You Must Visit Llanos de Cortez Waterfall in Costa Rica

Llanos de Cortez waterfall is a spectacular waterfall in Costa Rica. It’s easy to access and perfect to bring kids to for playing. It’s also a great place to stop if you’re staying in Liberia, as it’s not too far. Here’s what you should know about visiting Llanos de Cortez waterfall with kids.

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Llanos de Cortez waterfall pin 1

How do you get to Llanos de Cortez Waterfall?

Llanos de Cortez is located in Bagaces. It’s a great place to stop as you are transferring from one area to another in Costa Rica. It’s also a great place to stop if you are staying in Liberia, as it’s just a half-hour drive away.

The entrance to Llanos de Cortez waterfall is not far off highway 1.


Staying in Liberia? Don’t miss a safari at the Ponderosa Adventure Park!


Specifically how to get to Llanos de Cortez

Here’s where we went wrong (and you need to make sure you don’t do the same):

We used Google for directions and for some reason, it told us to go past where we saw the first signs for the entrance.

But there were so many signs for the waterfall that we trusted Google!

We kept driving and eventually drove through a small town. That’s where the Google directions just ended and we started seeing hand-painted signs for Llanos de Cortez waterfall. We thought that was interesting, but there are definitely waterfalls on private property in Costa Rica, so we started following the hand-painted signs.

Which led us up a rocky, dirt road that we may not have been able to make it up if we didn’t have a 4×4.

And then onto a property where a guy was chasing us down to make sure we parked at his place.

We told him this didn’t seem right, but he insisted that the main entrance was closed that day. This was a second entrance and the only way to get to the waterfall.

We parked the car where he told us (no other cars were there, and it was literally just in the middle of his property). Then he told us it was only a 20 minute walk from there.

That’s where I knew there were some things amiss.

I don’t doubt that we could have accessed the waterfall from here somehow, but I really wanted the main entrance with a trail and signs. I had researched that it’s just a 5 minute walk to the waterfall. Not 20.

I’m pretty sure he just wanted us to park and pay him.

So we explained we decided not to go after all, and back down the steep, dirt road we went.

We drove back to where we originally saw signs for the waterfall (but Google had us drive past originally). That, indeed, was the main entrance.

And it was not closed.

SO…

To get to the Llanos de Cortez Waterfall, take the exit Google tells you to off highway 1.

Turn where Google tells you, but when you see THIS:

Llanos de Cortez waterfall entrance sign
Llanos de Cortez waterfall official entrance

Follow those signs! You’ll pay right there to enter, and then drive a little more to the parking lot.

Note: yes, these did look like the right entrance to us. But we were following directions, plus we didn’t see anyone here when we drove by.

Facilities at Llanos de Cortez Waterfall in Costa Rica

The parking lot is an actual dirt parking lot if you’re in the right place.

There is a bathroom with changing areas right as you enter.

As you begin the trail, you’ll also see some vendors set up in tents.

How Much is Llanos de Cortez Waterfall?

Info based off our visit in June 2022:

Kids under 6 are free to visit the waterfall. (yay!)

Older kids are $4, and adults (12+) are $7.

The pay station is located right off the main road, and they accept credit cards.

The Hike to Llanos de Cortez Waterfall

Once you are all changed into your swim suit, head to the back right of the parking lot. This is where the trail begins.

You’ll pass a few vendors at the beginning on a short stretch of trail.

Llanos de Cortez waterfall trail
Llanos de Cortez waterfall stairs

Then you’ll enter the stairs. It’s just a couple flights of stairs, and then a short (muddy!) walk to the waterfall.

The hike is less than a quarter-mile, and very doable for kids! It’s not nearly as many stairs as La Fortuna Waterfall 🙂

Llanos de Cortez waterfall girls
Llanos de Cortez waterfall shallow area

Playing at Llanos de Cortez Waterfall with Kids

There is a lot of space to play and spread out at the waterfall!

You can even go in the water and swim, though there are signs (and people) warning you not to go to far as the waterfall is strong. The ground also has a sudden drop off if you go too far.

Bring some snacks, a blanket, and enjoy a while splashing around.

Llanos de Cortez waterfall bonus waterfall

Bonus waterfall

Be sure to look to the right (if you’re facing Llanos de Cortez) for another great waterfall hidden away a little. We visited at the start of rainy season, so there was plenty of water. I’ve read that if you visit during dry season, it may not be there.

The waterfall closes at 4pm. I’ve seen some places online it says 4:30, but we were told 4 and the area was cleared out at about 4:05. So try to get there with plenty of time to spare.

Llanos de Cortez waterfall play area

Is Llanos de Cortez Waterfall Good for Kids?

Yes! It’s great for kids.

Not only is it a short walk to get there (and some stairs), but there is a nice, big shallow area that the kids can dip their feet in and play. Plus there is plenty of space to run around.

You can enjoy the great view and Llanos de Cortez Waterfall while playing with the kids in a safe area. It’s perfect for families!

Llanos de Cortez Waterfall for families

I’d love to know if you end up visiting this beautiful waterfall. It’s easy access (if you know where you’re going!), a quick hike, and a safe play area. I definitely recommend making a stop at Llanos de Cortez waterfall.

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8 thoughts on “You Must Visit Llanos de Cortez Waterfall in Costa Rica”

  1. We’ve been to Costa Rica and hope to return in the near future. I’ll add the Llanos de Cortes waterfall to our list: it looks beautiful! Thank you so much for the specific directions for getting there. We also got lost driving in Costa Rica!

  2. Waterfalls are a great place to venture with the kids. Llanos de Cortez waterfall in Costa Rica is gorgeous! Thank you for sharing.

    • Honestly I think he just wanted money for using his “parking”. He was very adamant we park there!

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