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Trek to Gozalandia Waterfall in San Sebastian

Gozalandia o Las Cataratas de San Sebastián

Ver en espanolView in English Posted on Jan 7th, 2010 by • Updated on Feb 4th, 2014
Servicios de Traduccion prestados por la New School of Languages
Gozalandia Falls

Waterfalls (cascadas or saltos, in Spanish) are one of those natural beauties Ray and I try to find as we travel around Puerto Rico. We know there are loads of them in Puerto Rico, but very few of them are very well known and easy to find.

Gozalandia or Las Cataratas or El Roble Waterfall in San Sebastian is sometimes called the secret waterfall even though it is actually on a couple of the official Puerto Rico tourism maps. I guess it is not that secret after all!

But, actually finding it is not that easy and one has to be a little adventurous. With the help of some people on the TripAdvisor.com Puerto Rico forum who provided the initial directions, we set off to find this secret treasure! Note- 1/14- things have changed a lot since we went in 2010! Not hard to find at all but still a bit tricky, still not for everyone.

The Waterfall

Located in the town of San Sebastian, this waterfall is really pretty. Not only is the waterfall pretty tall (about 50 feet, I would guess), it was also kind of wide (about 20-30 feet). There was a pool at the bottom of the falls that people swim in that was deep and clean. This beauty has even been in a few movies (most recently “A Perfect Getaway”)!

Gozalandia Falls

The pool is deep enough that, some people jump off of the rocks into the water. There is also a small underwater "cave" on the right of the waterfall that people swim into. I hear there is a good-sized air pocket above it where one can surface and breathe. I have seen pictures where a couple of people fit inside there. Pretty cool. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to play and explore as just minutes after we got to the falls, it started to downpour.

A word to the wise — leave any stream or river during rain storms. Flash floods happen often and are very dangerous. So, once the pouring rain started we knew that we had to leave right away. But we will be back to play! Note- 3/12- we did go back and enjoyed the pool and underwater cave. It was truly magical!

Getting There

Now, here is the catch with this waterfall — one has to cross private property to get to it. Of course, everyone I heard from says it is OK to go, but I don’t know who actually owns the land and so we never asked the owner. I hope he doesn’t mind! New info 1/14- the owner is actually ok with it and now provides parking for $5! Yea!

There is a driveway/road on the left just at a curve in the road. Look for the parking sign and park in a lot for $5.

It road goes up and down pretty steeply in spots. You will find the path downhill, and then a man-made pond with pavilion around it.

Now you have to go to the left of the pond and find some paths into the forest (we were able to hear the river and falls below). We then searched for a path that will led us down below the falls (it was to the left). The path is well-used but it is very difficult and slippery getting down to the falls. Note 1/14- it seems there are now slippery, muddy stairs for the last part down to the falls! This whole trip takes maybe 10-15 minutes on the way down.

Details

This is how we go there- Once we were on Route 111 in San Sebastian, we turned north onto Route 446. We took this a short way until a large bridge on the right. We turned right, went across the bridge and drove up the road about 0.6 miles. You will see a large gate on the left. Right around that area, we noticed places on the sides where others have parked but we would recommend you park in the lots for $5.

Gozalandia Falls

Ray y yo tratamos siempre de buscar bellezas naturales tales como cascadas y saltos de agua cuando viajamos alrededor de Puerto Rico. Sabemos que hay muchas en la isla aunque muy pocas son conocidas o fáciles de encontrar.

Gozalandia es otro nombre para Las cataratas de San Sebastián. Son también conocidad como Las cataratas secretas a pesar de que están en algunos mapas turísticos de la isla. No creo que van a ser tan secretas después de este relato.

Encontrarlas, sin embargo, no es tan fácil y uno debe ser algo aventurero. Con la ayuda de algunas personas del foro de Trip Advisor, nos dimos a la tarea de encontrar este tesoro escondido!

LA CASCADA

Esta cascada esta localizada en el pueblo de San Sebastián del Pepino y es realmente bella. Mide cerca de 50 pies de largo y entre 20–30 pies de ancho. Abajo hay una charca limpia y honda. ¡Algunas escenas de películas han sido filmadas en este bello lugar (mas recientemente "A Perfect Getaway")!

