Have you always wanted to sleep in a cave? Do you like waterfalls and hiking? If you’re looking for a non-touristy hiking excursion, this will not disappoint! 

Diamante Cave and Waterfall Hike is found in the Perez Zeledon (southern zone) area of Costa Rica.  The Diamante Falls are located on private property, so booking a guided hike is the only way to see it. For the overnight stay, you also have a rappelling option. And if you don’t want to sleep in the cave, there is a day-hike-only option. The guides are fluent in Spanish and English. 

This hike is not for the weak of heart, it contains a lot of steps. And I mean A LOT of steps that go up, up and up. Of course when you return the next day, you will go down all these steps (which is much easier than going up, but can be hard on the knees).

Steps going up.

The views are awesome.

Happy hiker-girls (while the hiker-boys lag in the background)

After hiking up steps forever, you finally come to a beautiful place called “The Garden.” Among flowers, benches to rest on, and an actual garden with tons of vegetables and herbs, our guide (Diego) showed us this tiny hummingbird nest nestled deep within a huge plant.

Hummingbird nest

After resting for a while, Gretchen (the other guide) gathered enough lettuce and vegetables to make salads later. We then put our packs back on and continued our hike upward. “Just a few more steps,” Diego said… but soon we were hot and sweaty and gasping for breath again (at least some of us were). When we finally got to the waterfall and cave, it was breathtaking.

Waterfall at cave

Sleeping platforms in cave

The cave included platforms with sleeping pads, sleeping bags and pillows. There are also two (flushing!) toilets, two showers, a sink for brushing teeth and washing hands, and a kitchen that the guides use.

We relaxed while our guides whipped up a fabulous lunch (vegetable rice with tortillas, an amazing salad, chips, salsa and iced tea). Then we had the option to visit a swimming hole. But guess what? It involved more steps, of course! It was well worth it. The water was a crisp cool temperature, which felt so refreshing. You could also cliff jump (see cliff to the right of the waterfall behind us).

Swimming hole behind us.

Just past swimming hole at another waterfall.

After cooling off, we came back to camp and had coffee, tea and cookies. The tea tasted amazing and was made with lemongrass and ginger from the garden. Later we had to the option to hike to the “sunset view”… which, yep, involved more steps! The sunset view was at the top of the actual waterfall named Diamante, it was a huge drop off and view to the west – perfect for sunset viewing.


Greg watching the sunset (Sunsets is his trail name from the Appalachian Trail, very fitting here)

This is us.

The hike back up the steps was in the dark (headlamps are a good idea), and our guide Diego showed us a multitude of nighttime creatures (spiders, frogs & snakes!). We came back to a camp that was totally immersed in a beautiful glow of candle light. Candles were lit everywhere, and in a few locations there were solar “chandeliers” hanging from the ceiling. It was absolutely beautiful and very hard to capture in a picture.

Coming back into the cave camp at dark.

We had dinner by candle light (spaghetti, garlic toast, salad), and then we all gathered around a huge fire that Diego made. They even had sticks for us to roast marshmallows!

Roasting marshmallows at the camp fire

After settling into our “beds,” the candles were all blown out except one that they let burn out. We actually slept really well! It was warm, but got cooler as the night progressed, and the sleeping bag they provided was used. The next morning was breakfast, and then repelling, and then we hiked out (down all the steps). A fabulous two-days filled with hiking, swimming, waterfalls, cave sleeping, eating and camaraderie among new friends – what could be better? We highly recommend this hike!

For visiting and booking information, see Two Weeks in Costa Rica’s website, they will help you book a local guide for this: Waterfall Hike Booking.

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