Catarata del Toro is a seriously impressive waterfall located in the Alajuela Province of Costa Rica. We had heard great things about this waterfall, but we hadn’t expected what ended up being in store for us. Besides seeing this impressive waterfall we were also able to visit a beautiful blue river with small waterfalls that we could swim under. This was located on the same property as Catarat de Toro. It was so cool! This is the perfect day trip option while you are in the San Jose or Central Valley area of Costa Rica.
Ready to find out how to plan the perfect visit to Catarata del Toro? Let’s get to it!
Important Info About Catarata del Toro
Things to see
Besides hiking to the waterfall you can also walk through the nice gardens on the property. Also, the owners of the waterfall recently discovered they have a bright blue river with several small waterfalls on their property. They had no idea until they hired somebody with a drone to fly over their land.
This bright blue river is also open for visitors to tour. However, because this is a relatively recent discovery you cannot yet access all of the small waterfalls. They are working on creating paths for visitors to visit more spots. As of now, you can visit one nice falls and a few smalls falls with pools. Later on in this post, we will get into our experience visiting both the waterfall and blue river so you can get a better idea of what to expect.
They also offer waterfall rappeling depending on the season and weather. You can find more about rappeling here.
Monday – Saturday 7:00am – 5:00pm
Note: They are closed on Sunday
If you would like to add on a visit to the Blue Falls the total cost for Catarata del Toro and the Blue Falls is $25 for adults.
If you book your tickets online directly through their website you will save 15% off of the usual ticket cost. Yeay to saving money!
We had no problem finding Catarata del Toro using Waze. We just typed in “Catarata del Toro” and we were good to go! You will also have no problem a GPS unit or Google Maps.
Just be warned that the drive to the waterfall is very curvy in spots. I get bad carsickness and I definitely was having a rough time.
Also, there are a lot of random potholes in the roads near the waterfall. Just keep an eye out for them.
If you are coming from the airport or San Jose area it will take you about two hours to drive here.
There is a large parking lot that is free for you to use. There is always somebody keeping an eye on the parking lot, but we still suggest not leaving anything of value in your car.
There is a restaurant at the visitors center area. They serve lunch and snacks throughout the day. There are also restrooms for men and women located next to the restaurant.
What to Wear
It was a bit chilly when we were visiting the waterfall and I think that is somewhat normal for this area.
I wore workout pants, a tank top, and sneakers. I also brought a long sleeve shirt and my rain jacket.
Thomas wore sport shorts, a tshirt, and sneakers. He also brought his rain jacket for the walk.
We both regret not wearing Keen’s. They would have been much better for the blue river. Instead, we ended up walking through the river in our sneakers.
What to Bring
I felt like we were fully prepared for the experience with what we packed. Here is what we brought….
– Bathing suits (we changed after hiking the waterfall and before we went to the blue river so we could swim if we wanted to).
– Microfiber towels (these are our absolute favorite towels because they dry fast and roll up much smaller than normal towels)
– Lot’s of water
– Rain jackets (it rains a lot in this area)
– Flip flops (it was nice to get out of our wet shoes and put on flip flops after our experience)
Our Experience Visiting Catarata del Toro
We planned our trip to Catarata del Toro on a Wednesday with plans to visit on Saturday. Yes, we are a bit last minute. I contacted the owners of the waterfall to see if they had any available rooms for us to stay in, but they were already booked out for the weekend. Instead I opted to book a nearby Airbnb.
If you are in the San Jose or Alajuela area it is possible to visit Catarata del Toro as a day trip, but we wanted to make a weekend of it.
Anyway, we arrived to the waterfall around 11 am on Saturday morning. The owner was the one selling tickets at the front and he was very nice and helpful. He suggested that we walk to the waterfall first and then explore the gardens on the property after.
The walk to the waterfall consists of a well-maintained gravel path followed by about 200 steps down to the base of the falls. There are several lookout points and benches to stop at along the way.
The waterfall was certainly impressive. We spent about twenty minutes at the base of the falls. We had a snack, refueled on water, and took some time to fly the drone. There were about eight other people there while we were at the base of the falls and this was on a Saturday around midday. I think it tends to not get so filled with people here.
After our brief break, we made our way back up. Ugh! The stairs were a bit rough! I was feeling a bit out of shape that week, but those 200 steps wore me out!
We then took a short walk through the gardens before returning to the ticketing office.
We figured that while we were there we had to get the full experience and visit the Blue Falls. We paid for the Blue Falls, changed into our bathing suits and walked with the owner and one other visitor down the street to the entrance to the river.
I’ve got to warn you all. This walk was muddy! They are working on building a rock walkway, but it was bit difficult to walk on in spots.
There are walking sticks located near the start of your walk and I highly suggest grabbing one. It saved me from falling a few times further into the walk.
Anyway, after walking a bit we met up with a guide. He didn’t speak any English, but we were able to communicate with our poor Spanish.
The guide led us to the most impressive waterfall first. We were able to walk through the blue river right up to the base of the falls.
We then walked further down to another blue pool were we could swim. The water was cold, but it was still refreshing.
The rocks in the river were obviousl wet and very slippery. This was when I was thankful for the walking stick. Our guide helped us, but I still almost fell a few times.
We then walked back to the parking lot, changed into dry clothes, and headed out.
In total, we spent a little over four hours here and that was without taking any lunch breaks. You could easily spend a full day here if you grab lunch at their restaurant.
Overall it was a great experience that we highly recommend.
Our Tips for Visiting Catarata del Toro
– Don’t forget to book online to save yourself some money!
– You can not swim under Catarata del Toro, but don’t forget to pack your swim stuff for the blue river.
– Try to arrive early in the day so you have plenty of time to check out Catarata del Toro and the Blue Falls.
– If you’d like to stay nearby, email the owners of Catarata del Toro. They have three hotel rooms available to guests. Two of the rooms are $65 per night for two adults and one room is $80 per night for two adults. It is actually a great deal because it includes breakfast and admission to both Catarata del Toro and the Blue Falls for both guests. Plus, if you stay on Saturday night you have access to the falls on Sunday morning while it is closed to all other visitors.
What to Do After Visiting Catarata del Toro
We ended up spending so much time at Catarata del Toro that we didn’t end have time to explore the nearby area. However, we talked to some people who live in the area and tried to get the inside scoop on what to do nearby.
This area is filled with waterfalls and access to the bright blue river. Another popular spot just down the street from Catarata del Toro waterfall is Catarata Rio Agrio. Catarata Rio Agrio does not have a website, but you can check out their Facebook page.
If you would like to get some lunch, there is a trucha just down the street called Pescas de truchas Nene. We talk about truchas a lot on this site, but if you don’t know, a trucha is a place that has a small man-made pond stocked with trout. Upon arriving you will be given a line with a piece of bate on the end. Once you catch a trout you can head into the restaurant. For about $10 they will cook up your fish for you with a few different side dishes. It’s fun and a totally unique experience.
If you are driving back to San Jose or Alajuela, definitely make a stop in the small towns of Sarchi and Grecia. Sarchi is known for its beautiful wooden furniture making as well as being home to their beautiful painted ox carts which are used all over the country.
Poas Volcano is located about 1.5 hours from Catarata del Toro. You could visit Poas early in the morning and then head to the waterfall if you don’t mind the drive.
We hope this helped you to plan your trip to Catarata del Toro. If you have any questions please leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out! Also, if you visit this waterfall let us know about your experience. We’d love to know how you liked it!
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