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I was invited to join Community Carbon Trees founder Jennifer Smith and our friends to visit La Ceiba Waterfalls in Platanillo (in between Dominical and San Isidro on the southwest side of Costa Rica). Although I’ve seen many waterfalls I’d never been to this one, so I agreed to go on a new adventure.
The group climbed into the back of my Toyota and we offloaded on the farm track through rolling hills and forests until we arrived at the entrance. Then we embarked on the easy to follow trail, the sounds of rushing water enticing us to walk faster even though at times the ground was slippery from yesterday’s rain shower. On this day it was sunny with a light breeze, and the shade of the canopy kept us comfortable for the 1.5 kilometer trek.
The trail was not too steep at the beginning and I slipped only once with a lucky soft landing. Towards the end we were glad it was dry as the steps were semi-slick clay, but the trail had supporting ropes in the key spots where they were needed. Meanwhile Jenny talked about the importance of the trees, how they use vines and roots to communicate, how they protect the soil, the water. We found some walking palms that prefer shaded areas, and wondered how far they wandered in the night. Along the trail were plenty of seeds to collect, mushrooms to admire, and bird chirping above.
The arrival at the waterfall was a sight to behold. The rush of thousands of gallons pounding on giant boulders with towering rainforest surrounding us made me marvel at nature’s magnificence. The water was cool and refreshing after working up a sweat so I waded in, swam to the rocks, and climbed through rainbow spray to where I could jump back in to a deep pool.
We stayed until the first drops of a midday shower gave us our exit call. Hiking back until the canopy kept us relatively dry and the shower lasted only through half of our journey back to the truck. On the way back I gave myself some space to reflect on how good I felt in the moment. I kept my camera lens cap off in the hopes of capturing some wildlife shots, and I scored a beautiful shot of an Aracari (Toucan) at the end of the hike.
I can highly recommend doing this tour with a guide from La Ceiba Adventures. They own the property leading to the falls and work to keep the trail maintained. Costs are $30 per person with lunch included, with discounts for groups and locals. And to give back to the rainforests, sponsor a tree with Community Carbon Trees. They use fairly paid labor to not only plants the trees, but to maintain them for four years, assuring their survival.