Our car bounced and rattled over the rocky dirt path toward La Cascada del Diablo (The Devil’s Waterfall). This picture doesn’t begin to describe the roads – they get a lot worse.
The population of Mogotes really thins out once you drive out of the town.
For an hour we trundled through the trees and mountains, past lazy cows, grazing horses and farmers planting their fields with coffee, yucca, bananas and sugarcane.
There are no signs directing you to the waterfall. The only indication is a scratched out plaque in someone’s yard inviting you to open their gate and park on the grass. (If you happen upon the right turn in the first place and the roads aren’t washed out from rain.) The locals are friendly though. They’ll help!
The owner of the house lead us through his property down a hill to a small waterfall and pointed us toward a thin path. Scrambling over rocks and tree roots, lowering ourselves down a steep path, we eventually came out at the bottom of the big waterfall – The Devil’s Cascade. It was a long way back up.
Water rushed out through an arch at the top, spilling over a steep drop into a blue pool below that ran into a small stream.
All you could hear were birds chirping and the sound of the waterfall. It was serene. We walked across the rocks, relaxed for a while and snapped some photos.
Then it started to rain to we began our climb back to the top.
Down a similar trail nearby, lies the natural wonder El Hoyo de los Pajaros (The hole of the Birds)- a deep tropical hole full of big nocturnal birds that fly out around 6:30pm every evening.
The hole is about 14 meters across and 180 meters deep with water flowing through the bottom.
The walls of the hole are covered in ferns and other plants. There is no fence, but you can lie on your stomach and peer into the darkness. Nearby there are a few green lagoons to explore.
The Hole surprisingly loud. The birds sound like an entire zoo of animals echoing up from the middle of the earth. There is legend that when the birds fly out in the evening, they make their way to the coast for food and back again to sleep during the day.
The origin of the hole is the source of many stories. It is said to be a natural phenomenon by some and others believe it is the result of a meteor. As far as I know, there has been no extensive study. I would be interested to know if that has changed.
When the sky starts to darken, small blue and black birds begin to circle around the top of the hole and fly off in one direction. When the darkness sets in, big black birds swoop like jets in and out so quickly you can barely see them and then they start to circle their way out and fly off in the same direction. It’s strangely predictable. Unfortunately by the time the birds emerge, it is too dark to take any decent photos. Bring a flashlight to make your way back to the road. There are no lights.
In the darkness, the fireflies spark in the bushes and we rattle our way back to the town alone on a pitch black path apart from the headlights that lead the way and the occasional farmer leading a donkey home.