Free: Poza Azul Waterfall, Costa Rica
Updated: Jul 11
While staying in the tiny surf village of Dominical for a week of waves, I heard about a free waterfall nearby.
After a week of questionable stomach rumblings and general malaise (probably from just partying too much), I finally woke up in Dominical with a little bit of the old joy de vivre, aka some energy after feeling like a sloth with pneumonia for so long. I'd planned to hike over to a little waterfall nearby named Poza Azul as my first active venture in some time. I mentioned this plan over coffee and cigarettes at the outside table at the awesome hostel Good Vibes, as was now custom every morning and let's be honest, all day (the only change being cards and spliffs introduced around 11am and coffee switched to beer around 12pm). My roommates - Luc from France (23, quiet, sweet fly fisher), Daniel from Germany (32, kind, punk but precise, tattooed and full of helpful knowledge), and April from Canada (nice, quiet, independent, 30), could all usually be found here along with a handful of others.
April said she wanted to go, and while I'd kinda wanted to be alone I knew she would be good company, but then a local guy, Jose, kind of invited himself too. Jose is a nice guy, and I know he has a good heart. But his main hobby seemed to be bumming stuff off people at our hostel, and kind of hanging on / sitting there awkwardly otherwise. He's one of those guys you just want to shake violently while yelling, Stand up, man! Stop acting like a kicked dog and take your pride back it's yours if you just fucking take it! ...But I really can't judge, who knows where he came from. So I talked to him when others ignored him, and of course he hung on a bit to me then, but anyway. He told us he charged people $5 to take them on tours to the waterfall. I clearly said we had already planned to go and didn't want a guide and wouldn't be paying, but he was welcome to join if he wanted. He said yes.
The three of us took off much too late, around 11:30am, the worst time of day really - the baking sun was high, casting merciless rays down through the fog of 1,000% humidity, I mean damn, it was fucking hot. The sweat freely poured down our faces and bodies. We walked down the beach and through some jungle, and Jose showed us how to knock down young green coconuts and smash them on the tree, and pour the free flowing coconut water into your mouth like a maniac. It was a wonderful, messy form of hydration, the coconut water spraying all over our faces and mingling with the salty rivers of pre-existing sweat. Clothes were wet, we were literally dripping. Anyhoo! Made it to the lovely little waterfall not more than an easy one hour hike away, and had a refreshingly glorious swim, some snacks, a joint, and then hitched a ride back to the hostel.
At the very end Jose asked for some money, maybe a tip or something he said, and while it pissed me off a little, I also couldn't say no to a man my age willing to beg like that, it was kinda rough to see. April didn't have any money, but I gave him like $3 and said hey I told you we didn't want a guide, but actually it was pretty cool to have you show us the way. And that was that. Later I think he felt bad about it, because he gave me a free nug one day, and a coconut another day when I got out of the surf.