Waterfall: Catarata Diamante

(Not in the mood to read? Scroll to the bottom of this page for the photos!)

How to schedule a trip: Contact Pacific Journeys and try to set up the best dates for your adventure.

Full Directions to Pacific Journeys directly from Casa Armonía

What to bring:  These types of list can kind of drag on a bit too long at times.  At this point in life, everyone should know themselves well enough to know what you need to bring to be happy and comfortable in whatever environment you find yourself, depending on your own hobbies, interests, etc…    This being said, the following list of items are advisable to bring for this trip.

  • Lightweight day pack for entire (or vast majority) of your gear assemblage
  • Good Shoes for Hiking
    • You do not need actual hiking boots, which many people do not even bring to Costa Rica simply due to the weight and bulk.  The many available options of sturdy and reliable cross breeds of sports sandals and hiking shoes will fill this role well.  This author prefers the Keen Newport H2, but you go with what works for you.  Something with a closed toe is recommended. 
  • Quick-Dry clothing
    • Shorts
    • Bathing suits
    • Shirts
  • A towel
  • Lightweight Pajamas (long-sleeve shirt)
    • Seriously, you will not regret carrying these seemingly extra things.  It will not seem logical to carry along the extra weight, as Costa Rica is an equatorial climate, which is typically hot.  But it does get a bit chilly at night sleeping behind the waterfall. 
  • Water Bottle –will need to be refilled often during the trip up then for the descent back down to the office base camp.
  • Water shoes (light weight)
    • Cannot stress enough how nice it is to be jumping around streams and rivulets and such and wading in water pools and not hurting the bottom of the feet.

Other Suggestions to bring, but not necessary.  Safe to say that you are going to get bored a bit later.  Just a few suggestions of “small” things to bring with you to enjoy the down time during the evening hours.

  • Deck of cards
  • Small traveler-set board games like Chess, Checkers, Backgammon
  • A book

*Though technically prohibited, it would also be good idea to bring a small bottle or flask of wine or other nice alcoholic beverage to better enjoy the evening hours 😉😉.

I think that it’s now fair to say that Catarata Diamante is one of our favorite waterfall sites in Costa Rica.  Getting to this location from Casa Armonía is straight forward.  Leaving the property and heading down the mountain slope to the main road below, turn left once you reach the main road.  Upon turning left, you immediately cross a small single lane WWII era Bailey Bridge.  You are heading in the correct direction. 

The road signs will begin to list some of the upcoming towns along the way – such as Platanillo, Tinamaste, and way down the road is the largest city in the region, San Isidro El General.  You will not be driving that far though.  The trip from the property to the Office site for Pacific Journeys will take about half an hour.

Upon arriving at the office site location, someone from Pacific Journeys will help you to park your vehicle and then momentarily the climb upward will begin.  The guide for our first adventure to Diamante was Diego.  The initial assent begins with a walk up a wide grassy trail for 5 minutes or so, then the first encounter with the stairs. At some point during this trip Diego mentioned that we had to climb something like 2,000+ stairs in total.  Each stair is constructed of a slat of wood that traps within its confines a mixture of rocks and mud.  That is the step.  That is literally all there is to it.  Repeat same construction…. and on and on these go seemingly forever.  Though the construction is simple enough, these stairs are engineering beauty and impressive to gaze at, whether it is in front of you going upward or looking back.  Maybe it was the effects of the heat for this author’s experience, but it can be safely assumed that many hikers begin to see something like Escher inspired stairs while hiking to Diamante.

After a walk of 2 Kilometers, duration of about 1.5 to 2 hours or so, you will arrive at a large clearing that is a well-maintained garden.  This garden is truly a beautiful and tranquil place, and yet with all that beauty this garden also serves as a primary logistics facility by growing much of the food that is consumed by both guests and guides while staying at Diamante.   Any food that is not grown at this location must be brought up the slopes by horses.  Every traveler seems to have their own impressions and unique experiences with this garden. Mostly comes down to what is tasted, eaten, or just discussed with whomever is the guide for that day.  For our trip, the memorable moments were learning from Diego that the Vanilla plants had to be pollinated by human hand and foolishly eating turmeric roots as if these were just regular carrots, and then suffering the effects of a clownish-orange mouth and tongue for several hours afterward.

Leaving the garden and continuing the hike, after a few minutes you will encounter a series of the same stairs that head downwards.  The waterfall is getting close now.   After a walk of 15 minutes or so, the waterfall and Cave entrance is in front of you.  You will then walk up a stone pathway to the “entrance” behind the waterfall.  What a great experience to see this for the first time!  The cave is really a large rock overhang, the falls being directly above.  The bedding is basic and spartan, but adequate and comfortable.  It is a communal setting so you will be sleeping relatively close to others.  Our hosts provided everyone with a very lightweight sleeping bag.  This works, but if you brought your pajamas, you will be sleeping much more comfortably.  From the cave base site, there are several other falls that can be visited by either traveling up or down.  Lots of great options.  All of the paths are well maintained whichever way you choose to go.  The same steepness of slope continues, but the rewards of visiting these many different waterfalls and pools makes these micro adventures very much worth it. 

Pacific Journeys does a great job for meal preparations – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. All of the food was vegetarian, except for some eggs that were served with breakfast. 

The shower facilities are great.  It is a cave, and you will be surrounded by rocks while showering, and rumor has it that the water is really cold.   You will be clean and refreshed after showering.

The toilet facilities are also great.  How does one describe a toilet facility in a serious clinical manner?  Well, there are two flush toilets.  One is located in the cave near the showers and another is located on a pathway maybe 100 meters from the cave.  These facilities are clean, well-maintained and the water pressure is impressive.  So, there it is.  You will have to figure the rest out for yourself.

The experience of this trip in totality is far more than just visiting a waterfall, or several linked waterfalls in this case.  The natural environment of this rain forest ecosystem contains an abundance of wildlife (lots of tropical birds), and trees and plant life.  The complexity and scale of some of the vines is really indescribable and just never ceased to be awe-inspiring.  Simply stated, the trip going to or leaving from Diamante is every bit as great as the destination itself. 

While putting this page together for Casa Armonía, several other cool websites were discovered while Googling around that provided valuable insight that assisted immensely with this writing project.  So, for truly outstanding work, we must give grateful shout outs to twoweeksincostarica.com and Que Buen Lugar.  Your websites are awesome!  Please check out these sites and read about the experiences of other travelers to Diamante Waterfall.  Thank you.