Caribbean Cascades: Gozalandia Falls, Puerto Rico

Getting to this once secret site is easier than ever


Getting to this once secret site is easier than ever Most call it Gozalandia Falls, but you may also hear this cataract referred to as Las Cataratas, El Roble Waterfall or Charco de la Leche. By any name, it’s one of Puerto Rico’s favorite “secret” sites. Getting there will begin with a drive along the island’s twisting back roads to the town of San Sebastian, which is about a two hour drive west of San Juan, or a half hour from the west coast town of Aguadilla. Finding the pathway leading to the falls is not as difficult as in years past, as an adjacent landowner now provides roadside parking at the trailhead for a modest fee. Also easier is the actual route to the falls, which once required trial blazing on a series of unofficial dirt and mud paths that meandered through the woods and down to the stream, sometimes requiring a bit of climbing and a lot of careful footwork on slippery slopes. The growing popularity of this site has lead to the development and maintenance of a more formal trail, but getting to the water will still require about 15 minutes of trekking. There are actually two falls, an upper that is somewhat less visited, and the lower, which is the larger of the two, and quite popular with locals on the weekends. Both flow into pools that are suitable for swimming, and deep enough to dive off nearby rocks. Rumor has it that there are plans afoot to develop an eco resort adjacent to the falls, but for now, they remain one of the island’s more rewarding and rustic natural attractions.