The Waterfalls of Nosara

The first place any visitor in Costa Rica is likely to make eye contact with the country’s waterfalls is on the promotion literature, where these flowing, cascading bodies of water often form the backdrop to scenes of monkeys, flowers, butterflies, wildcats, and other marvels that Costa Rica has to offer. Along with the beaches and jungles, Costa Rica’s waterfalls are one of the countries leading tourist draws, with tens of thousands of visitors hiking in and out to see them each year.

The ingredients for any waterfall are fairly basic – rain and mountains, and Costa Rica has these two components in droves. The only downside, or blessing (depending on which way you look at it) is that the waterfalls of Costa Rica are often remote, hidden, and sometimes difficult to access. Nosara is no different. However, with a little local knowledge, it’s entirely possible to visit these spots and soak in their beauty. This is a guide to the waterfalls in and around Nosara. Happy hunting.

mala noche waterfall nosara

Mala Noche
The closest landmark to Mala Noche waterfall is the Nosara rodeo stadium. Beyond that you’ll need a guide, or at least a local friend who knows where to look. The term Mala Noche, which translates to ‘bad night’ was given supposedly given to the waterfall at the beginning of the twentieth century when the chiclero workers would venture into the heavily wooded area to harvest gum from the nispero trees. During these week long expeditions, they camped in the jungle. As the sun went down their camp would become infested with insects and other creepy crawlies such as mosquitoes. As a testament to how miserable these bugs made the evening time, they named the area Mala Noche.

Mala Noche owes its popularity mainly to its location. It’s not the kind of tall, cascading blue lagoon type waterfall that appear in many tourism brochures. The water is darker, and the area is covered in shade from the tall Guanacaste and Pachote trees that surround it. Still, it’s a great place to swim, and to cool off after the hike in, which is an adventure in itself, and involves open cow pastures followed by an enjoyable river hike.

santo domingo waterfall nosara

Santo Domingo

Journeying to the Santo Domingo waterfall, which is actually located in the mountains overlooking Sámara, is an enjoyable day trip out of Nosara that’s well worth the time and effort. Upon arrival, visitors are greeted with a 100 meter high waterfall rolling down from the mountains, and landing in a deep, clear pool of crisp, refreshing water. The waterfall is situated on a family owned. Although it’s possible to hike there oneself, the family also trips to the waterfall on horseback. As well as the waterfall, this features a stunning array of wildlife and wide abundance of plants, trees, and flowers.

los angeles waterfall nosara

Los Angeles Coffee Waterfall
High in the mountains overlooking Nosara and Garza, this waterfall sits within a privately owned coffee ranch in the small town of Los Angeles. It cannot be accessed without prior permission from the owner, who may charge a small fee to visitors. The Los Angeles waterfall is a popular location with horse riding tours, ATV tours, and hikers, all of whom take the long path through the jungle to reach this pleasant, relaxing spot. This waterfall is remote, and situated way out among prime jungle. The swimming, wildlife, and the trees and flowers make the perfect backdrop to unwind.

belen waterfall nosara

Belen Waterfall
The Belen Waterfall sits about 25 minutes east from the town of Samara in. The Belen waterfall, like most of them, is well hidden and either requires precise local knowledge, or a guide to get there. The journey can be rough. Although the road, which runs through beautiful jungle and mountain terrain, is regularly repaired, an ATV or 4×4 is recommended for drivers. Eventually, you’ll arrive at the parking area, from which it’s a straightforward ten minute hike down a steep jungle path. At the bottom, you’ll see that the effort you made getting there was truly worth the effort. As well as the 15 foot waterfall, there’s also a variety of swimming pools to hang out in, all of which have a flat rock bottom.

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