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Matapalo Waterfall

Quick Facts

  • What to bring : Insect repellent, protective clothing, rubber boots, or waterproof hiking shoes
  • Location : Half-mile hike from Matapalo beach
  • Height : 90 feet tall

Water gushes down and smashes over the rocks 90 feet below in an awaiting stream creating the powerful Matapalo Waterfall, one of Osa Peninsula's natural centerpieces and a great spot to take a rejuvenating dip.

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Carefully navigate your way through shallow waters and slippery rocks. Position yourself directly underneath the fall and stretch your arms out as the cold rushing water massages your muscles with sheer force. Standing within its powerful flow is a pure natural pick-me-up that will awaken your mind, body, and spirit.

Many hikers follow a half-mile walk up from Matapalo Beach to Matapalo Waterfall. The journey can be a fun through forests, beaches, and creeks. You may come across birds, monkeys, insects, snakes, and other wildlife that reside in the old and new growth forests. And to the great joy of solo adventure travelers, a tour guide is not needed during this hike.


  • Matapalo waterfall dries up mid-February and flows again as early as May or as late as October, depending on rainfall. When it does dry up, people do cannyoning instead.

  • The Matapalo Waterfall is sometimes referred to as the King Louis Waterfall. Each local seems to use a different name for the same waterfall. Keep in mind that rappelling is not done at this particular waterfall.

Getting There

The waterfall is easiest reached by taking a 10-minute downhill hike from the Lapa Rios self-guided trail.

To enjoy the more intimate nature hike mentioned, go down the main road until you get near Verde Sueno or Kapu lodge, then cross over toward the beach and follow the road on the other side. Finca Roca Dura will be on the right. After you past this establishment, go through two streams (the second of which passes over a flat, cement rectangle). After the second stream, the path will fork. Keep walking towards the right. You'll come across a few short, wooden posts up ahead. Enter through the break in the posts onto the trail to the waterfall. Take a short 15 minute walk along the river until you arrive.

If you would like to a shorter walk, but much more steeper, walk the middle path uphill to be lead towards the top of the waterfall.

Matapalo Waterfall in Pictures

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