As the island transitions into dry season, this weekend’s hike hopes to make the most out of the diminishing rain clouds with a trip to not one, not two, but a series of five unique waterfalls in the depths of Inarajan.
An easy hike, Waterfall Valley is a great beginner’s hike and is also perfect for families.
A ways after passing McKrauts Restaurant in Malojloj as you head south on Route 4, you’ll curve past 76 Circle K gas station and San Isidro Church. At the end of the long and straight stretch of road that follows is the first of two parking spots. Once you begin driving up a small hill, immediately prepare to park on the right-hand side of the road atop the hill beside a small coconut tree.
Hidden among an overgrown swath of sword grass is the hiking trail, which is also immediately atop the hill and to the right of the coconut tree.
For the purposes of this weekend’s hike, we will refer to the five waterfalls found here as Waterfall 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. Waterfall 1, although connected by the same river, is located separately from the rest of the waterfalls and requires a different parking spot and path, but is still an easy and worthwhile extension of the hike.
Waterfall 1 (Malojloj Falls): Bamboo oasis and freshwater life
Entering into the sand dune, follow the path for a few minutes until you reach the top of another grassy hill. From here, you can see the wide Waterfall Valley before you.
To the right you will see what almost looks like a lake for a second, but it’s just the Malojloj solar-panel farm established a few years ago. Looking straight to the valley below, you will see a distinct area filled with bamboo, an oasis in the jungle. The first waterfall lies there, so be sure to keep it as your mark.
Before descending the hill of open grassland, you might see a few different paths. Rest assured that they all end up in the same place, as you generally descend toward the bamboo area.
As you travel down the short and moderately steep hill, the trail can be slippery during or after the rain. Upon reaching the bottom, you will find that the trail is much narrower here, with vegetation walling off the sides.
You’ve almost made it once you enter the jungle. You might have to limbo underneath some branches at the jungle’s entrance, but that’s just part of the adventure.
Immediately after entering, follow the jungle path, and, less than a minute away, you should find yourself at the base of the falls next to the flowing river with a large swimming area before you. This is Waterfall 1 (Malojloj Falls).
There are many things to do here, but you might want to continue your trek before getting wet. Be sure to take a gander at the top of the waterfall, where there are several freshwater pools and a view.
To get there, cross the small river by hopping over protruding rocks, and be cautious of your footing over slippery moss and mud. Once you've reached the other side, travel up the small hill and around the cluster of bamboo to your right.
You should be on the left side of the main pool with a visible pathway along the waterfall’s hill before you. Follow this path up the hill. Be careful of your footing and look out for any handholds that can help you.
Semisteep, this trail is also very narrow. A short five minutes up this trail and you should find yourself peeking out into the area above the falls.
Up here, there are multiple little freshwater pools bursting with freshwater life including guppies, shrimp and other little creatures.
You can also look down to the area below the falls from where you entered, but be extra cautious as the ground up here is extra slippery.
While I don’t recommend swimming in the small and still freshwater pools, the courageous might opt to take a 20-foot leap into the main pool at the base of the falls.
Hikers should have no problem or worries jumping into the 8 to 12 feet of water at the base of the falls, but it is a pretty stark height to leap from.
If jumping's not for you, just retrace your footsteps to the base entrance and go for a swim from the bottom.
The swimming area ranges from two to twelve feet deep at the bottom and is a great place to relax and cool off underneath the swaying bamboo.
For the rest of the hike, retrace your footsteps back to your car. Less than a minute down the road is the next parking!
Traveling along the sloping and curving road, turn off the road onto the patch of grass before you'd turn left on the extreme curve. You should see a hiking trail that leads into another sand dune. Park here.
Waterfall 2: Rest and relaxation
Following the obvious path lined with old power poles, you should enter the sand dune and see the great valley before you again, just like at Waterfall 1.
This path will often (and more confusingly than the path at Waterfall 1) break off into other paths, but they, too, will always reconnect in the end.
Descending through tall sword grass, the path will eventually lead to another hill that slopes down to the rest of the path. Scramble down the dune in a short fun run to get to the rest of the trail.
Following the fern-lined path, you’ll soon find yourself at the top of yet another small hill, probably the steepest of them all.
Luckily, there is a stable rope for hikers to use on their descent. Clutching the rope and using any other handholds available, make your careful descent down the hill and don’t be ashamed to scoot down on your behind the whole way either (many seasoned hikers do it).
At the bottom of this descent is the flowing river, which continues from Waterfall 1 to the top of Waterfall 2.
To the left is the first waterfall on the separate trail. Note that you will have to literally travel down the waterfall to reach the others. Rest assured that this waterfall is short and rarely overflowing with water.
The best thing to do at this waterfall is to lay back on it, with the rush of water flowing around you underneath the jungle canopy – a nice relaxing moment before continuing your travel.
To descend, you'll have to scoot down on your behind, using another rope and other handholds.
The pool at the base of this fall is not ideal for swimming due to the large rock in the center, but it’s a great spot for pictures.
Waterfall 3: Massage by waterfall, anyone?
Moving away from Waterfall 2 please be careful of your surroundings, especially if you have young children. Just a little way from Waterfall 2 is an incredible 50-foot drop to Waterfall 3’s swimming area. The drop probably isn’t the best short cut to take, because the water in the pool below is only 2 to 4 feet deep..
To the left of the steep and deadly drop is the continuing path into the jungle. Following this straightforward path, you will travel over a few large rocks and logs for about five minutes.
Emerge from this path to find the flowing river again, then cross over and hook right, traveling upstream to get to Waterfall 3.
After a short walk, you’ll soon see Waterfall 3 from a distance. The area here is tricky, and there are many ways to get around, so decide which way makes most sense to you.
For the most part, much of this area swampy or covered by water, so be careful where you step. You might want to stick to the right of the flowing river.
While the water may not be deep enough for a swim, make your way to the falls for a nice cool-off underneath the tall waterfall before continuing your trip.
Waterfall 4: Hidden cave
To get to Waterfall 4, retrace your footsteps back to where you exited from the jungle and follow the river downstream.
Not even a minute away from that point is the next waterfall, a gem hidden in the jungle.
This is the place on the hike you'll probably spend the most time, so it’s probably best to set your belongings along the lefthand side of the hilltop before making your way down into the pool.
While there isn’t much water falling, Waterfall 4 has a decent swimming area, places to wade and swim, and even a small hidden cave.
Be sure to check out the inside of the cave, which is big enough for about three or four people and is about 4 feet deep.
Waterfall 5: More jumping and swimming fun
Waterfall 5 is immediately right next to Waterfall 4, so no further travel is necessary!
While this waterfall has the best area for swimming and comes with a conveniently placed boulder to sit on in the middle of its pool, there is only one way to get into it and that’s by jumping.
A modest 10-foot jump lands you in a very deep pool below, where there's also a cool rope swing hanging from a coconut tree.
To get back up, find the naturally made footholds along the right side of Waterfall 5 and use them and the rope that drapes over the falls to get back up.
To get back to your car, retrace your steps past Waterfalls 5, 4, 3, and 2 through the jungle and back up the short and steep hill. Happy hiking!