One Friday morning in Jacó Beach: Our group of seven Academia Tica students was being picked up in front of the apartments by Alan, our tour guide for the day. A 45 minutes drive southbound along the coast led us to the beginning of a narrow path through private farmland. First we passed chicken and horses, then the trail continued through the forest, crossing some little streams. Finally we reached the waterfall that made its way down through the jungle like a stairway for giants. Beautiful to see…and now what? I thought the hike would continue to the other ones – since the only thing I knew about the waterfalls back then was: there are at least 3 of them. And it did, just not in the way I expected. Alan began to climb up the rock wall beside the waterfall. We all watched him disappear as he jumped into the pool above. So we left our things at the bottom and followed him up. The second waterfall filled a nice deep pool where some of us dipped in (or in my case: half accidently slipped in). The others were already on their way up higher.

“Once you are up there, the only way down is to jump!” Alan pointed out to us with a provocative twinkle in his eyes. Hesitating and still not quite sure about jumping down the not entirely vertical rock face, I climbed up next to the waterfall holding on to roots and little ledges. Once up there you could see the third and fourth waterfall with their round pools caved out of the dark rock around. The view down into the jungle was amazing! After another swim in the refreshing clear pools and a little massage of the top one of the waterfalls, it was time for the way back down.

Academia Tica students relaxing in the refreshing pool between two waterfalls.
Academia Tica students relaxing in the refreshing pool between two waterfalls.

Jumping from the upper waterfall was really fun. One by one we climbed to a spot where you could just let yourself fall into the pool a few meters beneath. The more than 5 meter jump into the last pool was a bit more thrilling. You had to stand on a little ledge where only your heels could fit and from that point jump forward since the rocks were not that steep. But we all did it – there was no other way, right? At this point big respect for Bob, one of the students in his seventies, who enjoyed it as much as everyone else! Full of adrenaline some of us jumped over and over again while the others were relaxing in the pool or tried (and partly succeeded) climbing up beneath the waterfall not being able to see where your hands could grip since the water kept lashing down onto your face.

Perfectly content and definitely with an unforgettable experience more we later made our way back to Jacó. What a fun and unique day.


Fresh clear water making its ways through the forest at “Las Cataratas Las Pilas” near Parrita.

– Susanna Kowalzik


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