A testament to rural tourism
By Lucas Iturriza
Just 10 kilometers from Dominical, an off-the-beaten path excursion to these majestic waterfalls merits at least a half or full day of exploring.
Organized tours to the Nauyaca waterfall depart from Don Lulo’s farm that he started working with his wife Ruth about 30 years ago. As was common at the time, they began by clearing the land of trees to sell as timber, and when there were no more trees to cut, they began to raise livestock. Just a few years later, when the price of cattle plummeted, the couple sought an alternative.
Resting by a waterfall on their property one day, one of Lulo’s sons made the prophetic proclamation "someday this will be known as Nauyaca Resort." The phrase rolled around in Lulo’s head before turning into a revelation and then a clear plan of action. Since that fateful day, this little piece of paradise has been completely turned around and reforested at the hands of its dedicated caretaker. Today, Nauyaca receives nature lovers and adrenaline junkies from Costa Rica and around the world.
Getting to the falls is no small feat – analogous to most of life’s knock-your-socks-off experiences. The first couple of miles are covered precariously by 4x4. Then it’s time to saddle up for a one hour horseback ride that will take you to this awesome natural treasure.
Nauyaca is actually two waterfalls – the first a 150-foot free fall, while the second is a tiered, 60-foot high cascade, pooling into a vast swimming hole that is about six meters deep. Picture yourself before a giant castle constructed of moving water in the middle of a secondary tropical forest. Then take a lot of real-life pictures because this is a Facebook-worthy moment that should not be under-exploited.
The horseback ride, local food, dense mountain forests, wildlife, beautiful falls and the kindness of this family leave a lasting impression on travelers that journey to the property.