For those coming from Juan Santamaría International Airport, your destination awaits you in just under an hour and a half. Located not too far from the international airport and in the main triangle of San Jose, La Fortuna & Monteverde, Catarata Del Toro makes a perfect itinerary stop. The drive is manageable in the daylight hours. However, be aware driving in Costa Rica at night. The roads, lack of lighting and consistent weather changes in the mountains make it very hard to see. I repeat, do not drive in the dark. Trust me!
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!
Welcome to Catarata Del Toro, Costa Rica’s Ultimate Secret, which is a privately-owned ecological waterfall project. The Dutch – Costa Rican couple are 100% committed to the conservation of the natural environment and beauty they have around them. In the midst of this unique property you will run into your most incredible waterfall experience of Costa Rica. It will offer you what you always have been looking for: extraordinary beauty! So, if you like waterfalls in the most natural way possible, this is the place to visit.
The cost is $14US per person to get into the park and explore all it has to offer.
The best part is, if you’re not healthy or able to make the climb to the bottom of the waterfall, you can see if from the hummingbird park above. But, if you are willing and able, the short hike is well worth it. It takes about 20 minutes or so and all you need is water and your camera.
You start by heading through the Hummingbird garden and zigzagging your way through the forest trail. All paths are marked and easy to find and follow. Once you reach the gate, go through the gate and down the multiple sets of stairs. Take a deep breathe though, because there are about 400 stairs in total until you reach the bottom.
Once your legs feel like jello, you know you are almost there! After you reach solid ground again, follow the dirt trail and signs posted along the trail. Don’t forget to stop to take in the smells, sights and sounds though, this place is alive. At one point, you will come across a bench to rest or a few great photos. The benches are strategically placed in the best possible views so don’t bother trying to take photos as you’re walking.
After a short break admiring the views, you should reach a set of gradual twists and turns before reaching the rocky base. The rocks are very slippery when wet so be careful here. And, if you were planning to swim, you will be let down as the area is roped off for your safety. The height and power of the falls is way to dangerous to swim in the pool below and nobody needs to get hurt. Thus, the ropes are for your protection, so please do not go past them.
Now that you’ve made it to the bottom, its time to enjoy the biggest waterfall in Costa Rica. Take your time, look down, around and up. Snap some photos or some videos and post them in the comments section below.
If you make it back to the top, just kidding, you will, go at your own pace. The stairs are even tougher on the way up, if you can imagine. When you do make if past the gate again, this time, go left on the trail and continue the nature walk around the property. The other side of the property offers sweeping views of the nearby volcano and open farm fields of Costa Rica. Get sidetracked and lost through the gardens and admire the fauna, its truly beautiful.
When you reach the main property again, you’ll be surrounded by hummingbirds.
The hummingbird park is a wonderful area to bird watch. Grab a seat on the bench and sit for as long as your heart desires. These birds are so magnificent and the food feeders bring them from miles away. To recap, not only will you be able to see and hike to the biggest waterfall in the country, but you will be surrounded in nature at their hummingbird park.
Pleasant surprises don’t stop there and this may be the biggest secret about Catarata Del Toro. The property has two rooms to stay at; both around the same size and same amenities. But, if you book for a Saturday night, you will have the entire park to yourself on Sunday. That is because the park is closed on Sunday to the public! When I made my trip, I specifically planned it around this event and stayed a Saturday night. Best of all, the stay was invaluable and very cheap. Normally, these rooms are around $70 per night and can be booked directly on the Catarata Del Toro website. The room is a no thrills, no TV, nature-loving-jungle-bungalow. It was awesome and just what we envisioned! The entrance fee is included in the price, which is a steal for accommodation and adventure.
Whatever you do, don’t miss out on the breakfast or coffee here. It’s the perfect setting in the Costa Rican canopy and it’s fantastic. Eggs over-easy, wheat toast, fresh fruit and a smoothie. What could be better?! I’m glad you asked…
Ready for your bluest and coldest waterfall experience in Costa Rica?
In 2017, Wil and Donais started a new project at Catarata Del Toro; Blue Falls of Costa Rica – Nature as perfect as it can get and truly the mother of all blue rivers in Costa Rica.
Situated close to Catarata Del Toro in Bajos Del Toro, Sarchí we will offer you something mind blowing. A truly blue river with 7 blue waterfalls, 3 normal waterfalls, rapids, swimming pools, views, nature and hiking in one. Starting point for all tours will be Catarata Del Toro, Costa Rica’s Ultimate Secret.
Again, if you’re staying overnight, the ticket to the falls is included in the price. If you are not staying overnight, the price is $15US per person and the expeditions is a couple hours long.
If this is not the biggest secret is Costa Rica, I dont know what is! Honestly, this place is an amazing value and fits right in with most itineraries. I would not miss this place while planning your itinerary!
Read More: The Ultimate Central Costa Rica Road Trip