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Nauyaca waterfalls Costa RicaNauyaca waterfalls Costa Rica

Nauyaca Waterfalls

Nauyaca Waterfalls by NomadInMe. In this blog post, I will share my experiences of Costa Rica’s Nauyaca waterfalls. A spectacular two-tiered waterfall in the jungle-covered mountains of southern Costa Rica.

The Nauyaca Waterfalls are a two-tiered waterfall found in southern Pacific Costa Rica, near the beach town of Dominical. This lush, jungle filled and mountainous part of Costa Rica is in the Puntarenas Province, which is home to many of Costa Rica’s most popular places to visit. It is a nature-filled adventurers playground, with spectacular scenery and many natural wonders.

Getting To Nauyaca Waterfalls

They are located about 15 minutes inland of Dominical and approximately 1 hour south of Manuel Antonio and 1 hour north of Uvita. To access the Nauyaca Waterfalls will require a 45minute to 1-hour hike up an unmade track which is steep in places. For an extra fee, the falls can be accessed partly by 4×4 or horseback. The track is of moderate difficulty and will be more challenging in the rainy season (May-October). You will find restrooms and 1 refreshment stop along the way.

Manual Antonio is a very popular beach town and relatively closely located to the Nauyaca Falls. It is centrally located to a variety of towns, beaches and attractions and offers a variety of hotels, vacation rentals and amenities. It is also home to Manual Antonio National Park, one of Costa Ricas most popular national parks.

To find out more about Manual Antonio National Park check out this blog post – https://www.nomadinme.com/manuel-antonio-national-park/.

To view the best vacation rentals in Manual Antonio click here – https://www.nomadinme.com/manuel-antonio-vacation-rentals/

About Nauyaca Waterfalls

The falls themselves are located in a jungle filled canyon and feed into the Baru River. They consist of an upper and a lower waterfall. The upper falls are approximately 45m high and fall uninterrupted into a large open boulder field. The lower waterfall is around 20 metres high and cascades down a stepped structure into a large deep lagoon. This is ideal for swimming and cooling off. At the base of the lower falls, you will find some small ledges to jump from or take pictures.

The ferocity of Nauyaca Falls will be dependant on the time of year. The rainy season in Costa Rica is typically from May to October. With September and October being the wettest months. During the rainy season, the larger volume of water passing over the waterfalls will give for a more intense experience. Swimming in the falls will be colder and more challenging and the track will be harder. The rainy season is also the quieter time of year to visit the country which allows for a more enjoyable experience. Despite this, the dry months are still very enjoyable and the falls rarely get crowded.

The trail up to the Nauyaca falls is bursting with plants and native wildlife. Several types of monkey including Howler, Capuchin and Squirrel monkeys can be seen on the hike. Not to mention the intense variety of plants birds and insects found in this part of the world. A look up into the canopy will reveal many species of trees, covered in epiphytes such as orchids and bromeliads.

Of all of the waterfalls I have visited none are as photogenic as Nauyaca. The upper level is dramatic and raw and the lower level symmetrical and beautiful. Standing back from the lower falls both parts can be seen at the same time. It is a photographers playground, where the smallest adjustment in shutter speed can lead to a dramatically different photograph.

Where To Stay Near Nauyaca Waterfalls

Luxury – Casa Sea Breeze

Mid-range – Casa Olas Azul

Budget – Villa Desiderata


If visiting this southern Pacific region of Costa Rica, a visit to Nauyaca Falls is an absolute must. Be aware of the difficulty level of the hike and prepare accordingly. In addition I recommend hiring an SUV, as the track to the falls is steep and un made. As discussed the rainy and dry season have their up and down sides but both are extremely enjoyable. Less tourists in the rainy season but a higher chance of rain.

Regardless I would recommend visiting the falls early in the morning, to avoid any crowds and the heat. Hiking shoes or sneakers, a towel and a swim suit are a must, dont forget to pack plenty of water and your camera!

If anyone has any insights on their experience visiting Costa Rica’s Nauyaca Falls or if you are planning a trip and have any questions, be sure to comment below and share!

Nauyaca Waterfalls Travel Essentials

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