No, it’s true. Aside from exploring an abandoned mine in the heart of Costa Rica, Minas del Aguacate has multiple natural waterslides that lead into crystal clear pools of water. Sounds pretty magical, right? And the best part of all is it’s free! Here’s everything you need to know to go there yourself.
Our little family has been exploring little hidden gems just outside of San Jose and this one didn’t disappoint. Whether it’s the rainy season or the dry season, there’s something for everyone at this oasis in the rainforest. Check it out.
At a glance: Minas del Aguacate
- Ages: All ages welcome
- Cost: Free (as long as you pick up your trash when you leave)
- Duration: 10-minute hike then lots of play time
- Hours: Open 24/7
- Difficulty: Easy
- Recommended gear: Umbrella, good hiking shoes, lots of water, bug spray, water shoes, waterproof phone pouch
How to get there
Enter Minas del Aguacate into Google Maps. First, head west on Highway 27 from San Jose. Take the Atenas exit and head up the mountain. You will pass through Atenas and then connect to Highway 3. One of the best parts about these waterfalls is the scenic drive on gorgeous Highway 3 near Atenas. I love this highway, it reminds me of the Road to Hana in Maui, Hawaii. These windy roads are backed by the lush green rainforest and amazing views. It’s worth coming just for the drive.
Google Maps will tell you to stop next to a narrow bridge in the middle or nowhere. We were confused at first but we kept driving down the road and right away we found a large parking lot next to a big river. After you park, you can start walking up a trail along the right side of the river. This is the more difficult but more scenic path. It will take you right along the side of the river but you have to cross a few boulders.
Or you can cross the bridge next to the parking lot. To the right you’ll find a big gate that is spray painted No trespassing. We climbed around the gate and up the hill and it leads to Minas del Aguacate.
How to find the mines
For some reason, we were never able to find the mines. We found lots of remnants of the mine though. They say it is at the top of the waterfalls through a small entrance. The mine is about 250 meters deep. I am not sure if they blocked it off or if we just couldn’t see it. I’m sure you’ll have more luck than us.
Tips and tricks along the way
- Safety: Lock your car doors and keep your belongings close.
- Headlamp: Bring a headlamp so you can walk into the mine safely.
- Swimming: Be careful of the deep pools of water, especially with kids.
- Feet protection: Where water shoes or sandals as you cross certain areas.
- Rainy season: The waterfalls are much stronger during this time so be careful.
- Entrance fee: A sign at the parking lot says the only entrance fee is that you pick up your garbage when you leave.
- Behind waterfall: The water was high enough that we were able to swim behind the waterfall. It was really cool.
- Waterslides: Don’t forget to slide down the waterfalls. Super fun!
- Babies: We brought our little one. Just be very careful not to slip on any of the rocks while holding your baby.
We had so much fun at Minas del Aguacate. I didn’t mind that we didn’t find the actual mines because the waterfalls are seriously the best part of this place. We want to come back again with some friends. Plus, we went during the rainy season in June and we had the entire place to ourselves. It was so much fun. Here’s a little video of our adventure.
I hope you have as much fun at Minas del Aguacate as we did. Let us know how it goes in the comments below.
More from My Silly Squirts: Swing through a waterfall in Costa Rica!