Gozalandia Falls

La charca es tan profunda que algunas personas saltan al agua desde las rocas. Hay también una pequeña cueva subterránea a la derecha de la cascada donde la gente también salta. He escuchado que hay una burbuja de aire dentro. Interesante. Desgraciadamente no tuvimos el tiempo para explorar y juguetear en el agua ya que a solo minutos de llegar, comenzó a llover copiosamente.

Un consejo a todos– Abandonen los ríos y cascadas cuando hay tormentas eléctricas. De modo que una vez comenzó el mal tiempo sabíamos que debíamos salir del agua inmediatamente. ¡Pero, volveremos a juguetear allí algún día!

COMO LLEGAR

Ahora viene lo bueno — para llegar a la cascada hay que cruzar una propiedad privada. Obviamente todo el mundo nos dijo que no había problema, pero no se quien es el propietario del terreno así que nunca pudimos pedirle permiso. ¡Espero que a él no le importe!

Tuvimos que pasar por debajo y por encima de una cadena la cual sujetaba un portón que estaba cerrado. Luego continuamos por un camino de lodo entre un rebaño vacuno. Al principio tuve un poco de recelo al ver a los toros sueltos, pero resultó que ellos tenían más miedo y se apartaron dejando el camino libre. Continuamos camino abajo y llegamos a un estanque rodeado de un pabellón. Me sospecho que esta área se esta preparando para una construcción o para ser desarrollada.

Seguimos caminando por la vereda, la cual se ensanchaba en este lugar, adentrándonos en la maleza y ya comenzábamos a escuchar el rio y la cascada abajo. Luego comenzamos a buscar el camino que nos llevara a la chorrera. (Estaba a la izquierda). El sendero se ve que se utiliza mucho e incluso tiene unas barandas de seguridad y también sogas las cuales nos permitieron bajar por el camino resbaladizo hacia los chorros. De ahí en adelante se tomarán cerca de 10–15 minutos en llegar.

Para subir nuevamente– como les indiqué, llovía copiosamente– el camino se convirtió en un salto de agua enfangada. Cuando llegamos al carro, estábamos empapados y llenos de lodo, pero valió la pena.

DETALLES

Así llegamos al lugar– En la ruta 111 en San Sebastián, giramos hacia el norte en la carretera 446. Tomamos este atajo hasta encontrar un puente grande a la derecha. Doblamos a la derecha, cruzamos el puente y continuamos directo por cerca de 0.8 millas. Hay una casa a la derecha de la carretera la cual tiene un gran hangar de metal. Una vez ahí, notamos un lugar a la derecha donde estaban estacionados algunos carros. Hay una cerca con una abertura pequeña la cual estaba cerrada con una cadena. Nos resulto fácil pasar por debajo y por encima de la misma.

Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.

Utilice el siguiente mapa para localizar los lugares mencionados en este artículo. Puede hacer clic en cualquiera de las marcas de posición para ver las coordenadas GPS de ese lugar.

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid ... then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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19 comments
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  1. I love this waterfall. It is so different from your typical waterfall. I always comment that it reminds me of an ancient Indian Tribal Chief’s face! It is quite a trek to get there, not a bad walk, but tricky on slippery rocks and mud. But oh so worth it…just don’t trip! I am hoping that they are making the area easier to travel, it looked last year that they may be making some attempts to make the walk a little easier.

  2. The movie he’s talking about is “A Perfect Getaway” with Steve Zahn and Milla Jojovich! Watch out though, they say its in hawaii!

    To me, it’s the best waterfall in puerto rico! Go on the weekends to really see what Gozalandia is about–aka when there are other people around. You will see you can actually climb into the waterfall and jump out of it. I’d recommend watching the crazy locals go off the top first to calm your nerves! It’s dangerous and they’ve had people die there, so be careful because that air lift ain’t comin for a while. I don’t even think my cell worked down there!

    Like the other waterfalls, the rainfall affects the size of the waterfall…so if it rains for a few days then the waterfall is going to be nuts ( like you see above) or if its pretty dry the waterfall is pretty weak and very easy to hop out of! Be careful!

