Skip to Content

Blue Falls of Costa Rica: Swimming In Waterfalls In Costa Rica!

If you love waterfalls, you will love the Blue Falls of Costa Rica. These are powerful waterfalls secluded in the jungle, with bright turquoise water that you can swim in!

They’re amongst the most incredible waterfalls I have ever seen, and I can highly recommend them to anyone visiting Costa Rica.

In this guide I’ve put together everything you need to know about visiting the Blue Falls of Costa Rica.

From how to get there, to entrance fees, what to bring, what to expect and more. So what are you waiting for? Let’s dive right in!

Going for a dip in the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

Going for a dip in the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

Do you need travel insurance to visit the Blue Falls of Costa Rica?

After my personal experience spending two nights in a private hospital in Tenerife, and having to pay for it out of pocket (it wasn’t cheap), I always recommend getting travel insurance.

You might not end up needing it, but for a small fee you can travel without worries. Personally, I suggest getting your travel insurance with  Heymondo.

Heymondo offers tailor made travel insurance, providing the best value for money for your specific trip. You can also buy it once you’re already abroad and have forgotten about it before flying (which, if you’re anything like me, is quite likely).

Besides the usual cancellation, medical expenses, luggage coverage and general travel insurance services, Heymondo also has a 24/7 doctor chat and instant assistance through their app.

As a Greta’s Travels reader, you get 5% off your Heymondo travel insurance!

Click here to get your 5% off Heymondo travel insurance!

Hiking to the base of the Catarata del Toro waterfall in Costa Rica

Hiking to the base of the Catarata del Toro waterfall in Costa Rica

About the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

The Blue Falls of Costa Rica are part of the same natural park as Catarata del Toro, and they are located just minutes away from it. The Blue Falls are actually made up of seven waterfalls, all dotted along the same turquoise river.

They get their name from the bright colour of the water. The river has this bright turquoise colour because of volcanic minerals present in the water.

Since there is a bit of a hike involved to reach them you are not allowed to visit the Blue Falls without a guide. They are open from Monday to Saturday from 7AM to 5PM.

Drone shot of the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

Drone shot of the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

Getting to the Blue Falls

The easiest way to travel around Costa Rica is to rent a car. That way you have flexibility over your departure times and breaks along the road.

The Blue Falls of Costa Rica are right next to Catarata del Toro. If you’re driving there yourself you should search for “Catarata del Toro” on Google Maps, as that is where the park reception and car park area are located.

If you’re arriving from San Jose you have 70km, or 2-hours, of driving to get there.

The other main hubs where you can stay before visiting Catarata del Toro are Sarapiqui and La Fortuna. Respectively 54.5km (1.5 hours) and 76.6km (1.5 hours) away from the waterfall.

The roads in Costa Rica are mostly well paved and easy to drive along. You can also get there with a combination of public buses and taxis or with a private shuttle. 

Blue Falls of Costa Rica entrance fees

As previously mentioned you are not allowed to visit the Blue Falls without a guide. You can pay the entrance fee and hire a guide at the reception of the Catarata del Toro waterfall.

We paid on the moment when we arrived, there was no need to book beforehand (although this might change as it becomes a more popular tourist attraction).

They offer different types of Blue Falls tour packages.

The first waterfall you will find when visiting the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

The first waterfall you will find when visiting the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

The basic tour costs 15 USD per person and lasts around 2 hours. They take you to two waterfalls that you can swim in, with about 1 hour of hiking (30 minutes there and 30 minutes back).

There is also a full day tour option for 50 USD that lasts 7 hours and takes you to 7 waterfalls, as well as rapids and lakes. With this option you will be out for a full day of adventuring.

You can also do a Combo tour of the Blue Falls and Catarata del Toro for 25 USD. This is the one we went for. This is a 4-hour tour, 2 hours per waterfall, that allows you to see two very different, but equally stunning, waterfalls.

Beware of snakes! Sign along the trail on the hike to the Blue Falls

Beware of snakes! Sign along the trail on the hike to the Blue Falls

Our experience at the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

We set off from the Catarata del Toro reception enroute to Blue Falls with our guide. You first have to walk along the road for about 5 minutes, before reaching a locked gate that your guide will open for you.

After that we hiked for about 20 minutes along a fairly easy trail, surrounded by fields. We then reached another gate where our guide advised us to get some walking sticks.

We walked down a steep staircase that led to the river edge. To reach the waterfalls we had to cross the river, which is where our walking sticks came in handy!

There is no bridge or proper crossing so you will have to get with your feet in the water and step over some low surfacing rocks. If you don’t feel secure the guide will come and hold your hand and walk you across.

Crossing the river to reach the Blue Falls

Crossing the river to reach the Blue Falls

As soon as we crossed the river, we were amazed by the natural beauty of the waterfalls. The water is a bold shade of turquoise, which contrasts beautifully with the greens of the rainforest.

