Pavon Waterfall

Pavon Waterfall


Just around the corner from Ojochal sits a hidden gem – a beautiful jungle waterfall (with a bonus swim hole), a perfect Instagram photo that captures the true essence and wilderness of Costa Rica.

Cascada El Pavon (Peacock Waterfall) is very mysterious – you will not find much information about this waterfall on the internet. Maybe it is a good thing as the crowds would definitely take away from its allure. When I visited the location in November at times my group of friends were the only people there – so the views, the vibe and the swim hole were a truly unique and personal experience.

Waterfall in jungle.
Cascada El Pavon during the wet season, with high waterflow and a large swim hole.


Cascada El Pavon is not a high waterfall, clocking in at just a few metres. But what it lacks in height it makes up for in its charm – the waterfall squeezes its way between two giant rocks which are crossed by a big round boulder (from now on called ‘the pebble’) which hangs over the swim hole. I have never seen a waterfall quite like this!

A lush jungle surrounds the waterfall on all sides, adding to the ‘nature immersion’ vibe. Tall trees, perched on the riverbanks, stretch out in every direction, their shade providing constant relief from the tropical sun. The river is cool and refreshing providing a stark contrast for those who have spent their vacation days in the much warmer Pacific Ocean.


Getting there is easy (most of the time) – just a 3.8 km slog up a gravel road called Calle Vergel. The turn-off onto Calle Vergel is located on the coastal highway between the towns of Ojochal and Tres Rios and can be easy to miss so pay attention to the GPS map.

As you leave the coastal highway, turn onto Calle Vergel (the turn is towards the East, or towards the ‘mountain’ side of the road). Calle Vergel is usually passable for all vehicles. It is made of gravel and packed earth but some portions can be rocky, muddy or washed out. There are no big hills but the ride is fairly up-and-down. The road winds her way over small hills, through little settlements, over bridges and along valleys and ravines. Approaching the waterfall you will often see cars parked on the left side of the road (in case there are no cars, keep a lookout for the entrance sign on the left). Park here and follow a short jungle path that will take you towards the waterfall and swim hole – as mentioned the entrance to the jungle path is marked with signs. Take care as the path can be muddy and slippery at times.

Highway in forest.
Entrance to Calle Vergel from the Coastal Highway – as you can see, it can be very easy to miss!
Jungle road.
Access road leading towards the waterfall.
Cars parked along road.
Cars parked along the entrance to the waterfall.
Sign in forest.
A sign marking the waterfall entrance.
jungle path.
A short jungle path leads to the waterfall.

As you approach the waterfall, stone steps take you down to the edge of the swim hole – take extra caution here as steps can be wet and very slippery. Depending on water level, the steps may be met by water or a small pebble beach. If the water is high, there may not be much room for you to store your belongings, so especially in the wet season consider minimizing your load.

Now back to the start: at times Calle Vergel can be impassable to non-4WD vehicles. This usually happens after heavy rains or if there has been a landslip. So if you are not driving an appropriate vehicle, and especially after a period of bad weather, it would pay to check if the road is damaged or blocked – placing the question on the local Facebook expat page would be useful for this.


When is the best time to visit the waterfall?

During the dry season, generally January to April, due to the reduced water flow the ‘pebble’ in the middle of the waterfall is much more distinct. Also a little ‘beach’ emerges at the edge of the swim hole, giving additional space to sit, store your belongings, and enjoy a sandwich or a glass of wine. Due to the low waterflow you can also swim to the base of the waterfall for a quick shower and an unforgettable experience (and photos).  However the dry season is the ‘busy’ season, so you may encounter crowds and commotion – at times it may be tough to find a piece of flat land or rock to lay down your belongings.

Waterfall in jungle.
Cascada el Pavon in the dry season.

The wet season, generally May to December, is very quiet so chances are the crowds will be small or non existent – you may in fact be the only one there! On the flip side, the high waterflow can somewhat obscure the ‘pebble’ making it not as distinct and noticeable (although the waterfall is still spectacular and worthy of a visit), and the little beach beside the swim hole disappears under the river. It is also very tough (or for me, impossible) to swim to the base of the waterfall as the water current is too strong and will soon carry you back to the edge of the swim hole. The access road may also be in a tougher shape, especially after prolonged rains.

jungle waterfall.
Cascada el Pavon in the wet season.


Like in all areas of Costa Rica, petty crime exists and thieves are always looking for opportunities. So ensure you secure your vehicle by locking all doors, closing the windows, and not leaving any valuables inside your car especially on the seats or any areas that can be visible from the outside (this is as valid for a jungle side-of-the-road location as it is for a busy, secure and patrolled carpark near a major supermarket).

Also, and especially important in the wet season when the water is high and fast – be cautious of the rapids below the waterfall. It is best to stay back and not attempt to climb down to the bubble pools downstream as the rocks are slippery and the current can be stronger than you think!


While fairly obscure and not located on many tourist maps, this little gem of a waterfall gets top grades from the visitors to the Ojochal area, and the experience (and photos) are truly one of a kind. It would be a crime for you to visit our area and not make at least a quick trip to the Cascada El Pavon.

Imagine having natural attractions like the Cascada El Pavon in your back yard – a place to cool off, recharge and touch base with Mother Nature under a surreal surrounding. We can help you make this dream come true – and it is much easier and quicker than you may imagine! Yes, we have properties within walking distance of the Cascada El Pavon, and many more that are just a 5 minute drive away. Visit RE/MAX We Sell Paradise website to view those and other hot properties in our local area: