When you arrive in Jardin, you will be greeted with colorful buildings and flowers everywhere. The town has a really relaxed and happy vibe.
The plaza Parque Principal is a great place to start your exploration of Jardin. There you’ll see the beautiful cathedral and locals hanging out and enjoying the sunny weather.
While Jardin itself is great, there are several outdoor adventures a short drive or hike away. One of these is Cascada La Escalera, an impressive natural waterfall.
Cascada La Escalera is one of several waterfalls in the area, but it is the most popular and easily accessible. The time to the waterfall will depend on your choice of transportation, but we’ll get to that later.
The waterfall is about 60 meters high and is a good place to cool off after a hike on a hot day. It’s not exactly deep enough for swimming, but you can wade in the shallower areas and get your feet wet.
What To Bring to Cascada La Escalera
Since Cascada La Escalera is a natural attraction, there are no amenities like Changing rooms or bathrooms.
Now you have your gear, let’s talk about how to get to Cascada La Escalera.
Getting to Cascada La Escalera from Jardin
Cascada La Escalera is located about 2.5 miles from Jardin and can be accessed by a community road by the cathedral. Don’t worry, we will have a map at the bottom of this article, or you can check the All Trails app for directions.
Here are two main ways to get to Cascada La Escalera:
Hiking to Cascada La Escalera
This is the most popular way to get to the waterfall. It takes about an hour each way and is a pretty easy hike. You’ll walk through the plaza until you reach the road Calle 13, and when you reach the street, take a left, leaving Jardin.
The street turns into Jardin Tamesis, and it is a rolling road in the beginning. However, from there, you’ll be hiking on a road with some incline for the rest of the way.
We recommend having your All Trail maps or Google Maps open on your phone to guide, so you know how close you are. It’s pretty tough to get lost because you won’t get off the road until you reach the Cascada La Escalera sign for the trail.
However, you’ll know you’re close when you reach a big bridge that crosses the main river in the area.
Once you cross the bridge, you’ll see a small trail road that has a sign that points to Cascada La Escalera. The sign is hard to miss, and from there, it’s a short walk to the waterfall.
Take a Mototaxi to Cascada La Escalera
Your next option is to take a moto-taxi, which is basically a motorcycle taxi. You’ll see these taxis driving around everywhere in Jardin.
However, the easiest way to get one is to go to Parque Principal and wave one down. They’re relatively inexpensive and are a quick way to get to Cascada La Escalera.
If you are in Jardin during the rainy season, we recommend taking a moto-taxi because the roads can be pretty muddy and slippery. Plus, when it starts raining, it can pour pretty hard.
Moto-taxis typically hold two people, but if you have a larger group, you can take multiple moto-taxis. There are some Jeep-style trucks that have larger seating for tourists as well, but these are more expensive.
The moto-taxis will drop you off right at the sign for Cascada La Escalera, and from there, it’s a short walk to the waterfall.
You will either need to coordinate with the driver to wait for you or come back at a certain time, but this shouldn’t be a problem.
What To Expect When You Reach Cascada La Escalera
Once you reach the sign for Cascada La Escalera, you’ll have to cross a stream. During the rainy season, it can be tough to get across because the water level can be over ankle-deep.
We recommend bringing an extra pair of socks or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet. You can also wear a pair of Chocos or water shoes to make it easier.
After you cross the stream, you’ll have a moderate incline walk for about five minutes until you reach the waterfall. When you hear the sound of the waterfall, you’ll know you’re close. And, when you see it, I think you’ll be impressed.
The Power of Cascada La Escalera
When you come around the bend, you’ll see the waterfall in all its glory. Cascada La Escalera is about 80 feet tall and is pretty powerful, especially during the rainy season.
During the rainy season, the waterfall Escalera crashes down with so much power that it creates a mist at the bottom. It’s pretty neat to see and experience.
Don’t expect it to be like this during the dry season, though. During the dry season, this makes it a good time to hang out around the waterfall and cool off.
Cascada La Escalera is a great place to go for a swim, relax, and enjoy the scenery.
What to Do After Cascada La Escalera
After hanging out at the waterfall, you can either head back the way you came or take a different route.
You can head back to the town, but I recommend doing one of the following things instead.
Restaurante Bar La Terraza
You’ll pass this lookout restaurant on your way to Cascada La Escalera. It’s a great place to have a bite to eat or a drink while enjoying the incredible views of Jardin and the valley below.
The food is good here, and you can’t beat the sunset views. They make some delicious cocktails as well.
Cafe Jardin is a popular spot to grab a coffee or a drink in Jardin. It’s a great place to relax, people watch, and enjoy the views.
The cafe is only a bakery, so don’t go looking for a menu. But, they have some great pastries, desserts, and coffee.
Go Ziplining at Gulupa Ecolodge
Gulupa Ecolodge is a pretty amazing place to stay in Jardin. Not only is it one of the most beautiful places in town, but they also offer some great activities like ziplining.
They have two zip lines that go over the valley and offer some incredible views. After that, you can pay to hang out in their hammocks. The hammocks are suspended in the air and are a great way to relax.
The crew at Gulupa makes you feel very comfortable and safe while you’re zip-lining or climbing up to the hammocks. If you get the chance, I’d recommend swinging by Gulupa Ecolodge. It’s worth it for the experience.
From Gulupa Ecolodge or Cafe Jardin, you can continue the hike down to Mirador Cristo Rey.
Mirador Cristo Rey is a large monument of Jesus Christ that’s located on the edge of a cliff. From here, you have some incredible views of Jardin, the coffee plantations, and the valley below.
This is a great spot to watch the sunset, and it’s all downhill back to town from here. It’s important to watch the time though, because it gets dark quickly, and it’ll be hard to see the trail.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to get back to town before it gets too dark.
The Natural Beauty of Cascada La Escalera
Overall, Cascada La Escalera is an incredible place and a must-see if you are in Jardin. It’s a great spot to relax, swim, hike, and enjoy the incredible views. Make sure you add it to your list of things to do in Jardin!
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