We traveled about 90 minutes and arrived, albeit a few missed turns, arrived at our destination. The Los Chorros waterfalls. We were surprised that when we pulled up, it didn’t look like much of a park at all. The sign was merely faded to almost the point where you couldn’t read it anymore.
The “park” is really just a farmer’s house carved out in the hillside. The faded signs were deceiving, this place was beautiful. We slowly drove up the rocky dirt road and were pleasantly greeted by a man who had to be 90 years old. The man motioned for us to keep coming and directed us past him. Hopefully this meant we were at the right place. Sure enough, we saw another man directing traffic and others parked on top of the hill. He didn’t speak any English and I must’ve done a decent job on my Spanish lessons before I left the US because I understood what he was saying enough to get us on our way. He directed us down a path and I think he said go left at the fork..
Left at the fork in the path, just past the big tree, before the other big tree…wait, what?
Yup, we must’ve picked the correct route because eventually we saw a sign that says “catarata”, which is waterfall in Spanish. We made our way through the tall bamboo trees, watching for wildlife as we went. This was our first encounter with the real side of Costa Rica. And when I say real side, I mean the remote countryside where not many travelers travel and trekking into the jungle where anything can happen at any moment. The sights, the smells, the sound, it was all surreal. I’ve been hiking before, but not like this, all my senses were heightened with anticipation with what could be found around the next tree.
We didn’t see many people for quite some time, maybe about half a mile or so. I was surprised as it was a Saturday and I read this was a popular place for locals on weekends. Oh well, more for us to see and enjoy. Once we reached the river we finally ran into some other people, all locals. The river was flowing at a good pace and we couldn’t see the cataratas yet, but we could hear it. We knew we were getting closer.
A few more twists in the dirt path and a massive tree later, we arrived!
The one mile walk down was not too strenuous and took around 25 minutes. However, the easy part of the path ended there. For the rest of our hike, we would be traveling up river to reach the second waterfall.
Laying our eyes on our first massive waterfall in our lives was unforgettable. Something so simple, such as water falling from higher elevation is a thing of beauty. I’d say its the small things in life, but the fall was huge! At over 130 feet high, you felt the mist from the falls a hundred feet away and you could hear it from much farther. We could do nothing more but stop and take a few selfies and take in the sights and sounds from one of two of Grecia’s beautiful waterfalls.
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As our bare feet struggled to find their way through the cold running water and sharp rocks, we were on the lookout for fauna and plant life. Because we arrived mid-afternoon, we didn’t have a lot of time to stop enough as we would’ve like before the sun started to go down. The second waterfall of Los Chorros was not that far from the first. A 10 minute hike up the river and around a slight bend in the rock formation had us staring straight into the base. The fall sounded so powerful because of the rock formations surrounding it as it echoed off the rock-wall. You could feel the power!
The sun started going down quicker and we realized we should head back before we were hiking back in the dark. No bueno! A few pictures later and we were up and out of the water and back on the irt trail. But, not before a couple of toe cramps had us laughing at ourselves. Seriously, toe cramps, they are the worst. I guess we were dehydrated from our travels. Before we knew it we were covered in sweat. The walk back up the rolling hills was a good workout. It didn’t take us much time at all to get back and that’s when we paid the $5 entrance and parking fee to the park.
We left Los Chorros with a feeling of accomplishment since we had nothing planned our first day in case our flight was delayed. We left Los Chorrs and started to head northeast until we hit route 708. Not only did we successfully make it to Costa Rica but we got in our first adventure on Day 1. Our next planned adventure wouldn’t be until the next day but we still had to get there. As day turned into dusk and dusk turned into night, we were left driving through a thick fog on the curvy mountain roads. Did I mention is was raining most of the time too? Do not drive in the dark. I repeat, do not drive in the dark. It’s very dangerous and not safe if you are unfamiliar with the roads. The drop-offs are steep, the fog is dense and your headlights are pretty much useless. Trust us!
Pro Tip: Do not drive in the dark, there are no street lights and the weather combined with the curvy mountain roads makes it very dangerous.
When we hit route 708 we went southwest down to Catarata Del Toro.
Since September 2005, Catarata Del Toro in Costa Rica is a private owned reserve of 100 hectares. Located a little north of San José and the international airport Juan Santamaria. And located on the Caribbean side of the central mountain range. The reserve borders two national parks, Juan Castro Blanco, which is one of the two water parks in the world and Poás on both sides for 3 kilometers. So, all this creates a ‘lost in the jungle’ feeling of 20.000 hectares. The first neighbors in the south and north are 1 kilometer away and the east and west are neighbor free. The valley of Bajos Del Toro, where we are located, is unspoiled. You will find mountains, many more waterfalls, forest, national parks and a lot of wildlife. As a result, this creates a lot of opportunities for sustainable tourism and you are welcome to start your eco-business as well!
We were greeted in the late evening by a Dutch – Costa Rican couple. They couldn’t have been any nicer and welcoming. We arrived later than planned because of getting caught driving in the dark and they were more than accommodating. Just as we explained our days adventure, they told us there was an easier way to get to Catarata Del Toro but we just had to laugh it off after our exhausting day.
We dropped our stuff at our room, check out the room tour on my YouTube channel here, and then we were right back out the door again to find a place to eat. We went about 10 minutes down the road to find a small family owned soda called Kafecito. It was really good and our first meal in Costa Rica did not disappoint! We had our first Casado with beef, fried plantains, salad, rice and beans. We also got a fried burrito and french fries for a side. The was really our only meal of the day besides for some flapjacks at McDonalds at 5am earlier that day. So.Hungry!
Definition of “Soda” – a local place to have cheap eats that serve authentic Costa Rican dishes.
Bellies full and our mind on sleep and tomorrows adventure, we got back to Catarata Adventures and went straight to bed. The room was $65 for the night and it was a no thrills, no TV, nature-loving-jungle-bungalow. It was awesome and just what we envisioned!