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  • Sara & Johel

Best waterfalls to see in & around the Rio Cuarto, Costa Rica Canton

In the last nine months since moving to Costa Rica, our Go Tico! family has explored our share of waterfalls: both near and far. We’ve gotten to schlep through mud, wade through rivers, climb extensive stairs, scramble over rocks, strolled through pastures, and of course, also gotten to simply stroll down nicely groomed paths to get to them (most waterfalls involve a surprising mix of these terrains!) Here are a few of our favorites:

1. Las Gemelas y Catarata Celestial, Bajos del Toro

This hike is a two for one (there is actually even a third waterfall along the way, but it involved a bit too much wading through rushing waters for us to get to with our kiddos). The trail itself is said to be about 10 kilometers roundtrip, but it didn’t feel like nearly that much. You stroll through pastures past grazing cows, get a few pretty fabulous views of surrounding mountains, have to scurry up and down some pretty steep rocks to get to the base of Celestial, but it was all worth it. Las Gemelas, as the name notes, are twin waterfalls, both beautiful, but the more hidden one is a must-see, located a bit tucked away in an inlet. Celestial is an incredible light blue - the hike takes you past an overlook first before being able to get right up to the base. Plan to get wet!

2. San Vincente Hideaway, Juan Castro Blanco National Park

This easy hike that is very untrampled (we’ve done it twice and only once crossed paths with one

other couple) is one of my favorites. It’s not particularly long (we did the whole circuit with kids in about two hours), but takes you to two small waterfalls that I found to be breathtaking on a sunny day. They are a bit tucked away and form these small, magical looking posas (swimming holes) that you’ll be able to endure for about a minute if you try to jump in - it’s some of the coldest water we’ve ever felt! Most of the time, you’re hiking through forests near the base of Volcan Platanar, and along the way, you’ll pass one of the most beautiful, full-of-life trees I’ve ever seen.

3. Catarata Caida del Cielo, Bajos de Toro National Park

This hike lies in the same territory as several other more visited falls, but our family appreciates this more than some of its neighbors. The waterfall itself is pretty neat, but what makes this stand out was the river the falls flowed into. You have to be brave enough to scramble the rocks to get across it (not overly difficult, but use caution, as they’re slippery!) to view where the river flows: it’s nothing short of something out of Jurassic Park. It’s rocky and lush and absolutely beautiful. Even our younger kiddos, who don't always appreciate the “awe” we experience on some of these hikes took extra pause to just sit and stare. The fact that near the trail was a kid-friendly swimming hole helped too!

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