Julio took me to a secret waterfall park for an afternoon hike the other day… well, it’s not really secret (see the photo above of the huge sign), but it is off the tourism radar and is only frequented by locals. The park, Los Chorros Recreation Park, has a few trails, two waterfalls, a river, some rope bridges, grills to cook out on, and tables for picnics. This makes a really great, easy hike if you find yourself stuck near the airport for a day or live in the area (like me!).
Our hike started off on the side of a gentle mountain in a field of lime green grass and quickly lead us into Jurassic-like jungle. The trails of Los Chorros were easy to follow and some of them even had rustic handrails on the slickest parts. The first waterfall I saw was the tallest in this park – 60 meters high (180 feet) and it blasted me with heavy mists while it crashed down into the river with a deafening roar. The second waterfall was not as intense and was accessible by crossing a rope bridge and wading through the river. The view from the middle of this rope bridge was incredible – like a scene from Fern Gully with mist saturating the air, vibrant greens sparkling all around, and crystal clear waters springing from the rocks.
Los Chorros is a 20 minute drive from our house, which means it is about 25 minutes from the San Juan Int’l Airport, or 45 minutes from downtown San Jose. It only costs a few hundred colones to get in and the entrance is guarded by a charismatic old man named Eli who lives in a modest house on the edge of the mountain. Eli doesn’t speak any English, so bring your Spanish skills if you go. It would also be nice if you brought him an Imperial or two…and a tip for watching your car while you frolic in the jungle. 🙂 Most importantly, come prepared to get wet and muddy!