After a week at the beach on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and Panama, we were feeling a little beached out when we arrived to the southern Pacific Coast of Costa Rica near Manuel Antonio National Park. However, we were still intrigued by the jungle, an ecosystem totally foreign to us, as we live in the dry mountains of Colorado.
Luckily, we had jungle all around us at our amazing villa at the Buena Vista Luxury Villas un Quepos near Manuel Antonio. But instead of spending our days exploring the beaches of the area, we wanted to find some of Costa Rica’s famed waterfalls.
There is very little information available online about how to find waterfalls in Costa Rica on foot. There are several tour operators who offer horseback expeditions to see some of the best waterfalls near Manuel Antonio, but these are expensive and more time consuming than we wanted.
We successfully found best waterfall near Manuel Antonio National Park Costa Rica that you can access on foot, and I want to share with you here exactly how to find this gem if you’re in the Quepos/ Manuel Antonio area!
How to get to the Uvita Waterfall
From Quepos, head South on Highway 34, the main road running parallel to the ocean, for about 45 minutes. You’ll see the signs welcoming you to Uvita town.
Next, turn left at the first major intersection in Uvita. You’ll see the Banco Costa Rica, pictured below.
This road is paved for about one block, then turns into a super rough, rocky road. Continue on this road past the Toucan hotel and the cemetery, both on your right.
Watch for small signs for “La Catarata Uvita”, the Uvita Waterfall. Just after the cemetery, turn left up a hill. There should be a sign for the waterfall here notifying you of the turn.
Continue up the hill for about 1 mile, and parking and the entrance to the waterfall will be on your right. There is parking for a few cars, and a small restaurant where you can grab smoothies or a sandwich. You’ll also pay the $2 (1,000 Colones) entrance fee here.
Accessing the Uvita Waterfall
The guy who takes your money should give you directions to the waterfall. There is a nice path with hand rails leading to the Uvita waterfall. Walk for about 5-7 minutes to the left of the little café and you’ll be at the waterfall.
Bring as little with you as possible. Signs warn about watching your belongings, and while it was not busy while we were there, when it’s busy I can imagine it would be difficult to monitor all your belongings.
Some of the guys (my hubby included!) hiked up to the top of the waterfall and used the rock as a natural waterslide! We did see someone cliff dive from the top, but that resulted in a bad fall and probably some bruised ribs. So have a go at your own risk.
About the Uvita Waterfall
This is really the best waterfall near Manuel Antonio National Park you can reach on foot. There is no better way to cool down on a hot day than swimming in the chilly, clear turquoise waters of a fresh water pool next to a waterfall.
The river is beautiful and this is a fun, unique way to explore the Costa Rican jungle.
Head here first thing in the morning before it becomes crowded, then stay for lunch in Uvita. There are a few nice restaurants there. We really enjoyed La Fugata, a pizza and rotisserie chicken joint. You’ll see signs directing you here from the main road (it’s a bit further south from the waterfall turn-off on the right hand side.)