Honeymooning in Costa Rica – Day 3 La Fortuna Waterfalls

This was our first day in weeks that we were both able to sleep in and have a slow morning together. We made rice, beans, eggs, chorizo and coffee that we bought at the market around the corner from our Airbnb. The patio is shaded and our yard, measuring about 12′ x 8′, is full of tropical flowers and plants.  By the time we finished breakfast, dishes and packing the afternoon rain came in, but we packed for rain and figured it may drive some of the tourist away.

About 5 km from our apartment is the trailhead to La Fortuna Waterfalls. Entrance fee is $15 USD per person. The trails is about 500 steps down a steep gully. Below the metal and concrete steps you can see the previous trail that had mostly been washed away. It is now in very good condition and suitable for almost any fitness level to complete. At the bottom of the stairs is the base of the 75 meter falls. Since it had just rained 30 minutes ago the falls were flowing hard. There are two areas to swim, one at the base of the falls and one 30 meters down stream. Right when we arrived the one park ranger was blowing a whistle and motioning for everyone to get away from the falls. “Inundation repentina” or flash flood. Another fall to the right had started to form and the water was turning brown. Luckily that only lasted a few minutes and the second “fall” slowed down. It’s a good reminder of how quickly conditions can change, especially after the storm has passed.


We waded in the river further downstream and talked to a couple from Pennsylvania on their way to the Atlantic coast to see sea turtles hatching. I did a tour like this with my parents almost 20 years ago when I was a little kid! After a good hour exploring it was getting late so we decided even though we packed headlamps we’ll wait to use them until we have to and started the stair climb back to the trailhead in our swim suits. At the top of the stairs there is a side trail to an orchid garden. Most of the orchids were not in bloom which was sad because we have both recently started our own orchid collection back home in our bathroom and have become extremely fascinated with huge variety of this species. Along the walk there are hundreds of orchids attached to the trees with twine covered in moss. There were a few bloom and plenty of other plants that looked like they were from a Dr Seuss book, like the Beehive Ginger and the Spider Flower.

The shops at the trailhead and along the road are probably over priced and I often question the authenticity of “souvenirs”. We did decide to stop at a shop that sold hammocks and hammock chairs. The owner Daneiel  is about as authentic as it gets and makes all of his chairs out of recycled fabrics that he gets from different families around the country.  He was funny, sociable and spiritual. Chelsey spoke to him in Spanish and I played guitar with him while he played the flute. Even though there was a language barrier between the two of us we all were able to communicate. Chairs here are 20,000 colones or about $35 USD.  We bought two for 35,000 colones and headed back to town.