Monte Oscuro Waterfall

A Morning Walk to the Monte Oscuro Waterfall

By Kristy Martin. Photos: Jarryd Bravo.

Placing one foot in front of the other with painstaking care, I attempt to cross the flowing river. Armed with a walking stick, I dig it into the riverbed for balance. But the large rocks I’m treading are wet and the soles of my hiking boots struggle to grip the slippery surfaces. Without warning, one shoe slides out from under me and down I go, plonking straight into the river below.

Suddenly, I'm flailing about in a metre of water, fully clothed and trying desperately to keep hold of my stick, while my free hand grasps at the slimy rocks around me. My feet can't seem to find the bottom of the river and when they do, the current whips my legs from under me again.

Monte Oscuro Waterfall

Eventually, I clamber gracelessly out of the water and onto a rock. Stunned and drenched, I can't help but wonder if my camera, tucked away inside a dry bag on my back, has managed to survive the dunking I just gave it. The message here? Be sure to wear the right shoes when hiking through a river. Also, never underestimate the power of Mother Nature.

My partner and I — a pair of Australian tourists — are on a tour with Javier Santos, a friendly local guide who has offered to show us the sights of Puerto Escondido.

Monte Oscuro Waterfall

Today’s adventure is to Monte Oscuro waterfall, about an hour’s drive from Puerto, followed by a 90-minute hike through the forest. Javier promises nature tours — and nature is what you’ll get. We find ourselves climbing down slopes of thigh-high grass, scrambling over boulders and wading through freshwater streams. We get clawed and scratched by malicious branches and the mosquitos on the trek are unforgiving. But that’s all part of the adventure, right?

We started out just after sunrise; this is the best time of day for exploring.

Monte Oscuro Waterfall

It’s that golden hour, perfect for taking photos, before the heat sets in and the rest of the world wakes up. We pass through the small community of San Martin Caballero, where chickens scoot underfoot and dogs lie lazily on dirt roads, staring with suspicion as we walk by.

Soon we are deep in nature; the only sounds to be heard are the calls of birds and insects. We stroll through spectacular fields of purple wildflowers, where butterflies and bees dance pleasantly among the plants. Dewdrops sparkle in the morning light, giving the place a magical feel.

Javier points out different flora and fauna, including the ‘love tree’ (two different species of trees locked together in an embrace), hanging termite nests and recently harvested fields of corn. We pass a small house where corn and coffee beans are laid out in the sun and laundry is draped over fences.

When we reach the waterfall, we stand in awe of the beauty and tranquillity of the location. Our only companions are a flock of snowy egrets congregating on the tree tops, occasionally diving for fish. Then we enjoy a picnic of sandwiches and fruit, and relax to the calming rush of water.

Monte Oscuro Waterfall

Then we enter the cool water, and the heat of the day and the bites scratches we’ve incurred all disappear. All the hardships of the trek, even the unintentional submersion in the river, were worth the swim under the falls.

Contact Javier Santos at,
(954) 135 0188, to schedule a trip.

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