A Costa Rican architect quit his job to search for lost waterfalls

Ayil Waterfall talamanca Costa Rica

A Costa Rican architect quit his job to search for lost waterfalls

Javier Elizondo travels the country seeking for the most amazing, exuberant and lost waterfalls in Costa Rica.

Javier Elizondo on the lower point of a waterfall. Image by Javier Elizondo

Sleeping on a hammock every day, staying the night in stranger’s homes and spending weeks in the woods is a dream job for some, and this man lives it every day. Javier is an architect and was working with one of the best architecture firms in the country when one day, after a hiking expedition, he realised he had another purpose in life rather than working in an office. “I was looking for a dream”, said Javier.

Aerial view of a waterfall in Costa Rica. Image by Javier Elizondo

For him, research was part of the plan. He mapped waterfalls all over Costa Rica for more than two years looking for 450 lost waterfalls and selecting a hundred of them to go and find them, before quitting his job. He got together with some friends and started planning trips that led to the discovery of 90 waterfalls. It had been believed that some of them didn’t even exist.

Javier Elizondo surrounded by trees on an expedition. Image by Javier Elizondo

Javier believes that his journey is all about conservation. He thinks that if he documents all the routes and ways to get to these places, it will be easier for people to get to know them and preserve the waterfalls and the flora and fauna. Costa Rica has over 400 waterfalls, most of them unexplored, so his plan is to visit them all and document his trips in a project called The Waterfall Trail.

What is he looking for? Flow and height. The higher the waterfall, the larger the flow and that’s what makes a fall more interesting. That’s how he found out his favorite one: Cacho Negro. The waterfall is in the heart of National Park Braulio Carrillo. It is huge, monumental, has a crater and two twin waterfalls inside of it.

Cacho Negro Waterfall. Image by Javier Elizondo

The falls shine through the night and bring a completely different atmosphere during the day. Javier says he has traveled a lot around the world and has never seen something similar before. “Waterfalls can be colorful, lighter or darker, can have shades of brown or gold, people only have to look for the right one”.

Lonely Planet Article | Words: Maria Esther Abissi


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