Don’t miss a hike to La Leona Waterfall in Guanacaste Province. If you love adventure and nature it’s the perfect destination. The waterfall’s turquoise water and dramatic setting make it one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Costa Rica. 

Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park is famed for its lush rainforests and diverse wildlife. And experiencing La Leona waterfall is just one of many adventures to be had. Horseback riding, river tubing, and zip lining are also part of the fun.

The La Leona Waterfall is near the town of Curubandé in the northern zone of Costa Rica. It forms part of the Rio Blanco River that flows from the slopes of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.

La Leona is the perfect day trip for your Guanacaste vacation Getting there from Liberia or the Pacific Coast beach towns is smooth and easy. From Liberia City, the drive is only about 20 minutes, and about 1.5 hours from Tamarindo. 

Driving in Guanacaste

Generally, the northern zone’s roads are in good condition and well marked. So getting around in a sedan vehicle or 2WD is no problem. 

For visitors wishing to explore remote locations like Costa Rica national parks, it’s best to have a 4WD car. This is especially true during the rainy season between May and December. Then it’s best to have a 4×4 vehicle to visit La Leona, Costa Rica,  

Our most popular and economical 4WD vehicle options are the Hyundai Tucson Superior and Suzuki Vitara. During the dry season, a  2WD like the Geely GX3 is a good choice for a day at La Leona. 

At Adobe, we have Costa Rica’s most extensive and youngest fleet of rental cars. You can pick up your vehicle from any of our Adobe 14 offices. Ask the Adobe agent which office best suits your trip itinerary when you make your reservation.

Most travelers flying into Guanacaste rent from our Liberia Airport office. We also have Adobe offices in nearby beach towns like Tamarindo and Playa Conchal

La Leona Waterfall hike, Costa Rica 

The area around what locals call Catarata La Leona has incredible rock formations and caves. When you take a La Leona waterfall adventure tour, you’ll experience the true beauty of Costa Rica. 

Several providers offer La Leona Waterfall tours. The trailhead is open to visitors year-round. But you must join a guided tour to enter.  

It’s not recommended to make the hike alone. The rough terrain and river crossings can be dangerous for lone hikers. However, there are different trailheads to choose from. They range in length and difficulty. 

Visitors can choose to take the longer, more challenging trails. Or the shortest route which is best for families with small children or people wanting less of a challenge. You decide the level of difficulty you’re ready to tackle.

The adventure hike passes through river and mountain habitats teeming with plants and wildlife. Local tour guides are usually good at pointing out interesting landmarks and animals.

The hard work of hiking to La Leona is rewarded with a refreshing swim in the blue river’s crystalline waters. There is a calm river pool before reaching the cave entrance leading to the blue water waterfall. It’s the perfect place to cool off and prepare for the hike’s climax.

The last challenge you’ll face to get to La Leona is swimming upriver to the canyon opening. A submerged rope stretches up the river and is helpful when the current is strong.

It’s all part of the La Leona adventure and worth the reward. Swimming beneath a turquoise waterfall inside a beautiful rock canyon is a remarkable experience.  

One of the best waterfalls in Costa Rica

Tour operators to La Leona offer a range of options. Some companies include transportation, lunch, water, and snacks. And others offer a more basic service.

When you visit La Leona waterfall, bring a change of clothes, water, a dry bag, sunscreen, a camera, and bug spray. Wearing good walking shoes that can get wet and dirty is important.  

You can put your things in the guide’s dry bag if you book a private tour. In most cases, they will provide water and snacks for the hike. 

Try to avoid hiking in sandals if possible. The rocky ground is better suited for shoes with support, like tennis shoes.

La Leona is best during the dry season months when the water is especially clear. The river’s current is stronger in the rainy season, making it harder to swim the last stretch to the waterfall. 

La Leona Waterfall Costa Rica Map