    Also guys, there is a rope swing to the left. Quick tip: you have to hold onto the rope, swing yourself to the large rock wall on the left and kick off it to get a good swing where you will clear the rocks and go into the deep

    HAVE FUN and clean up after yourself!

  3. This is one of the best ways to experience the Real Puerto Rico. I have been to this waterfall a few times and the last trip there, they were actually setting up for “The Perfect Getaway”. Thus, I traveled up the river to another waterfall which I like too. Both are on the same gentlemans property. I met him my first time there. A little out of my element I took the wrong path and he drove up on a 4 wheeler and chatted with me. I apologized for being on his property and he gave me a very nice invitation to see the waterfall. He gave me directions and offered to carry me over there on his 4 wheeler. It is a beautifule place and the other fall is great too. I don’t remember the rope being on the lower fall but I know there is one on the upper fall. There is also an underwater cave on the right side in the water looking at the fall. It depends on the water level as to whether or not you can see the enterance. Looking at the picture above, just to the right of the water there is a dark area, this is wher the cave is. You will have to work to get there because after you walk a little bit you have to either jump the fall or climb down the side. Great exercise but dangerous. Make sure you get your footing because it is slippery. It is a bit confusing to find but worth the work. Go early to avoid getting lost.

    Everytime I have been there have been locals that are most helpful and fun to watch. It is really a great slice of the natural Puerto Rico that is not on the tourist maps! (well most of them anyway)

    This is private property so please be respectful to the owner and to nature. Please clean up after yourself! I am actually leaving in 2 days to visit again and look forward to seeing my faithful waterfall companion. When you go through the fence above (there is another way with a wide white paved road too) you will feel lost but look for the clearing and listen for the fall, you will hear it and the locals playing.

  4. We really enjoyed this waterfall on a recent trip. The pool is quite deep and jumping from the cliffs is quite a joy! Several of the jumps require you to clear the overhanging rock faces below, so make sure that you jump way out into the pool if you go. The cave is also pretty cool and not too difficult to access. I would suggest that you use your feet to feel for the floor of the cave, as this will allow you to stand once you’re in there.

    We did have some difficulty finding the gate near the parking area. Is it located down the street from the metal shed (westward towards San Sebastian). The trailhead is located near a cement runoff ditch on the North side of the road (left if you are headed uphill).

  5. Hey guys!

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for posting this information online! I went to check out the falls today and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. As someone else mentioned, there is another access point I found to be much better with a white paved road. This one is much easier to use as you don’t have to follow the very narrow footpath littered with rocks. You can access it by simply driving a little farther down the road than the coordinates mentioned above and you will see there is a better place to park, one that is used by many people. I also like this way better because it makes carrying things a lot easier… like a cooler :) bring lunch and spend the day! the locals do it, why not you?

    So thanks again, I couldn’t have found this place without your help!

    -Kaylie

  6. Thanks for the GPS coordinates!!!…. was so much easy to find the waterfalls with that. Really appreciated.

  7. well my experience was a little different!! i could say i was one of the locals in san sebastian since i lived there for 9 months! i only visited this waterfall once though, but if you have locals who help you, the way down is much easier! at first the drip coming from the chained fence is a little difficult without the proper shoes (i learned wearing flipflops) but since my boyfriend and his friends( who happen to be born in P.R.) took me down a muddy but not that steep path! so techinacally there are other ways that the natives found easier then the path that takes you to the top of the waterfall with just the option of jumping or using the rope to climb down!! it was quite amazing, there were many locals on this hot day, probably up to 50! i even saw some with small charcoal grills cooking on flat rocks. we spent most of the day there and i even saw two crazy teenage boys jump off the waterfalls top. later my boyfriend helped me swim to the mentioned cave, and its really not that big! you just hold your breath swim less then a foot foward and wallah, a tiny cave thats less then 4ft tall! i manenged to fit me my boyfriend and his friend into the cave but got out after 10 minutes because our body heat the steam and humidity in the air made it hard to breathe!! later to our surprise a casting crew came down, for what movie im not exaclty sure of and flimed some scenes! it was amazing to see so many people be silent and crowd around to watch the short fliming! after they finished the director thanked the crowd with ” viva puerto rico!” and gracias a todos (thanks to everyone!) it was quite an expiernece!!

