When our clients come to Dominical to look at properties for sale in Southern Costa Rica, they are also usually looking for things to do in the area. Nauyaca Waterfall is one of the best, and well worth the trip. Not only are there two falls stacked one on the other, but beneath the lower falls there is a huge natural swimming pool filled with water that is cool enough to be refreshing, without being cold.
The entrance to the road leading to the falls is just 10 minutes from Dominical by car, right on the highway leading from Dominical to San Isidro. You can easily drive in your rented car, take a taxi, catch the bus at just the right time, or join a tour group.
If you drive yourself, just head up highway 243 to San Isidro and in about 10 minutes watch for the office on the right. If you’re paying attention, you cannot miss it – there is a big, bright sign over the office.
If you want to join a tour, there are any number of offices in Dominical that will be happy to help you. One is the Dominical Info Center. To get to it, once you enter Dominical, turn left at the T and look for it on the right.
Catching a bus is tricky because they don’t adhere to a strict schedule and a return bus might not be timed right for you. Check bus schedules at the info center or ask someone when the bus goes from Dominical to San Isidro.
However you get to the office you’ll have to pay an entrance fee of about $10.00 and get a wristband. Then there are several ways to get to the falls, which are a little under 3 miles away: Hike, ride in the back of a stake bed truck or ride a horse.
The truck and the horse rides require a reservation and have fixed departure times. Hiking offers the most flexibility if you are in shape for it. If you’re in your own car, your best bet is to park it in the secure parking area down the hill from the office. That also gives a bit of a head start on the trail if you’re going to be hiking.
If you are with a tour group and they are hiking, the tour company may be able to get you even closer before you start hiking.
The hike is beautiful, with the river below you on one side and forested hills all around. Just keep in mind that there are some steep climbs as you go upriver to the falls. Young children will almost certainly be clamoring to be carried, and you’ll be sweating. Take plenty of water, allow plenty of time, and enjoy it as part of the experience. An adult starting at the parking lot, walking a steady pace and not needing to stop for rest breaks can do it in something like 45 – 60 minutes.
When you arrive at the falls, you can choose the upper ones or the lower ones, and if you have enough time you can do both. The big difference is that the lower set offers a gigantic natural pool where you can swim right up to the cascading water, as well as climb up on the rocks and jump off into the pool. It’s beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.
They recommend you not climb on the rocks without there being an employee there to help you.
Company guides will set up a rope you can use for stability while climbing, and a guide can help you with foot placement in places where you can’t see because the water is cascading all around you. If you take the plunge, make sure you have a photographer because it makes for gorgeous pictures.
Depending on when you go, there could be a lot of other people there. Don’t worry: it would be hard to diminish the setting and beauty of Nauyaca. Plan to enjoy it however you get there, with whomever you meet there.
For more information about costs and reservations, here is the place to start:
http://nauyacawaterfallscostarica.com/ If you want a tour company to arrange it for you, they will do so for the same published prices, and they get paid from a commission for setting it all up.