When you travel to Puerto Rico, you probably will stay on a resort, or go to the popular towns and cities like San Juan and Ponce. But, I encourage you to rent a car and get off the beaten path.
Before our trip to Puerto Rico, I did in-depth research about the best places to go. Most of the places were super popular and well known. So, I kept digging until I found a very old forum on Facebook from 2009, that spoke about two hidden gem waterfalls. Apparently only locals visit these spots, so no one else really knows about them. These falls are called The La Planta Waterfalls.
To get to the falls, you have to drive up a narrow, one lane road that winds in and out of the island’s mountains. Eventually, it turns to dirt and takes a sharp turn into a very tight parking lot, leading to an abandoned structure. There are two local people who live next door to the falls that charge you a few dollars to park, and in return they will “watch your car”.
When you go to these falls, you want to make sure you bring a waterproof bag! This is super important because to get to the second falls (which is the more impressive one), you have to walk up a river for 1/3 mile, and the water can get up to your chest. But don’t worry – the river doesn’t have a strong current and it is only a ten minute or so walk. You do want to make sure you also bring shoes because it is fairly rocky in some areas.
Okay, so when you walk down the trail, the first waterfall will be about 500 feet on your left. It is a beautiful natural fall that glides down the side of a legitimate mountain. Take some pictures or jump in the pool at the base of the falls for the ultimate experience.
Next, you’ll begin your pilgrimage to the second falls. Take a left past the first falls and walk upstream. You’ll want to try to stay on the right side of the river, as this is the easiest path to take. Make sure to look up! The river is in a narrow valley – look at the walls of the cliffs, the green vegetation and the mountains protruding above you. Eventually, after 10 minutes, you round a corner and BAM! There is the second La Planta water fall. This was an old dam, so it is technically an artificial waterfall. But, it has an amazing view with the mountains surrounding you at every angle and encompassing the river in the distance.
Finally, you made it. Pick a rock or a find a deep pool of water between the boulders, and enjoy the falls. When we got there, the locals were all laying out on the rocks, having some mixed drinks and cliff jumping into the river. If you’re brave enough, you can climb the face of the waterfall and take a small tunnel behind it, bringing you to above the falls. From here, you can jump into a shallow pool. Beware – these pools are very narrow and shallow, and the jump is about 3 stories high. But, if you’ve got the guts – do it!
The locals were all super friendly to us and even offered to take us up to jump. We said no, but took plenty of photos and videos of their dives!
For the location, follow this address exactly: Tanamá, Arecibo, Puerto Rico, Arecibo 00612, Puerto Rico. If you don’t it may take you to someone’s backyard in the middle of the jungle (which is what happened to us). Enjoy your trip and I hope you love the falls as much as I do!