  8. This is my favorite spot in PR. It’s interesting how touristy it’s become. I’m originally from Puerto Rico and I enjoyed this “charco” many years. My parents visited this place as kids as well. It’s so great that the road is paved now. We would hike out there 15-20 years ago by foot that entire area. It took us nearly 40min-1hr to hike but so worth the trip…It’s still just as great but i’ve been disappointed with the amount of liter over the past years. …wish people would be more conscious about keeping it clean

  9. This was a great water fall to visit. Just make sure when you park that you are completely off the road or I here you will get a ticket. The waterfall is awesome however the current is strong and the pool is deep. I would reccomend the trail about the main waterfall. You can sit in smaller pools and not as many people. Lot’s of locals and I would wish they would keep up after themselves. Steep climb down so becareful.

  10. Este domingo, 24 de junio de 2012 fui con mis padres y el camino es malisimo. Está fangoso y todas las personas que estaban bajando resbalaban y tu muchos problemas en bajar a mis padres mayores. Al fin no llegaron al rio. Ademas, el rio está llena de limo y la mayoria de la gente se caia. Yo caminaba con cuidado. Es una lastima tan bonito lugar, pero super peligro, no apto para personas mayores, ni lo que sufres de las piernas. Adicional, es bien peligros para los muchachos que se tiran desde lo alto de las cascada.

  11. Yes,it is not an easy trek. It is an adventure to get there- so not for older people or people with bad legs.

  12. We were just June 21 and now there was a parking lot and a $5 fee. It’s was quite an adventure, very dangerous because it’s muddy and slippery. It is beautiful but it started pouring so we didn’t stay long.

  13. If there is a better warerfall and swimming hole combo in Puerto Rico, I haven’t discovered it yet. Gozalandia was amazing. I would say that it’s getting pretty well known. I was there a few days ago on a Friday, and I was suprised at how many people were there. I know it’s summer, but dang. I kept double checking to make sure it wasn’t Saturday or Sunday. I’ll try Mon through Thur next time.

    Just follow the directions provided in this article, and you should get there pretty easily. Once you see the big gate with the the long and wide driveway behind it, you are pretty much there. The current $5 charge per vehicle was totally reasonable.

    I truly loved this place.

  14. Sorry – what are the gps coordinates? I can’t seem to find them in the comments.

  15. Elizabeth- go to the bottom of the article and you will see a map. On the map there are 2 points marked with a placemarker, one is the parking on is the falls. Click on the little icon and the GPS coordinates will show up.

  16. Thank you!

  17. We just went to Gozalandia today (thanks to this webpage) and it was awesome. The crowd was small when we first got there (6 people at around 1pm), but grew quickly to 30 people within an hour. The locals we great and showed us the ropes to proper jumps and the cavern. I got some great GoPro footage (search YouTube Gozalandia (BMLJ). The swimming hole was refreshing and overall, I highly recommend this spot.

  18. Definitely a great spot to go. We went there (12 of us) on our way to go camping at Maricao (posted review there too). As stated above, the owner of the property does charge $5 per car to park there and seemingly he stays there and your car is safe–good to know. And, the impressive part is he takes credit card as well as cash! We were the first ones there, but many high-schoolers came down and starting jumping off the cliffs. Jump at your own risk, as the rocks are slick and dangerous. The locals did it–so those who traveled with me jumped as well. Water was cool, clean, and refreshing. A nice hidden gem nestled down a nice trail. After you go to this one, walk further up the trail–and there’s more. Thanks for the information on here, everything was accurate.

  19. I lived in Rincon for a year and have been to the waterfall many times. I didnt see anyone mention the second waterfall up stream from this one. It is quite a trek and the only way is in the water. Its maybe a 1/2 mile.
    It is well worth the effort. it is just as big and much more wild there.
    bring a go-pro. Love Puerto Rico!!!!! What a great Island!!

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