Cataratas Llanos de Cortes

Today we’ll be visiting waterfall Llanos de Cortes. This waterfall is in Guanacaste, about 20 minutes south of Liberia. The road from Liberia is a 2 lane, divided highway in very good condition and it was a very easy drive.

Getting There

To find the street to take you to the waterfalls, you’ll be turning left from the southbound lane immediately after a pedestrian bridge. If you’re traveling northbound, you’ll need to turn around when the highway divide opens. The turn off is located here:

The main entrance for a very easeful access to the waterfall parking lot is a very short minute drive along this road, with access on the right side. You’ll see this access at about 1:13 in the video. This access point is here:

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The Longer Way

For the video, we’ll drive further down the paved road to the small town of Llanos de Cortes. Here you’ll find some restaurants to enjoy after the hike. We drove ‘Acceso 2 a Catarata Llanos de Cortes’ on our own first, but the road is extremely rough and it wasn’t entirely clear where to access the parking on this south side of the waterfalls river. Luckily, we approached some local guides who led us back down the road and through the correct gates to access the parking area. These guides, Josue and Yehudy can be met at the last intersection before the trail near ‘Rancho El Cortez’.

As you can see in the video, this road has both massive ruts, water covered areas and some steep hills. It was a fun drive with the 4 x 4, but if you’re not looking for that consider using the north parking lot mentioned earlier. The guides Josue and Yehudy are happy to travel and met you in that location as well. Either way, expect to pay about 5,000 colones for parking.

costa rica waterfall guides
Local Guides Josue (left) and Yuhidy (right)

Travelling in Costa Rica is much easier when you know some conversational Spanish. Many locals will understand English, but it will ease your experience by knowing some basic Spanish in advance. You'll be able to ask better questions and understand signs/shop owners. I recommend using Rosetta Stone before you even leave for your trip, and when you arrive you can refine your conversational skills.

Into The Woods

You’ll then walk a short distance through the forested area, and find a small waterfall and swimming pool that we’re told is about 9 feet deep. We did some jumping at this location afterwards, which was very fun. Due to the recent rain, dirt had washed into the pool so it wasn’t necessarily as picturesque as it would have been in the summer(less rain), but was still very scenic and fun to swim in.

A slightly further walk and you’ll reach the main waterfall and swimming area. It was very powerful on this date as it had just finished raining. The water was no perfectly clear, but it was still very refreshing to swim in and still great for some pictures.

Around this area you’ll find a small sandy beach, another waterfall hidden behind some trees and some caves that wrap under the cliffs. If you’re just looking to check out the water, it should be easy enough to access. However, for an enhanced experience I’d recommend hiring the local guides who know all the hidden trails which run around the hills.

Add It To Your List

This waterfall is a great location to visit during your stay in Costa Rica. If you’re heading here I’d recommend bringing some snacks and water, as well as a towel to dry off. Other than that, your parking will be fairly close and you won’t need much stuff to enjoy the falls and swimming.

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