10 Things To Know Before Visiting Uvita Waterfall

The Uvita Waterfall is a popular tourist attraction in Uvita, Costa Rica. To have a fantastic experience at this landmark, you have to know what to bring, how much to budget for entrance fees, the easiest way to get there, and the ideal things to do when you get there.

Although it has been two years since I last visited Uvita Falls, it is becoming one of the most talked-about destinations in Costa Rica. 

When I was planning my trip to the waterfall, the first thing I learned was that there are two trails. One has butterflies (now closed), and they are nice to see, but this trail is very slippery and difficult to navigate. 

The other one has stairs and a platform to jump from, making it more accessible for kids and those without perfect mobility or, like me, the wrong shoes.

But it doesn’t end there. If you’re planning to visit the Uvita waterfall, there are other salient things you should know before going. That’s where this article comes in.

Read on to learn about this waterfall and the kind of experience you can expect when you visit it, either alone or with friends. 

Key Takeaways

  • Uvita waterfall directions: Catarata Uvita is just a 10-minute drive from Uvita town center and can be reached by any car. You do not need a 4×4 to get to Catarata Uvita. 
  • Is Uvita Waterfall free? Accessing Uvita Waterfall is free. However, it’s cheap. Budget at least $3 to $4 per person for the entrance fee.
  • How long is the hike to Uvita waterfall? It takes 5–10 minutes. Expect to spend at least two and a half hours fully enjoying the place. 
  • Best tours to use: You don’t need a guided tour to visit Uvita Falls. It’s even better when you discover things yourself. However, if you still enjoy the idea of hiring a tour guide, I recommend this tour. 

Quick Stats of Uvita Waterfall

Now, let’s examine the key things to remember when planning to visit Uvita Waterfall. 

1. Getting here can be a hassle.

When you don’t think about it in detail, getting to Uvita Waterfall might seem simple, especially considering that it’s about a 20-minute walk from Uvita’s town center. 

However, some taxis might hesitate to go all the way to the falls because the road starts getting rough about a half-mile before you reach them. 

So, keep that in mind! When I was in Uvita, it happened to me once!

If you want to get there faster, you can drive or take a taxi for about 4-5 minutes from the Banco de Costa Rica (BCR) junction. 

Look for signs, but most people know where they are, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding them.

2. Budget $4 per person for entry fees.

The entrance fee for the waterfall area depends on which entrance you use. 

As you approach, you’ll see Restaurant La Catarata, a restaurant and bar with a small parking lot.

Here, you’ll need to pay 1500 colones ($3) to get in, and then you can enjoy the falls all day.

You can also get snacks and drinks here before you go down to the falls.

Once you’ve paid, follow the trail to the falls. 

Oh, and if you hear anything about using the Catarata Esmeralda Uvita entrance, just know that it’s not around anymore! (More on this later.)

3. The trail to the waterfall can get really slippery.

The path to the main waterfall is followed by a river with small waterfalls and pools.

Be aware that the trail is quite simple and not very long, but it can be steep and slippery in some places. 

Plus, the handrails, if there are any, might not be very sturdy. 

It takes about 5 minutes or so to walk down to the waterfall.

When you reach the waterfall, you’ll have to climb over rocks and big stones to get closer to it.

4. No one will tell you, but come prepared.

By coming prepared, we mean you should bring some things along to the waterfall to enjoy it fully. 

For example, when packing for your trip to this place, the following items are non-negotiable:

What to Bring to Uvita Waterfall Purpose
Dry bag This is a bag that keeps your stuff dry when you’re around water. It’s convenient, so make sure to bring one.
The anti-slip footwear I’m used to wearing flip-flops, but if you’re not, it might be a good idea to wear sneakers or sturdy sandals. You’ll be walking on a trail and a wooden boardwalk, so wear whatever is comfortable for you!
Swimsuit Don’t forget your swimsuit! You’ll definitely want to go for a swim, even if it’s not under the waterfall.
What to eat You can buy snacks at the restaurant near the top of the falls, or you can bring your own snacks and drinks.

