Many of Costa Rica’s natural wonders are hidden among remote tangles of jungle or at the end of long dirt roads. But sometimes these magnificent attractions are sitting right in front of us. Such is the case with Los Chorros Waterfalls. This pair of gushing waterfalls is located just 15 minutes from the busy Central Valley town of Grecia and only 30 minutes from the international airport near San Jose. In this post, we’ll give you all the details you need to find and enjoy this local favorite.
About Los Chorros Waterfalls
Los Chorros Waterfalls are located between the small towns of Chilamate and Tacares, just southeast of Grecia. They sit in the Los Chorros Municipal Recreation Park (Parque Recreativo Municipal Los Chorros). This park protects a sizable swath of jungle in what is otherwise an area full of farm fields and pastures. It also serves as an important drinking water source for nearby towns like Atenas.
Translating to “the Jets,” Los Chorros gets its name from the many small but strong streams of water that pour from the hillside and rocks. The pipes that carry this naturally pressurized water to neighboring towns can be seen along the trail, but the real attraction here are the waterfalls.
There are two large waterfalls, Catarata Zamora and Catarata Prendas. During our visit, we were able to reach only the first one, Zamora. This magnificent cascade hurls water from about 40 meters (130 feet) above into the pool in front of you. The power is so forceful that a misty breeze hits you right in the face when you approach. Normally a short hike along the riverbed brings you to Catarata Prendas, a similar sized fall, but the water level was too high when we visited to pass safely.
Getting to the Waterfalls
Accessing the first waterfall is an easy 15-20 minute hike. At the main road there is a parking area ($4) where an attendant will show you which way to go. You will descend a steep, but well maintained, private dirt road and have to walk for about 5-10 minutes before you see the actual trailhead on the left (marked with a small sign). From there, the trail is fairly flat, meandering through a cut field and into the thick jungle.
Once you enter the jungle, another attendant will collect the park fee ($6 foreigners, ₡2,000 residents). The trail continues on relatively flat but can get slippery because of rocks and tree roots. There are also a few muddy steps along the way, but nothing too difficult. After another 5 minutes or so, you will see the river on your right and the trail will open into a picnic area.
A Great Place to Picnic
Weekends and holidays are a time when family and friends get together in Costa Rica. Often, that means bringing the gathering to a place like Los Chorros Waterfalls. Shortly before the first waterfall, there is a large semi-cleared area with a dozen or so picnic tables. The nearby pool that forms in front of the Zamora fall is great for wading and the banks of the stream is a favorite place for kids to explore. There is even a small hanging bridge over the river and some very basic bathroom facilities and changing rooms. Locals are known to hang out in spots like this for most of the day, especially on weekends. They bring along everything from coolers and fold out tables to chairs and hammocks.
Although you could easily visit in about an hour, we recommend hanging out like the locals and enjoying the sheer beauty of the waterfall and surrounding forest.
Directions to Los Chorros Waterfalls
The easiest way to find Los Chorros Waterfalls is from the town of Tacares. From Route 118, turn onto Route 722 (near the church) going east into Tacares. At the next intersection (grocery store on your left), continue on the road that goes up the hill, keeping the grocery store on your left. Follow this road for about 5 minutes, passing some sugar cane fields. At the crest of the next hill, right as the road curves sharply to the left, there is a parking area on the right hand side. Park in the field and ask the attendant to point you in the direction of the trail.
What to Bring
- Bathing Suit & Towel
- Insect Repellant
- Sturdy Shoes
- Picnic Lunch
The Chorros Waterfalls are one of Costa Rica’s easiest to access falls. We really enjoyed spending some time at the waterfalls with the locals and can’t wait to go back to see the second waterfall that we missed.
Have you experienced “the Jets” near Grecia? Let us know about your visit below.
Looking for more info on this area of Costa Rica? Check out these posts:
- How to Spend 1 or 2 Days in San Jose: Our guide to some of the best activities downtown as well as some great hotel and restaurant recommendations.
- A Classic Coffee Tour at Café Britt: A fun activity near the airport that will teach you a bit about Costa Rica’s rich coffee history.