There are outdoor tours for every activity known in Costa Rica. One of the more fun and exhilarating tours is the Waterfall or Cascade Tour. Any business that offers tours will offer a waterfall tour. I went with Manuel Antonio Surf School (Lorenzo) and had a great time. When signing up for the tour, the cost will be dependent on transportation. If you have your own car the cost will be much lower. This is another reason to rent a car. If you do not have a car, the touring business will add that into the cost.
I had no problems getting a waterfall tour at the Manuel Antonio Surf School. I allowed Lorenzo to drive my car and we trekked across the countryside. He said there were four waterfalls that we were going to jump off of and we would start at the smallest or easiest. In between each waterfall is about a 20-30 minute drive. This is something I actually enjoy rather than doing one activity for the entire trip.
The first waterfall was off the beaten path, down a dirt road and kind of in the middle of nowhere outside of Quepos. Trust me when I tell you that you could never find it unless you were a local that had given tours. We drove for about two miles on a dirt road and saw a waterfall to the left of the road. Lorenzo showed me where to go and we walked across the creek/river to get to the jumping spot. If you are fearful of jumping off rocks that have no safety precautions, do not do this tour. If you want to be adventurous, do it! There were two heights to jump from on this particular rock. One was about 8 feet and the other was about 12-14 feet. The first is off a small ledge and is no problem. The second, higher jump is a little bit scary. You feel as if you really need to push off far or you are going to hit the rock. As usual with jumping off waterfalls, this is not the case. All you really need to go is to make certain you actually push off a little bit.
The first jump was a half a breathe and then you hit the water. The second jump was a full breathe and then you hit the water. Lorenzo is very experienced so he climbed up into a tree and jumped out of it which was about 20 feet high. I was not willing to do this. The video below is of him jumping out of the tree. After that we went to the next waterfall.
The next waterfall was past Uvita where the Envision Festival is. Check it out! This was a location in which we had to wear a mask to get in and had to pay an admission fee. We went through a butterfly garden/greenhouse before we went up to the waterfall. This waterfall has many more “precautions”. There is actually a jumping area with handrails and you are not jumping off a rock. There is a metal grate you jump off of.
After we jumped off Lorenzo told me we were going up and doing the “slide”. There were some smaller waterfalls of about 10-15 feet that looked like a fun slide. He said, “no”. We went up higher and there is about a 25 foot waterfall that looked extremely high. There are two ways to get to the top of it. You can jump into the pool, swim across and climb up a ladder. This is physically challenging so you can actually go another way that is just a trail with a rope to hold on to. Either way, you get to the top and it is very high. At one point I wasn’t sure I could do it.
Lorenzo convinced me and put me in the right spot. He said all I have to do is sit down, cross my legs, cross my arms on my chest and tuck my chin into my chest. He would put me in place and let the water take me. Even though this was the tallest waterfall it actually wasn’t that scary once it happened. In fact, I would strongly encourage doing it.
After I got to the bottom Lorenzo signaled that he was going to jump off the higher spot. He climbed up in a tree and jumped out of nowhere from about 35 feet. This is something I would absolutely never do. He told me that he wouldn’t let any customers do this because you have to be an experienced jumper to know how hard you have to push off so you don’t hit the rocks. Here is the video of him doing it:
After this I told him I would buy him lunch at any place he wanted. He said there were two more waterfalls but since we were doing lunch we would only go to one more. That was fine with me. We went to the final waterfall which was a rope swing. This one was the easiest in my option as you just held the swing and let your bodyweight take you out into the water. It was about a 10 foot drop from the swing. We actually did this one twice and then we went back to the car.
On the way back we stopped at a hole in the wall seafood place that was delicious. There is no way an American would have even known this place was a restaurant. It looked like someone’s house from outside. This is the luxury of knowing one of the locals. I am glad we ate lunch. I could not even begin to tell you the name of the restaurant. Speaking of which, Yelp does not work in Costa Rica.
If you are any bit adventurous and want to enjoy seeing the coastline and some of the freshwater streams you should do the waterfall tour. I strongly suggest asking for Lorenzo at Manuel Antonio Surf School.