Hiking to Montezuma Falls, Costa Rica

montezuma falls costa rica gingerbread

road to montezuma waterfall costa rica

  •  The entrance of the trail to Montezuma Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica, is just down the road from our hotel, La Cascada Hotel.

Traveling Gingerbread Note: We recommend starting this hike early in the morning, bringing water, and wearing sweat wicking clothing and water shoes. The temperatures climb quickly and the hike is challenging in areas. 

  • Montezuma Falls consists of 3 separate waterfalls. The first waterfall is the tallest and is reached by hiking up the river, according to locals, for about 20 minutes. We quickly learn in Costa Rica, 20 minutes is the estimated time for almost everything and rarely accurate. The path to the second and third waterfalls begins by climbing up an extremely steep bank with the assistance of tree roots. 
montezuma land crab
Red land crabs can be seen scurrying across beaches, roads, banks, and even bathroom floors.

beach on the walk to montezuma waterfall

  • “Guides” wearing hats displaying the handwritten word Guide on the front, offer tours near the waterfall entrance. We choose not to partake in the tour and hike to the waterfall on our own.

montezuma waterfall sign costa rica

path to the montezuma waterfall costa rica

  • A fallen sign for a Free Waterfall marks the beginning of the trail to Montezuma Waterfall. The path to the waterfall stops abruptly at the river, requiring us to use rocks as stepping stones to continue upstream. The large, slippery rocks jutting out from the murky water become scarce making it difficult in some areas.

mitch and i at montezuma waterfall costa rica

river to montezuma waterfall costa rica

  • Be extremely cautious of feet and hand placements. Lines of large, red ants march along the branches and lizards bask in the small patches of sunlight. Thick, intertwined tree roots cover the banks making steady foot placements difficult.

hiking up the river in montezuma

montezuma waterfall hike montezuma

  • Only when necessary, we carefully place our hands on rocks or vines. Taking a step, Stephanie slips and grabs a vine to prevent from falling into the murky water. We hold our breath as the tree slowly becomes still again and let out a sigh of relief no sleeping reptiles were disturbed.
Crossing the river at Montezuma Waterfall
As the bank grows steeper, a thinning nylon rope assists us in continuing our climb upstream.

Montezuma Waterfall in Montezuma

  • At last, we reach the first of the 3 waterfalls. Seeing the color of the water we opt not to swim, but many visitors splash around in the chilly water. 
  • Midway through our return hike, we hear voices above us. Carefully climbing up the steep bank, we emerge onto a small dirt path running parallel to the river. The unmarked trail we thought had ended continues after crossing the river. 

* For more information on our tour check out: G Adventures Costa Rica on a Shoestring.


April 2018

Author: The Traveling Gingerbread

The Traveling Gingerbread is a place for us to share budget travel tips for people with full time jobs, fun facts, itineraries, and where to find the best craft beer. We have been traveling together since 2013. Living and working full-time in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we travel as much as our vacation days and finances allow. We cram each adventure with activities, tours, experiences, and local breweries. We can't walk by an Irish pub without stopping in for a pint of Guinness. In 2019, we brewed our first beer and were hooked, although, we have no intentions of brewing more than small batches. We'll continue our self appointed roles of professional testers and creating craft beer trails.

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