On our recent visit to Costa Rica, we wanted to visit one of the many waterfalls the country has to offer. The problem was we were only visiting the Guanacaste area, which is more dry, so not great conditions for waterfalls. Luckily not far from Liberia there is Llanos De Cortez, a gorgeous hidden waterfall. We didn’t spend too much time in Liberia, we actually just used it for our midpoint between Playa Flamingo and Nicaragua. We spent 2 nights in Liberia, one when we arrived from the US and one night before we left. On our way back from Nicaragua, we had our driver take us to the falls and it was beautiful! If you are anywhere close to Liberia make sure you make it to Llanos De Cortez. Read our guide to find out more about Llanos De Cortez waterfall.
Location: The Llanos de Cortez waterfall is right outside Bagaces, which is just a half hour south of Liberia. It is easy to get to from Liberia, as it’s a straight shot on the Pan-American Highway, which makes it easy to get to from anywhere in Guanacaste. Off the highway, there is a dirt road which takes you directly to the parking lot. There is no admission fee into the waterfalls but they do ask for donations which supports the local school. From the parking lot, it is only about 200 meters to the actual water. The trail is dirt and somewhat steep, so sturdy shoes are your best bet, although we had no trouble in flip-flops.
The Falls: The falls are 12 m high and 15 m wide and are hidden in this magical looking forest. There is a pool at the base of the falls that is perfect for swimming. While we were there, there were a couple vendors that were selling food and souvenirs. There are rocks that you can climb and behind the falls there is a small cave. What we liked the most about this awesome waterfall is that it is still a hidden tourist place. We found that it was mostly locals there when we visited. You can also climb to the top for an awesome view-although we didn’t have a chance to do it. Lots of people bring food and stay there all day. There is definitely the right amount of sunshine and shade if you are wanting to spend a couple hours here.
From Liberia: On the Pan American Highway head south towards Bagaces for about 20 minutes. On the right there is a dirt road before you get to Bagaces with a small sign for the Catarata (waterfall). From here just follow the dirt road and the signs to the parking lot.
- Open 8am-5pm
- There is coconut water for sale in the parking lot for 500 colones each (about 1 USD)
- Wear your swimsuit since there is no changing area
- Avoid the weekend if possible, as this is a busier time
If you are in or around Liberia, Llanos De Cortez waterfall is a must-see as it is easily accessible and only a short hike to the falls. There is where a lot of locals go so it’s still authentic and quite the hidden gem!
What is your favorite waterfall that you have visited?