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El Salto

Costa Rica, Latin America

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El Salto

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  • Parking for El Salto is on the gravel pull-out on the northeast side of the Rio Fortuna bridge.- El Salto
  • Costa Rica's lush forest rises beside the Rio Fortuna.- El Salto
  • A sign marks the short trail heading downstream to the platform and rope swing above the swimming hole.- El Salto
  • The trail parallels the river as it passes two side-by-side waterfalls.- El Salto
  • A wide deep swimming hole marks the area, with rock ledges and a rope swing to jump from.- El Salto
  • Small cascades run directly beneath the Route 702 bridge.- El Salto
  • The area makes a picturesque image all on its own. That it is a deep area perfect for swimming makes it an even more exciting destination.- El Salto
  • View from atop the waterfall.- El Salto
  • El Salto rope swing.- El Salto
  • Downstream is a idyllic canyon beneath the jungle canopy and can be walked to by tracing the trail past the jumping ledges.- El Salto
  • The rope swing is about 20 feet above the water, making it a more adventurous option than the lower ledges surrounding the pool.- El Salto
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Absolutely beautiful.
Cons: 
Can be littered and crowded.
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Region:
Costa Rica, LT
Access: 
Vehicle
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Greatest Height: 
20.00 ft (6.10 m)
Location type: 
Cliff jumping
Year round: 
Yes
Parking Pass: 
None
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

El Salto, which is Spanish for jump, is a picturesque swimming hole with surrounding rock ledges and a rope swing just outside the town of La Fortuna in the Rio Fortuna.

The place is a hidden gem, and it has no cost, which is a bonus in an area full of pricey eco-travel establishments and tourist traps. It is also well-known among locals and can get crowded, especially on weekends. It consists of a wide swimming hole in the Rio Fortuna just after it passes beneath the Route 702 bridge, which is located a couple of minutes south of La Fortuna. Two waterfalls stream into a wide slow-moving area of river deep enough for those jumping from any of the rock ledges to land in safely. 

The main attraction here is a rope swing about 15 feet above the surface of the water. While the rock ledges don't really get any higher than 8 feet or so, the rope swing is perched high enough that it makes an entertaining spectacle of those using it to fling themselves into the cool water below. Once in the pool, it's possible to swim behind the leftmost of the two falls or to drift slightly downstream to climb out of the water and follow the short trail back up. Those not feeling the pull of the jumps can enjoy the rock ledges around the pool, beside the small cascades just upriver and beneath the bridge, or slightly downriver where the flow calms in a wide canopy-covered canyon. 

Be warned that the area can get crowded, and unfortunately it sees its share of litter. Costa Rica's varying conditions, especially surrounding Volcán Arenal, can cause wide fluctuation in flows and currents, and there are no lifeguards or safety mechanisms of any kind, so use your best judgement or ask some of the locals before making any leaps yourself.

Parking is free in narrow gravel pull-outs at either end of the bridge. The east side has the short dirt trail leading to the rope swing. Be careful when leaving the parking areas as they lie on a blind curve and traffic tends to speed by and across the narrow bridge.

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