Las Primeras Cataratas – The First Waterfall

After getting back from the ranch I had Pili drop me off at the bus station (Parada Municipal de Liberia) so I take a bus to Llanos de Cortes and make my way to see my first Costa Rican waterfalls. After getting off the bus the walk was pretty straight forward but took about 20/30 minutes to complete, it started raining and there was little coverage on the road so I got a little soaked. The worst part was I forgot to wear bug repellent and so it was the first day the mosquitos had a great amount of fun with my skin.

After arriving to where the waterfall was there seemed to be a gate and I feared it was closed. However, as I was looking at it from a distance a Costa Rican explained to me how to walk over and see it, he had a fanny pack and extra strength rope so I could tell he was some kind of guide – just not anything official. I thanked him and of course he offered to come with, at first I said no but he insisted and so I accepted with no regrets as he offered to be my personal photographer. We walked to the top of the waterfall, then through a river (where I quickly learned the trail was better walked bear foot), to a “hot” spring where I stayed for a bit and the “guide” convinced me to swim around a little (as a beginner and knowing I couldn’t touch the floor that was a lot for me but I did it) – I say “hot” because it was really at most lukewarm – and then finally we reached the bottom of the large waterfall and got in that water as well. It felt great, I even swam to and walked behind the waterfall (if I had a waterproof camera I would’ve loved to capture those moments).

After spending quite a bit of time in the water I started heading out and the guide offered to drive me down in his motor bike, at first I was hesitant but felt safe so I went for it – when traveling alone you really learn the importance of feeling someone’s vibe and trusting it. He drove me down, let me take some pictures on it and I wish I could tell you all his name but I have a terrible memory with those and it was rather unique so instead you’ll see a picture here! He insisted I didn’t have to give him money, especially as I had given him 2 of my Polaroid shots which he knew were kind of expensive but of course I decided to anyways. I have him $20 because guided tours always cost $60+ and not only did he walk me through, he also took pictures, gave me a ride down and let me experience yet another piece of Costa Rican culture. So first, make sure to go to Llanos de Cortes! I can confidentially say they were the best waterfalls I saw in CR and second if you go make sure to look for my awesome guide.

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