The adventure doesn’t end with the main Uvita waterfall.

The adventure continues beyond the main Uvita waterfall. 

As you stroll along the trail, you’ll find other smaller waterfalls and pools to enjoy splashing around in. 

This means there’s enough space for everyone, even if you’re not correct at the main waterfall.

Just 80 meters from the bottom of Uvita Waterfall, there’s a fantastic swimming hole waiting for you. 

To reach it, you’ll need to walk back to the junction and cross a bridge. 

The metal stairs leading down into the water may be a bit slippery, but don’t worry; there are handrails to help you.

The pool is stunning! It’s large, deep, and doesn’t have many rocks, making it perfect for a leisurely swim. 

You can even catch a glimpse of the top of the Uvita Waterfall from inside the pool. 

It’s truly a beautiful sight and would be worth the entrance fee all on its own.

Further downstream, there’s a smaller swimming hole, but it’s not as great for swimming, so it’s best to visit only if the larger pool is crowded.

6. The waterfall will be more dramatic in the rainy season.

Regarding seasons, the waterfall is more impressive during the rainy season, but I don’t know how that affects the sliding experience!

The ideal time to visit Uvita Waterfall depends on what you want. 

If you’re seeking peace and a peaceful swim at the bottom of the falls, it’s best to go when it opens on a weekday. 

But if you’re interested in sliding down the waterfall and enjoying the lively atmosphere with tips from others, you can visit anytime!

Uvita experiences a dry season from December to April, followed by the rainy season from May to early December. 

However, any time of the year is good for visiting the Uvita waterfall.

7. The opening hours for the entry point are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.. 

The Uvita waterfalls’ opening hours vary depending on the entry point you use. Generally, they are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

The entrance fee varies depending on which entrance you choose, ranging from 1500 colones (about USD 2.80) to 2000 colones (about $3.80). 

However, if you’re staying at a guesthouse that provides access, you might get in for free.

8. Entrance fees or tickets cannot be paid in advance. 

If you’re wondering where to purchase entrances, be aware that you can only do so at the waterfall’s entry.

In other words, you can’t buy online or in advance.

However, if you’re going with a tour package that has special offers of pickup and drop-off, along with other activities attached to the Uvita waterfall, they may require you to make payment ahead. 

But if you’re going without a guide, don’t bother about buying a ticket online from anywhere. 

9. It’s pretty dark here.

At Uvita Waterfall, it can get dark in the evening.

Even if you plan to visit the waterfall early in the morning, you might still see that the place has poor illumination. 

So it’s best to add a touch as well. If you’re visiting in broad daylight, then there’s no need. 

10. As of 2024, the butterfly garden is no longer open.

The butterfly garden will close in 2024.

If you come in through the first entrance, you’ll find a small butterfly garden with lots of plants that attract butterflies. 

It’s a nice little stop to see these colorful creatures quickly perched on beautiful flowers.

But if you prefer seeing wildlife in its natural habitat, La Fortuna is the place to be. 

Check out this article to learn about all the different animals and birds you can spot across the country.

SO, IS UVITA WATERFALL WORTH IT?

In all honesty, my visit here was just ‘okay.’ 

We started on the path for about 200 meters, then had to walk through the river over big rocks. 

I sustained a minor cut on my knee after slipping; the path to the pools is not easy. If you go this route, make sure to wear water shoes and be in good shape. 

It’s not suitable for older people or young kids. We only made it to one pool because the others were blocked off by the unfriendly folks who owned the other entrance. 

The water itself was nice and cool, but overall, the experience wasn’t great. 

It’s silly and unfair that businesses privately running this place can’t figure out how to improve access for everyone. 

While it’s an absolutely lovely place to visit, there are better ones nearby that offer a much better experience when compared. 

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About 

Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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