La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park: A Must-See in Costa Rica
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park should be your first choice if you want to see the greatest of Costa Rica's fauna and natural splendour. With a range of activities and exhibitions for visitors of all ages and interests, this magnificent park is approximately 45 minutes from San Jose Airport. This blog article will explain why La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is one of my favourite locations to travel in Costa Rica as well as what you can do and see there.
What is La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park?
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is a privately owned ecological attraction that covers 70 acres of land, including 40 acres of cloud and rainforest, and 30 acres of pastureland. The park features five stunning waterfalls that cascade along the La Paz River, as well as the largest animal sanctuary in Costa Rica, with over 100 species of animals. The park also has 3.5 kilometers of hiking trails that take you through the lush tropical forest, where you can admire the flora and fauna of this biodiverse country.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park was founded in 2000 by Lee Banks, an American entrepreneur who fell in love with Costa Rica and decided to create a place where people could enjoy and learn about its natural wonders. The park is open year-round from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and has a buffet restaurant, a souvenir shop, a spa, and a boutique hotel called The Peace Lodge.
What can you see and do at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park?
There is so much to see and do at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park that you could easily spend a whole day there. Here are some of the highlights:
Waterfalls: The main attraction of the park is the five waterfalls that flow along the La Paz River. You can access them by walking along a paved trail that has stairs, bridges, and viewing platforms. The waterfalls are named Templo, Magia Blanca, Encantada, Escondida, and La Paz. Each one has its own charm and beauty, and you can hear the soothing sound of the water as you walk. The waterfalls are especially impressive during the rainy season (May-November), when they have more volume and force.
Animal Sanctuary: The park is home to the largest animal sanctuary in Costa Rica, where you can see over 100 species of animals that have been rescued or donated by the Costa Rican Wildlife Ministry. Most of these animals cannot be released back into the wild due to various reasons, such as being injured, orphaned, or illegally kept as pets. The park provides them with a safe and comfortable environment where they can live as naturally as possible. Some of the animals you can see at the park are jaguars, pumas, ocelots, monkeys, sloths, toucans, macaws, hummingbirds, snakes, frogs, butterflies, and more. You can also interact with some of them at the petting zoo or the trout lake.
Hiking Trails: The park has 3.5 kilometers of hiking trails that take you through different habitats and ecosystems within the cloud and rainforest. You can enjoy the fresh air and the green scenery as you walk among ferns, bromeliads, orchids, heliconias, and other plants. You can also spot different birds and insects along the way. The trails are well-maintained and have signs and maps to guide you. They are suitable for people of all fitness levels and ages.
Historical House Museum: The park also has a historical house museum that showcases the traditional rural life of Costa Rica in the early 20th century. You can see how people lived in a typical farmhouse (casita) with an ox cart (carreta), a clay oven (horno), a coffee mill (trapiche), and other tools and utensils. You can also learn about the culture and history of Costa Rica through exhibits and displays.
Buffet Restaurant: After exploring the park, you can enjoy a delicious buffet lunch at the Colibries Restaurant. The buffet offers a variety of dishes that reflect the Costa Rican cuisine, such as rice and beans (gallo pinto), chicken stew (olla de carne), fried plantains (patacones), cheese tortillas (quesadillas), salads, pizza, fruits, desserts, and more. You can also drink unlimited fresh fruit juice, coffee, or tea.
How to get to La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park?
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is located in the province of Alajuela, about 45 minutes from San Jose Airport. The easiest way to get there is by car or by booking a tour with a reputable company. You can also take a public bus from San Jose to Vara Blanca, and then take a taxi to the park. The park has a large parking lot and a security guard.
The entrance fee to the park is $50 for adults and $34 for children (3-12 years old) for tourists, and $30 for adults and $21 for children for locals and residents. The buffet lunch is $14 for adults and $8 for children for both tourists and locals. You can buy your tickets online or at the park.
Where to stay near La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park?
If you want to extend your visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park, you can stay at The Peace Lodge, a boutique hotel that is part of the park. The Peace Lodge has been voted the most romantic hotel in Costa Rica by Honeymoon Hotspots International, and offers luxurious accommodations with stunning views of the forest and the waterfalls. The rooms have fireplaces, jacuzzis, balconies, hammocks, and rainforest showers. The hotel also has a spa, a pool, a bar, and three restaurants.
The Peace Lodge is not cheap, but it is worth every penny if you want to treat yourself to an unforgettable experience. The rates vary depending on the season and the room type, but they start from $400 per night. You can book your room online or by phone.
If you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, you can also find other hotels and lodges nearby, such as Poas Volcano Lodge, El Silencio Lodge & Spa, or Hotel Las Orquideas Inn.
Why visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park?
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica if you want to immerse yourself in nature and wildlife. You can see some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the country, as well as a variety of animals that are native to Costa Rica. You can also learn about the culture and history of Costa Rica through the historical house museum. The park is suitable for people of all ages and interests, and offers a fun and educational experience.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is also conveniently located near San Jose Airport, making it an ideal destination for your first or last day in Costa Rica. You can easily combine it with other attractions in the area, such as Poas Volcano National Park or Braulio Carrillo National Park.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is a must-see in Costa Rica that will leave you amazed and inspired by the beauty and diversity of this country. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and that it gave you some useful information and tips for your visit. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. And don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family who are planning to visit Costa Rica!