Pozas La Presa: Waterfalls and Swimming Holes Near Bajos del Toro

The Bajos del Toro area has some of Costa Rica’s most magical waterfalls. While many are hidden deep in the rainforest, Pozas La Presa are much more accessible. This set of swimming holes and small waterfalls offers a relaxing day in a peaceful, beautiful setting. In this post, we’ll tell you about visiting Pozas La Presa. We’ll cover getting there, trail conditions, cost, and what the property is like.

Walkway o\Over River Pozas La Presa

Location and Background

Pozas La Presa are located in the village of Colonial del Toro, a little north of Bajos del Toro. This region is in the mountains, about 2 hours north of San Jose. It is known for its many spectacular waterfalls.

Because of its proximity to San Jose, Pozas La Presa is popular with locals, especially on weekends. Since it is not a big attraction like some other waterfalls in the area like Catarata del Toro or the Blue Falls, Pozas La Presa is seldom busy.

It has a very authentic feel. A modest sign on the main road tells you where to turn. As you drive along the rough dirt road, you’ll pass a working farm, complete with pigs, cows, and chickens. You may even find yourself surrounded by a herd of cattle like we did!

Cows in road Costa Rica
Cattle crossing

Once you arrive at the property, you’ll come to a charming wooden structure. This is the small restaurant where you will buy tickets.

The Trail at Pozas La Presa

After checking in, you’ll cross an Indiana Jones-style hanging bridge to begin your hike. For those wanting to skip the bridge, there is another trail you can use from the restaurant that connects to the main trail.

Hanging Bridge
This hanging bridge starts the trail

On the other side, a narrow spiral staircase takes you from the bridge down to solid ground. From there, you’ll enter the trail, marked by a Costa Rican flag. It’s a fairly easy hike from here.

The one-kilometer (0.6 mile) path is dirt and mostly flat. There are a few rustic, uneven stairs to go over, but nothing too strenuous. Lush, dense rainforest will surround you. This area receives a lot of rainfall year-round so many of the plants and trees are covered in moss and lichen.

Trail Conditions Pozas La Presa
A rustic staircase on the first part of the trail

You’ll arrive at the riverbed in a few minutes. The river has crystal clear water with a greenish hue.

River Pozas La Presa
The tranquil river

Large Pool with Waterfalls

Just past the river, you’ll come to a set of walkways that goes over the water. They have been working on improving this part of the property. The wooden walkways have handrails but still have a lot of gaps and some slippery spots. If you have small children, be sure to keep a close eye on them.

These walkways take you up over the main pool (see cover photo, above), with a few different small waterfalls all around. We have heard of people jumping in from one part of this area but did not try it ourselves. If you want to, always watch someone else first to make sure you know where to jump safely.

Pools Pozas La Presa
One section of the pool below the wooden walkway

Other Waterfalls

After the walkways, you’ll get back on the regular dirt trail. This leads to a few more waterfalls. These are harder to get to so if you have any problems with mobility, it’s best to stay and enjoy the river and main set of waterfalls.

First Waterfall

The first waterfall is marked by another flag on the left. Some rustic dirt steps take you down to the small cascade.

Waterfall
The first small waterfall

Second Waterfall

In another few minutes, you’ll come to a side trail leading to the second waterfall, Cascada Capuchino (Capuchin Waterfall). This was the prettiest of the three other waterfalls in our opinion.

This trail has a short set of steep, rustic concrete steps.

At the bottom, you’ll see the nine-meter (29.5-foot) waterfall. The water flows down a wide rock into a 2.5 meter (8.2 foot) deep pool. The lush tropical surroundings make for beautiful scenery. Cascada Capuchino is a great place for swimming, as the water is usually calm.

Cascada Capuchino
Cascada Capuchino

Third Waterfall

The last waterfall is much harder to access. At the time of our visit (April 2022), it was practically a scramble to get down the steep, muddy trail. There are some ropes to help in the steepest parts. Once you do get down, the waterfall is far away. You’ll need to climb over some large slippery boulders in the riverbed to see it. We would recommend skipping this one until access is improved.

Visiting Pozas La Presa

Hours

Pozas La Presa is a small, family-run business.

For visits during the week (Monday through Friday), contact them in advance through their Facebook page or by WhatsApp at (506) 8561-7211.

On weekends, they are open from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Prior reservations are not needed during this time.

