Llanos de Cortes is a perfect destination for families traveling with children.
For one, it’s cheap. It will cost you only 4 US DOLLARS to park, and there is a nice attendant who watches the cars.
Secondly, it’s just an easy 10 minute walk down to the waterfall. I actually did it wearing flip flops and carrying my 6-month-old. The waterfall itself is stunning! The water is shallow, and there is no undercurrent so it’s safe for children to swim. You can actually swim right up to the waterfall (at the base it is probably 6-8 feet deep) and even climb behind it. (Be careful though, the rocks are covered in moss and are slippery).
Llanos de Cortes is approximately a 30 minute drive east from Liberia, Costa Rica. It is the perfect place to stop if you are driving from the beaches in Guanacaste to the Arenal Volcano area.
We were fortunate enough to see monkeys hanging out in the trees above us while we visited the waterfall. We also met some extremely friendly locals. There is a food vendor down at the bottom if you want to grab a bite to eat while you are there. (I’d assume it is cash only). We had already eaten but it smelled wonderful.
A few things to note if you’re planning a visit to Llanos de Cortes
Getting to Llanos de Cortes can be a bit tricky. There is no obvious signage from the highway. Just a white sign with painted red letters that says “Catarata”, which is Spanish for waterfall. It is located about a mile down a very bumpy dirt road. A small SUV would be beneficial. There are no restrooms or changing areas, so I’d suggest wearing your swim suit under your clothes and bringing a towel.