I’ve wanted to visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens ever since seeing some beautiful images that a friend of mine posted on Facebook a while back. When I shared my desires with another friend, he assisted me in getting the best prices available for the day trip to La Paz. If you’ve been following our blog, you know that I’m always looking for the best and least expensive ways to see and travel around Costa Rica. I had done research on tour packages from San Jose to La Paz, and they can be a little pricy, to say the least.
My friend hooked us up with a great guy named Mauricio, who lives here in Grecia. He was not only our driver, but also a professional tour guide who knew everything there is to know about La Paz and the surrounding towns. Mauricio picked me and Tezzy up from our casa (house) at 8 AM on a Thursday morning, and we headed out toward La Paz. On the way up, following the winding roads for which Costa Rica is known, we passed many dairy farms, crops, and picture-postcard scenery. Mauricio stopped several times during our trip to pick wild mulberries and blackberries growing roadside and shared them with us.
We couldn’t have asked for a better day! The weather was warm and clear going up the mountain. It took us approximately one hour to reach La Paz Waterfall Gardens. I’ve often heard that it’s best to arrive early and beat some of the throngs of tourists because La Paz is a “must see” attraction when vacationing or living in Costa Rica. There are lots of things to do in La Paz, especially if you’re staying overnight, including the ultra-upscale hotel Peace Lodge within the private wildlife refuge of La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park.
One of the main attractions for me was getting up close and personal with the toucans in the aviary. Indeed, the gardens are a bird watcher’s paradise, with some of the most exotic and colorful birds in Costa Rica. The aviary serves as a refuge for wild birds that have either been captured illegally or donated by their owners. Many of these birds lack the basic skills to survive in the wild on their own.
If you like butterflies, you’ve got to see the butterfly observatory, where 20 different species of butterflies soar freely in the natural habitat enclosure and even land right on your hand. Other spectacular exhibits include an area where 26 different species of hummingbirds will fly up and feed right out of your hand, the spider monkeys and white-faced monkeys, jungle cats big and small, frogs, and the serpentarium, which exhibits 30 of the most beautiful and deadliest snakes of Costa Rica.
Have you ever felt the spray of a 120-foot waterfall on your face? Well, we have. However, I must say that, if you’re not somewhat physically fit, getting back to the top can be a bit challenging. It was for me—and I’m in pretty good shape for an old guy but that kicked my ass. The waterfalls are one of the biggest attractions we wanted to see. With more than 70 acres of wildlife and forest to explore, La Paz Waterfall Gardens allows you to wander through 3.5 kilometers of paved trails taking you above, below, and right next to five awesome waterfalls. The trails wind along the La Paz River through both clouds and the rainforest, showing the diversity of the plant and wildlife without disturbing the natural surroundings.
At the end of our tour, we stopped at Colibries Restaurant on the premises and enjoyed a delicious buffet lunch, which included typical Costa Rican food coupled with traditional favorites like pizza and French fries. We sat on the spacious patio, and lunch was only enhanced by the view of the rainforest, the chirping of exotic and colorful birds in a nearby tree, and the sounds of cascading waterfalls in the distance.
This was truly a good day!
(Written Before Covid – 19 Outbreak)