Costa Rica is a country with immense diversity, and while it is indeed a tropical paradise filled with lush jungles, misty rainforests, and sparkling beaches, there is also part of the country with a hot, dry, arid climate. Within those desert-like conditions, it's hard to believe that a spectacular waterfall could survive year-round, but there is one that does, and it's called Llanos de Cortez.
While it's a bit tricky to locate if you're not paying attention, it's easy to get to on a dusty, bumpy, dirt road. Once there, the sound of the waterfall fills the air with anticipation, and it's only a short three-minute walk down a steep embankment before it suddenly appears.
Standing sixty-feet tall and plunging into a shallow pool below, the waterfall is nearly as wide as it is tall. Defying the region's dryness, lush vegetation and flowers surround the falls - accentuating the cascade with rich colors - and after shooting for a couple hours in the high temperatures, you'll find the golden-green pool to be a welcome refreshment.
Llanos de Cortez provides countless photo opportunities and a little exploration and creativity produces fantastic results.
Most people don't realize that the top of the falls provides another vista and is accessible by venturing through an old barbed-wire fence and following an ever-so-slight grassy trail.
After shooting and swimming you'll be hot and tired, so it's worth noting that parking lot vendors sell ice-cold coconuts, skillfully opened with large machetes, allowing you to indulge in the sweet, revitalizing water. When finished, the vendor will cut out the pulp from the coconut, providing you with a great snack. This Costa Rican treat is highly-recommended.
You can explore Llanos de Cortez on two of our Costa Rica photo tours: the 9-day, 8-night, Costa Rica Amazing Waterfalls and 12-day, 11-night, Best Waterfalls In Costa Rica photo tours. Click the links above for each itinerary and take advantage of the big-time discounts by registering early.
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Tucked away in a misty cloud forest in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, Bajos del Toro is a small, isolated community surrounded by verdant farmland, rolling hills, and dozens of spectacular waterfalls. Most people venture to Bajos del Toro for the towering 300’ waterfall of the same name, but what they often fail to discover is the incredible dual waterfalls called Las Gemelas, which means “The Twins."