Waterfall: Catarata Uvita

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

What to Bring: Bathing suit, towel, water shoes

Directions (from Casa Armonia to Catarata Uvita)

For the experienced CR traveler, the “Catarata Uvita” is nothing too impressive and is rather mundane by comparison to other waterfalls that can be visited in Costa Rica.  Nonetheless, the Uvita Waterfall has a lot to offer. 

During a visit to Uvita and the National Park Beach (something that everyone should do many times), it can get hot early in the day.  To take a break from the beach and the sun, a visit to the Uvita waterfall is the perfect escape.  The waterfall is not far from the beach or the town center.

The entrance fee to the site is 2,000 Colones ($3.25 USD) per person.  That is a remarkably good price to pay for an entrance fee.  There are parking spaces in front of the main building with the restaurant and gift shop, but there is also parking on the road.  Sometimes the place fills up with all sorts of people. 

There is a butterfly house on the property.  This netted up facility is a really nice place with a nice garden that is well-maintained.  There are all sorts of butterflies moving here and there around the enclosed netted garden.  That is pretty much it.

It does not take long to walk through the butterfly garden.  I think most people are good for about 5 minutes then it’s really time to keep moving.  The trails to the cascades are not long or arduous, but one should be continuously cautious as these trails are always wet, with lots of slippery rocks and mud and such. 

As you start moving along the trails you will encounter a metal span bridge that skirts along the edge of one of the larger water pools.  This pool has a depth of maybe 10 feet to 12 feet.  The bridge has a ledge cut-out for those that want to jump, perhaps a ten-foot drop.  This first pool of water is a refreshing experience.  The there is also small spillway of water that maybe has 4 to 6 feet elevation above the waterline.  Makes for a wonderful back massage and jungle shower experience.

Continuing to walk along the trail will bring you to the main waterfall.  This fall also functions as a waterfall slide.  My first experience at this waterfall was being by myself one early morning, then increasingly new travelers showed up until there was a large group of maybe 30 people or so.  A mixture of locals and 2019 Envision travelers.  What I originally thought was just a beautiful and tranquil waterfall in the jungle suddenly transformed into something else.  There was another side trail that leads up to the top of the main cascade.  People were walking up this trail to the top of the waterfall, then sitting down in the water flow at the top of the falls and then sliding down into the pool below, a drop of maybe 25 feet.  All sorts of people had the courage to slide this day.  I even watched a few young American pre-teens do this with their parents.  Even saw some guy go down the slide face first.  Absolutely crazy to watch that.  There are apparently no jagged edges on the water slide, so nothing to worry about.  Right….

Sometime during the past year as was learned during a recent trip in January of 2021, there is a now a steel ladder that one can climb from the water pool below back up the top to slide again. 

So how can the Catarata Uvita be both mundane and unimpressive (only in comparison to other Costa Rica destinations) and yet still be a great place to visit?  Several things come to mind.

  • The Catarata and all of the smaller pools and cascades are all unique and beautiful and the water is cool and refreshing
  • The entrance fee is nicely priced at 2,000 Colones per person.
  • The trip from town to the waterfall is very fast.  You will not be driving more than 5 minutes or so from BCR on the corner of Highway 34.
  • It really is refreshing and soul-replenishing to be under the tree canopy and not directly exposed to the blazing sun just a few hundreds of meters away at the coastal plane. 
  • It is incredibly time-effective to visit the waterfall if you happen to need to stay in Uvita for much of a day.  A trip to the waterfall before or after buying groceries or going to the bank or doing whatever else needs doing in Uvita is just a great thing to do that does not require a lot of advance planning.
  • This place is great for young kids and teenagers.  The teens can gravitate toward the waterslide or jumping of the sides of the cliff.  Younger kids can enjoy the pools that are not too deep and full of crystal-clear running water.

We hope you have great experiences as well at the Uvita Waterfall.

Hat tip to My Tan Feet for the great write-up about Uvita.