How To Trek 10 Waterfalls Through Costa Rica's Las Monas Rainforest
Waterfalls and hiking are synonymous with adventure-seekers in Costa Rica. There is no shortage of spectacular displays of crashing waters in the destination. This holds true for the Las Monas Rainforest (named “the monkeys” for the plentiful mammals seen in the area). Airbnb Experiences offers a hidden waterfall trekking adventure that will take you 3 miles roundtrip through Las Monas, which has many spots where you can take a dip in natural springs fed by waterfalls. Starting from the base of the Neofauna Farm, which is shaped like a small shoe, your excitement is furthered by a resident green parrot echoing "papa" at you before the start of the tour.
To reach the stretch of rainforest to start the hike, you take a 5 minute drive through the Las Monas village from the town of Jaco. The drive has slow-paced, rural landscape and colorful two-level homes as well as a nondescript ranch flanked by beautiful pink, flor de sol and hibiscus flowers. The part of the rainforest you trek will be on the Oracio Solis family land. You will also see rural living within the rainforest like an eco-house with no water or electricity owned by the Oracio Solis family. There will be several chickens that flew the coop running around the brush and sipping at the lake.
Some of the flora that you encounter on the excursion are the cacao tree and its distinct wavy, green fruit; a tree used as natural mosquito repellent; and the “big chicken tree” because of the resemblance of the roots to chicken feet (which was interestingly used to make matches by the native people). Your guide may urge you to take a bite of the vitamin-filled Begonia leaf, where its origin is in Central Pacific Costa Rica. Its flowers are deep red and its flavor is lemon-like acid used to flavor meats, sorbets, and ice creams.
In total, you encounter 10-12 waterfalls, but if you keep hiking to the end of the property, there would be a total of twenty. Only locals can access to the other 8 because of the difficultly in climbing. Some parts of the trek are slippery, while others you have to hold ropes in order to assist with climbing up the slightly steep waterfalls (this is not a trek for the faint of heart or those afraid of heights). The chirps of cicadas are almost a constant in the background, some louder in some places than others, where they sing their songs for around three months in the Costa Rican summer season.
The last stop is a traditional local meal for the area at a casual dining restaurant called Soda Garabito located in Jaco. The cafeteria style venue allows you to order different dishes by a la carte, such as chicken, fish, rice and beans, steamed veggies, and plantains.
Where to Stay Local:
Airbnb offers many private and shared homes in the Puntarenas region, where you can readily access the waterfall hiking excursion. Some of the local towns where you can book your Airbnb include Jaco and Herradura.