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The Oropendola is one of my favorite (yet mostly unknown!) Costa Rica waterfalls. Costa Rica is known for its abundance of picturesque waterfalls amid lush, tropical rainforest. Located throughout the country, it’s possible to see several waterfalls during your Costa Rica trip.
Located within Rincon de la Vieja National Park in northern Costa Rica, the Oropendola is one of the easiest waterfalls to see in Costa Rica, but absolutely one of the most rewarding! It’s also the only waterfall in the area that allows swimming, making it ideal for a post-hike treat during a hot Costa Rican afternoon. The Oropendola waterfall is located in the Guanacaste province near Liberia. If you are traveling to this region, the Oropendola is one of the most beautiful and easiest Costa Rica waterfalls to see.
How to Get to Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Rincon de la Vieja is very easy to find. Just put the park’s name into your GPS to receive easy-to-follow directions to the parking lot and trail heads. Along the way, you will come across a toll booth that looks a little sketchy. The road to the national park crosses private property, and the owner of that land set up a toll booth as a way to capitalize on all the visitors headed across his land to the national park. I can’t blame him, really! The toll costs just $1.50 per person (or 700 Costa Rican Colones), so make sure you bring a bit of cash to pay this. It’s only due on your way into the park, not back out.
Once you arrive in the parking lot, head into the main building to your right. There will be some park employees available to help you decide which trail you want to take and to give you instructions. They will also assign you a number (remember it!) if you plan to hike any of the longer trails in the park and then check you off when you return, to ensure that everyone going into the park that day makes it back out. You will pay them for park access based on the trail you want to access. To see the Oropendola waterfall, pay $10 per person and follow the instructions to the short trail.
Hiking to the Oropendola Waterfall
From the start of the trail, it’s just a quick half-mile hike through the rainforest to get to the majestic Oropendola Costa Rica waterfall. Parts of the trail can be muddy and a bit slippery, so make sure you’re wearing proper tennis or hiking shoes. I wore my trusty Keen hiking shoes and was good to go.
The most fun part of the trail is a suspension bridge over the river! You can hear the roar of the waterfall as you go along the trail, heightening the excitement of what you’re about to see. When you arrive at the waterfall, you will come to a platform where you can leave your clothes, etc. as you jump into the water! I just wore my swimsuit underneath my clothes that day. There’s a ladder down to the water to make it easy to get in and out safely. The water is freezing cold at first but so refreshing!
The waterfall and swimming area is surrounded by tall, mossy cliffs and lush jungle flora. It was one of those “I am really in the middle of the jungle” feelings. We were the only ones there when we arrived on a sunny November afternoon.
The Oropendola waterfall is such a great afternoon activity in Costa Rica! I totally recommend checking it out and going for a dip beneath the waterfall.