Cost

3,500 colones (about $5) for adults

2,000 colones (about $3) for children

Restaurant

You can have them make lunch or dinner for you after your hike. They serve traditional casados (lunch plates with chicken, beef, or fish served alongside rice and beans, side salads, and plantains), rice dishes, and also have traditional snacks like salchipapas (French fries with hot dogs) and vigorones (yucca with pork and cabbage slaw).

We didn’t get lunch but saw (and smelled) other people eating, and it looked great.

Packages are available that include entrance and lunch for 7,000 colones (about $10.50). You also can just order food separately.

Restaurant
The restaurant and reception area

Picnic Areas

During our visit, there were a few small groups picnicking along the river and near the base of the second waterfall. The wider, calmer river has some nice flat spots and a couple of picnic tables.

Access

Pozas La Presa is 900 meters (0.5 miles) off the main road. Although the road is dirt, you do not need a 4×4 vehicle.

Here is a link to the location on Google Maps

Conclusion

Pozas La Presa is a laid back, fun activity in the Bajos del Toro area. The property is much more accessible than many of the other waterfalls around, making it a great option for families or anyone looking for an easy way to get a jungle-waterfall experience.

Have a question about visiting Pozas La Presa? Ask us below.

Looking for more things to do in the area? Check out these posts:

Catarata del Toro: You have to walk down a lot of steps to get to this mighty waterfall, but it’s well worth the effort.

Rio Agrio Waterfall: This property has a huge waterfall, blue pools, and a dinosaur park with lifelike prehistoric creatures!

La Paz Waterfall Gardens: This nicely done wildlife sanctuary lets you see animals close up and has some trails to see more waterfalls.

Bajos del Toro: Costa Rica’s Land of Waterfalls – Read our full destination guide for more tips and hotel and restaurant recommendations.

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9 Comments

  1. Thanks for continuing your coverage of Bajos del Toro! It is obviously the area of Costa Rica with the most waterfalls, over 31 someone told me, and this one you covered today, Pozas La Presas, is one I haven’t seen yet and definitely will go to it the next time I stay at El Silencio Lodge at Bajos del Toro, one of my favorite lodges in Costa Rica! And by the way, they accept “day visitors” if you cannot stay there as a somewhat pricey place. They have 3 very large and high waterfalls which you can easily hike to with children and each one is a great waterfall, competitive to the many commercial waterfalls in the area. I encourage you to check them out on one of your visits there!

    And congratulations on your 9th anniversary of living in Costa Rica! And what a wonderful place to raise your children! On December 24 I will celebrate my 8th anniversary of living here in the little coffee farming town of Atenas, Alajuela Prov. I ‘m 82 years old and have also been traveling around Costa Rica to about one place each month and starting to return to favorites, with birding an earlier motivator but now focusing on all nature that I report on in my blog called “Retired in Costa Rica” at https://www.charliedoggett.net/blog/

    Keep up the good travels and good reporting! I love following your adventures and wish I could have raised my children the way you are yours! ¡Pura vida!

    1. Hi Charlie, That’s good to know that El Silencio Lodge allows day visitors. We actually tried to go for dinner one night but were told that the restaurant was for hotel guests only. Must be a dinner thing. Thanks for the tip.

      Congrats on your own eight years! Atenas is a great little town. We need to get back there. We’ll check out your blog; thanks for sharing. Pura vida!

  2. Good morning from Boston! I have been following your journey from the beginning! I am with you on the…Can not believe it has been nine years! My wife and I bought in Costa Rica 11 years ago? We still have not made the jump? 2025 is when we are shooting for? I hope our paths cross someday so as I can tell you how much fun it’s been following your beautiful families journey! Till then continued success and of course Pura Vida!

    1. Thanks so much Peter for the kind words! How wonderful that you have been following us since the beginning. Hope you get here soon…2025 is coming up! Pura vida!

  3. Another long-time reader, I am planning our sixth (!) trip to Costa Rica, and had allotted only a day trip to Bajos del Toro, but this series has made me think we could spend a week in this area and never get bored. Where did you stay when you visited all these locations in this area? Do you have any other recommendations for lodging on a small or moderate budget? Thank you and keep the posts coming!

    1. Hi Margie, We’re going to be coming out with an article this week that will answer this for you. It’ll be a destination guide to Bajos del Toro so will include hotel recommendations. We actually stayed in an Airbnb, which is another option. Lots of good budget options for you…hang tight!

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