La Paz Waterfall Gardens
- Location : Vara Blanca, 7 miles from Poasito
- Altitude : 4,200 to 5,225 feet
- Area : 70 acres
- Hours : 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily
- Telephone : 506-2482-2720
- Entrance Fee : $42.00 per person
Five picturesque waterfalls, fed by high-altitude rivers surrounded by pristine forest on 2.5 miles of hiking trails, is only one of many wonders at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.read more close
On the northeastern slopes of the Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and wildlife refuge encompasses a 40-acre wildlife refuge, 30- acre pasture, cloud and rainforest as well as an orchid garden.
A self-guided walking tour winds through an aviary, jungle cat exhibit, butterfly and hummingbird exhibits, monkey habitat, serpentarium, frog exhibit, and a reproduction of a century-old Costa Rican home before ending with the impressive waterfalls. Among the spectacular creatures visitors will encounter rainbow-billed toucans, scarlet macaws, blue morpho butterflies, white-throated capuchin monkeys, poison dart frogs, bushmaster snakes, two-toed sloths and a jaguar.
La Paz rescues and rehabilitates animals taken from their habits, only those that can’t return to the wild live permanently at the refuge.
A minimum of 2 hours is suggested to complete the 2.2 miles of hiking trails and various nature exhibits, but a 4-hour visit, with lunch (included in the price), offers a more leisurely tour of the gardens.
The weather around La Paz can be cool – around 65º to 75º F. The area receives an average of 14-15 feet of rain per year; a poncho or umbrella is recommended.
Flora & Fauna:
Marmosets, White-faced, Spider and Howler monkeys swing through their enclosures at La Paz. The hummingbird habitat contains 26 species (the most in the world). Other mammals featured at the garden include two-toed sloths, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundi, margays and jaguar. There are also 40 species of birds, among them Rainbow Billed Toucans and Scarlet Macaws; plus more than 23 frog species and 30 snake species. In addition to the large collection of animals, La Paz boasts orchid, heliconia and bromeliad exhibits.
The four-star Peace Lodge shares the park's grounds and the onsite restaurant, Los Colibries, received the highest rating from the Costa Rican Tourism Ministry.
Bus: From Calle 12 and Avenida 9 in San Jose, take the bus to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui. Make sure it passes through Vara Blanca and La Virgen. Ask the bus driver to drop you off at the entrance to La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
Car: From San Jose, take the Pan-American Highway to Alajuela. After the Alajuela turnoff, continue on the same road for 12 miles. Follow the signs for Poás. A the T-intersection next to the Jaulares restaurant turn right. Follow this for a mile into the town of Poasito and take a right at the intersection with a sign stating Heredia-Vara Blanca–Sarapiqui. Turn left at the gas station in Vara Blanca and keep going for 3 miles. La Paz will be on the left.