Combined with the fact that we were the only people there, it really made for a unique adventure.

We were still taking pictures and marvelling at the beauty of the first waterfall, when our guide pointed us round the corner to discover that there was a second waterfall waiting for us!

The second waterfall is right next to the first, but just hidden away from view, tucked away and hidden amongst the trees. Seeing them one next to the other is quite something.

The best part? You can swim in the pools of both of these waterfalls!

My friend Jordan swimming in the first waterfall at the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

My friend Jordan swimming in the first waterfall at the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

The initial section of the hiking trail to the Blue Falls

The initial section of the hiking trail to the Blue Falls

We spent 1 hour taking pictures, swimming in the waterfalls and just generally appreciating the beauty of the place.

We asked our guide if it was normal that we were the only ones there and he said yes since most people visit in the morning. He said around 50 people a day visit the Blue Falls so it’s still fairly off the beaten track.

We then hiked back and got ready for our tour of Catarata del Toro waterfall!

Hiking along the river getting close to the Blue Falls

Hiking along the river getting close to the Blue Falls

What to bring to the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

You don’t really need much to visit the Blue Falls, however if you want to make sure your visit is a smooth one, especially if you do the full day tour, there are a couple things that can make your day more pleasant.

Water shoesSince you have to cross the river, as well as walk over rocks if you plan to swim in the waterfalls, it can be useful to have proper water shoes. Alternatively normal trainers that you don’t mind getting wet.

Waterproof bagI didn’t feel unsafe crossing the river, however considering I had a backpack with all my camera gear, I would have felt more comfortable if I’d had a fully waterproof bag.

That way even if I slipped I wouldn’t have ruined all my gear. Also if you plan to swim you can comfortably put your bag down without being afraid of it getting wet.

Crossing a bridge on the way to the Blue Falls

Crossing a bridge on the way to the Blue Falls

Fast drying towelIf you plan to swim, you will want one of these so you can dry up before getting dressed again. I love these because they’re light, take up little space and dry quickly.

A swimsuit / outfit change – If you plan to swim you will want to bring a change of clothes so you don’t have to hike back in a wet swimsuit after.

Water bottle – There’s a water fountain at the Catarata del Toro park reception where you can refill your bottle before setting off on your waterfall adventure!

Swimming in the second waterfall of the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

Swimming in the second waterfall of the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

Best places to stay to visit the Blue Falls

The best places to stay to visit the Blue Falls really depend at what part of your itinerary you are and where you’re going after. We were arriving from Sarapiqui and then went to La Fortuna after.

Here are the places we stayed at that I can recommend:

In San Jose

If you’re looking for a nice hostel in San Jose, I can recommend Fauna Hostel. It’s not in the city centre but if you have a rental car that doesn’t matter.

It actually made it better for us, as it was easier to leave San Jose without getting stuck in the city traffic.

Fauna Hostel has spacious dorm rooms with big lockers, clean and modern bathrooms, and a rooftop with great views over San Jose.

Click here to book your stay at Fauna Hostel!

The view from the rooftop of Fauna Hostel

The view from the rooftop of Fauna Hostel 

In Sarapiqui

In Sarapiqui we stayed at Mirador Prendas. Getting there is an adventure in itself, as is staying in a property that resembles a treehouse in the middle of the rainforest.

Here you will find yourself completely immersed in nature.

Click here to see the latest prices and availability at Mirador Prendas!

Drone shot of Mirador Prendas - in the middle of the jungle!

Drone shot of Mirador Prendas – in the middle of the jungle!

In La Fortuna

In La Fortuna we stayed at Arenal Hostel Resort. It’s a lovely hostel with modern and clean dorms, and a funky courtyard with hammocks, as well as a pool with a swim up bar.

After a long day chasing waterfalls, it was the perfect place to enjoy a drink and relax!

Click here to book your stay at Arenal Hostel Resort!

The courtyard area with hammocks of Arenal Hostel Resort

The courtyard area with hammocks of Arenal Hostel Resort

Final thoughts on visiting the Blue Falls of Costa Rica

Swimming in the Blue Falls of Costa Rica was one of the most fun things we did on our trip.

The natural beauty of the falls, paired with the fact we could actually swim in the them and that we were the only ones around, really left us amazed.

I hope you find this guide useful in planning your visit to the Blue Falls of Costa Rica! If you have any questions feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Looking for more Costa Rica travel advice? Check out these guides:

Enjoyed reading about the Blue Falls of Costa Rica? Pin it!

Girl standing in front one of the waterfalls of the Blue Falls of Costa Rica with text overlay saying "ultimate guide to the Blue Falls of Costa Rica"

Tom

Thursday 8th of July 2021

What about food?

Rochelle

Saturday 12th of June 2021

How cold is the water?