If you are looking for beautiful waterfalls without the crowds, be sure to visit Viento Fresco Waterfalls. They are located an hour north of Monteverde and make a great stopping point on the way from Monteverde to La Fortuna/Arenal. Featuring four waterfalls that you can visit ranging from 66 ft up to 312 feet.
Arrival and Tickets
The google maps address will take you to a small building/restaurant. You’ll see a reception sign and this is where you can purchase your tickets. It is $16 for adults and slightly less for children. The nice gentleman only speaks Spanish, but we sorted it out. He will also give you some instructions (in Spanish) along with a map with the parking information and waterfalls. The map does have distances, which is quite helpful.
Once you have your tickets, you’ll drive on the road directly across from the ticket office. I highly recommend having a 4 wheel drive vehicle. The road is bumpy, partly paved and steep. You’ll pass cows, farms, and grasslands making your way up and then down to the parking area. The last parking area is the closest to the trail and has the most space for cars.
If you are like us and traveling with suitcases, just park backward into the hill. The only traffic that comes down this way is for the waterfall, so we felt safe with the bags in our car. There are also bathrooms at the trailhead.
Viento Fresco Trail
The trail is well marked and easy to navigate. However, it is mostly all downhill and continues that way past three waterfalls ending at the fourth waterfall. It should take you 1-2 hours depending on how long you take at each waterfall and how slowly or quickly you ascend. Since we were traveling with our 5-year-old son, we hiked down to the third waterfall and then made our way back up. It’s a lot of stairs.
Waterfall number 1: Serena River (102 ft)
This one is the easiest to reach and quite beautiful. You’ll follow the trail until it breaks off to the right. Take the trail on the right to reach the first waterfall. There is a nice area to take photos and you can go into the water if you’d like.
There are changing rooms and nice rocks to have your photo taken in front of the waterfall. Be sure to watch your step because the area surrounding the falls can be really slippery.
Waterfall number 2: Hidden (66 ft)
This waterfall is off to the right as you reach the lookout point. It is a bit less impressive and the smallest of the waterfalls along the trail, but still beautiful with a nice river meandering into the forest.
Waterfall number 3: Rainbow (247 ft)
Rainbow falls is the most impressive and tallest. This is where we spent the majority of our time. There is a nice view on the hill overlooking the falls and then you can follow the path to lead directly to the edge of the falls. The stairs can get a bit slippery, so watch your step.
This waterfall area features changing rooms and even a camping area (inquire at reception before driving down). I decided to take a dip in the water and enjoyed the sandy bottom and cool spray from the falls.
Waterfall number 4: Slide (312 ft)
We didn’t head all the way down to the slide waterfall since it was another 250 meters downhill. You can actually see the Slide Waterfall from the lookout point by Waterfall Number 2.
After you have enjoyed each waterfall, it’s time to head back up to the top. It’s all uphill and all stairs, so be prepared to get your heart beating. Our son wasn’t able to fully make the climb, so my husband gave him a lift. I’d suggest a carrier for any child less than 5 years of age. Check out our favorite baby carrier here.
Be sure to bring snacks and plenty of water and keep your eyes open for the beautiful wildlife that calls the area it’s home. We found plenty of beautiful spiders, frogs, and a stunning stain glass butterfly.
We really enjoy the hike to the Viento Fresco Waterfalls. Each waterfall had its own unique look and it was nice to be able to swim in the cooling waterfalls. We visited on a Sunday during the rainy season and only saw two other groups during our 2 hours visit, so it wasn’t crowded at all.
You will need your own transportation to reach the Viento Fresco Waterfalls and I highly recommend AWD or 4WD.
Frequently Asked Questions: Viento Fresco
- How much does it cost to enter? It is currently $16 per adult. You’ll purchase tickets at the entrance before being given a map to the parking area.
- What is the trail like? It is around 4,000 steps to the fourth waterfall. The trail is mostly steps that are uneven and have a railing made from wood and hose material. It gets muddy when it is raining.
- What is the weather like on the trail? The region receives a lot of rain, so be prepared with the proper gear. It is also cooler than other regions, so bring a light raincoat or jacket.
- Where are the Viento Fresco Waterfalls located? The waterfalls are off of Route 145 (dirt road). They are approximately 2 hours from La Fortuna & 1.5 hours from Monteverde.
- What do you recommend we bring? Bring plenty of water, snacks and rain gear. I recommend closed-toed shoes that can get wet. Here is an extensive list of our favorites.
- Do you have a copy of the Viento Fresco Waterfalls map with trail distances? Sure! Check out the image below.
Did you visit Viento Fresco? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Facebook or Instagram. I created this travel blog to help other families to explore the world with their kids and I hope I’ve inspired you. Want to read more about Costa Rica? Check out my posts below on the various regions in Costa Rica.
Is Manuel Antonio or Quepos a part of your journey? Here is my post for our favorite activities in Manuel Antonio. Staying in nearby Monteverde? Check out my three day itinerary. Or head over to my destinations page and explore my interactive map, it’s pretty fun. Until next time!
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Planning a trip to Costa Rica? This is our suggested Costa Rica itinerary: 10 days of beaches, waterfalls and rainforests. Covering the regions of Manuel Antonio, Monteverde, La Fortuna/Arenal and San Jose, you’ll get to see the wide variety of wildlife, regions and activities. Don’t miss the interactive map, accommodation recommendations and the best things to do in Costa Rica.