to enjoy just as much of the waterfalls with a unique 4X4 experience through nature.
For more information on any of the tours, costs, and admission fees please check the official site: http://nauyacawaterfallscostarica.com/
A LITTLE HISTORY
This property has an incredible and very interesting history behind it. Don Lulo and Doña Ruth are the owners of the land. They got married very young, he worked as a caretaker for the former owner and she was responsible for their home. They lived in a small rural house with their own farm animals.
Years went by, children and opportunities came. The former owner started to offer Don Lalo a small parcel of the land for him to buy in small payments. Then another, and so on. They worked hard on the land to make it profitable; mostly livestock farmery.
Time passed by and had named the land Nauyaca that comes from a kind of snake that lived in the region.
The crisis came and things slowly started to shift for them. Don Lulo and Doña Ruth started to work on a nursery project reforesting the land as a way to give back to nature in a sense of repair for the damages they had made.
With the years Nauyaca Waterfalls turned into Nauyaca Waterfalls Tourism Center. Little by little they started to shift their business from farming to eco-tourism and sharing the property and the waterfalls to the world.
Don Lulo and Doña Ruth are a real example of hard work, perseverance, and believing in your dreams. You can learn more about Nauyacas Waterfalls’ and Don Lulo and Doña Ruth’s history at their official site: http://nauyacawaterfallscostarica.com/
HOW TO BE WELL-PREPARED
When going for a hike in Costa Rica you must always be well prepared and travel light. So here are my top recommendations for this, and any hike you do in Costa Rica.
You must always bring water in your reusable bottle, healthy snacks such as nuts, fruits, power bars, granola, and maybe even some chocolate. Try to avoid single-use plastic bags and use reusable bags or small containers for your goodies.
As rain is almost always a given, except in dry season, a raincoat might be handy. You should also bring your bathing suit and hiking comfortable shoes. Long pants are recommended due to insects and spiders in the region.
Other highly recommended items for you to bring are sunblock and repellent; natural and biodegradable preferable.
WHAT TO EXPECT
This is a very nice, moderate difficulty hike. You should expect a great connection with nature, its fauna, and flora. You can hear the jungle and all the life within it.
When you arrive at the waterfalls you can enjoy a nice picnic on the rocks, or bathe in the waters. If you are within the adrenaline team, you have an extra tip: arrive early and have a guide with you, they are able to guide you to the top of the waterfalls and indicate where to jump from it. It has limited schedules, so you have to do your research beforehand.
In my experience, it had rain the days before so the road was really muddy. Do not go with flip flops. Always use hiking shoes.
I hope you enjoy the Nauyaca Waterfalls as much as I did. For me, it was a place of peace and total connection with nature and myself.
I hope you found this information useful and I look forward to hearing about your experience!
Live, Love & Laugh
A True Nomad - Sol Acevedo