Waterfall Rappelling in Lost Canyon
You won't find Lost Canyon on any map. Hidden under the rainforest canopy, you can't see it from the air. In some places, the canyon walls squeeze so close together you can reach out and touch them with both hands. At others, the gorge opens wide exposing waterfalls plunging more than 200 feet to the river below.
In fact, there's only one way to see Lost Canyon; rappelling down waterfalls, swimming through streams, scrambling between rocks and hiking downriver.
Open for the last 8 years, Lost Canyon is about a half hour from the small town of La Fortuna. Tour guides drive in 4x4 trucks over dirt roads leading to the canyon's entrance. Lasting about two hours, the tour takes amateur canyoneers on their first adventure through a pristine gorge with four waterfalls.
Entering the gorge, canyoneers come across a small stream trickling through a valley leading to a 25-foot cascade. One at a time, guides teach guests how to rappel. Leaning back and using the rock face as steps, they slowly release the brake and rappel down their first waterfall.
Between each rappel, canyoneers scramble over rocks, wade through streams and climb down small ledges. Sometimes, the water is shallow and crystal clear while at other times, canyoneers jump into deep pools finding themselves up to their necks in water.
The second waterfall drops 150 feet. Bracing themselves on a platform constructed over the top of the waterfall, canyoneers stand with both feet leaning over the edge listening to the roar of the falls below. On this fall, they get to try the movie-style jumping rappel; releasing the brake cable as they leap from the ledge and slowly squeezing as they brace their legs with knees bent and feet forward to hit the canyon wall. Avoiding the tumultuous waters at the bottom, the guides scream to let go and canyoneers slide 50 feet on a small zip line to land safely in the sand on the far side of the falls.
After another hike through the stream, the gorge narrows. Canyoneers shimmy between the canyon's walls as the guides lay down in the pools above, making dams to block the water. At the bottom of the ledge, canyoneers sit together and brace themselves against the walls as the guides above stand up and release a tsunami; and for a moment people get to feel what it's like inside a waterfall.
At 220 feet, the last of the waterfalls is worthy of its title. The gorge opens its great maw in a circular clearing surrounded by forest. Unlike the other falls, there's nowhere for people to put their feet for rappelling. Instead, canyoneers turn around and push off the platform free falling into the gorge.
As they plummet, the cable curves into a zip line. Flying over the falls, canyoneers land safely in a shallow sandy stream. With feet planted firmly on the ground and all four waterfalls conquered, canyoneers walk out of lost canyon.