We visited Costa Rica in 2013, and one night when we stopped at a beachside bar at Playas del Coca, we struck up a conversation with the owner. I wish I could remember the name of the bar, so I could recommend it. Anyway, he recommended a hidden waterfall that was frequented by the locals, and not yet overrun by tourists. It was located not far from Liberia, in the Cantón of Bagaces.
If you are interested, there are 82 cantons in Costa Rica. They are similar to a city or municipality, with a mayor whose job is to work with the municipal council, district councils and to approve and implement the decisions made the the municipal council. The municipal council manages the canton at the local level, planning basic policies and establishing budgets. By the way, bagaces is also the name of a hard white cheese in Costa Rica.
We headed to Bagaces, looking for any signage (not much) that would provide some positive reinforcement. We did find the correct turnoff, drove about 3 miles down a gravel road, and found a sign that said “Waterfall.” We turned in, then gave a free-will donation for the local school. After parking the car (which involved an unfortunate incident with a tree,) we walked down a path to the waterfall (sturdy shoes recommended.)
We were greeted with a stunning view of Catarata Llanos de Cortés with a beautiful natural pool for swimming. I’m guessing the name means Plains of Cortez Waterfall. The fall is about 50 feet wide and 40 feet high. It was possible to go behind the waterfall, and jump in from the sides if you want to. The waters have been warmed by the sun before dropping over the edge, making it feel like you are taking a warm shower.
What a lovely place to spend a day. When we visited, there were few tourists. Most of the people at the falls and pool were from the area, enjoying the day with their families, picnicking and swimming.
I’ve read that this formerly secluded waterfall has become more popular with tourists, with about 80,000 visitors annually. A hotel and restaurant are being built by the Canton of Bagaces on the site, with construction starting in 2019. I hope it proves beneficial to the folks who live here.