La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge is on the southern slope of Poas Volcano, where La Paz River forms one of Costa Rica’s most breathtaking waterfalls, La Paz Waterfall. This park aimed at preserving and exhibiting the country’s diverse flora, fauna and history through its many observatories and gardens.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge is the most visited privately owned ecological attraction in Costa Rica, featuring the best hiking near San José, the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica, rescued wildlife preserve with over 100 species of animals and an environmental education program.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge has over 3.5 km of walking trails and 10 animal exhibits to enjoy, where you can see the magic of the cloud forest and rain forest with lush vegetation with a large exhibit of orchids, heliconias and bromeliads, flowing clear rivers, five spectacular waterfalls, birds, butterflies and much more.
In fact, the park has the closest waterfalls to San Jose and Poas Volcano, being La Paz Waterfall the most famous waterfall in Costa Rica. However the best waterfalls, El Templo, Magia Blanca, Encantada and Escondida, are actually above the La Paz waterfall along a steep canyon, all with access to various platforms with afforded views from above, below and in front of falls, giving the opportunity for great waterfall photo opportunities. In addition to lush waterfalls, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge has:
The park is home to the world’s largest butterfly sanctuary, with a laboratory that serves as a breeding ground for more than 25 species of butterflies from Costa Rica. This will provide an interesting perspective into the stages of development of the most colorful species, where you can closely watch how butterflies emerge from their cocoons as well as other growth stages and forms of mating. Here visitors will feel part of nature, with more than 4,000 of these beautiful creatures in all colors and sizes, some larger than the palm of your hand, flying around at the same time.
The Hummingbird Garden at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge attracts around 26 different species of hummingbirds from Costa Rica, more species than anywhere else in the country and quite possibly the world. Here you can stand just inches away from the feeders, and if you arrive before 9 am or after 4 pm you can feed them by hand with their specially designed hand feeding flower, as this hummingbirds have no fear of humans, making this garden, the best place in the world to photograph hummingbirds close up.
The La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge Aviary is a refuge for wild birds that have been captured illegally by hunters and confiscated by the government, making it a bird watcher’s paradise, as you will see some of the most exotic and colorful birds of Costa Rica without binoculars, such as toucans, scarlet macaws, grosbeaks, tanagers, wild turkey and more fly freely around you!
Everybody wants to see monkeys when visiting Costa Rica, and La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge has the best natural habitats to photograph monkeys and interact with them. The park has White Faced monkeys and Spider monkeys, not forgetting the visitor from Brazil, the White Tufted Eared Marmosets. The park provides educational information insight into the behaviors, reproduction and future survival of these monkeys in Costa Rica (all of these monkeys were donated by the MINAE, the Costa Rican Ministry of Wildlife, and were confiscated from people who held them illegally).
Here you can also see face to face five out of the six endangered species of wild cats in Costa Rica, such as the Jaguarundi, margays, pumas, ocelots and jaguars.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge Serpentarium exhibits 30 of the most beautiful and deadly snakes of Costa Rica. Here you will come face to face with such famous snakes as the Bushmaster, Terciopelo, Green Vinesnake, Golden Eyelash Viper and the colorful but venomous sea snake found off the Pacific Coast of Central America.
Without doubt, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge Ranarium is the best place to see frogs in Costa Rica, including the endangered poisonus dart frog, here frogs roam freely throughout their enclosure landscape. Because you are not looking at them through glass it is the perfect environment for taking photos of the frogs.
Casita de La Paz
This unique historical Costa Rican farmhouse reproduction was built using only the tools available to the average farmer a century ago, such as axes, hand saws, hand planers, picks and chisels. Here you can travel back in time and taste typical foods of Costa Rica including sample freshly made corn tortillas and fresh milk (right from the cow), take a ride in an ox-driven cart, in addition to be able to see how the Ticos lived and worked on rural farms, enjoying life as it was a hundred years ago in Costa Rica.
Since La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge is located within a cloud forest and a rain forest, it’s to imagine that the rain is a daily thing, receiving from 3500 to 3800 mm per year. This is why their paths were designed so that during walks visitors can stop and get cover. However, La Paz Waterfall Gardens offer raincoats and umbrellas for sale! (Keep in mind that the park ranges in altitude from 5,200 feet to 4,200 feet so it can get chilly when the clouds roll in.).
Please note that La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge is completely against the capture or trade of illegally confiscated animals and one day we will seek to release the offsprings of our cats into protected zones if a safe and reliable training program can be developed to do so.
Other nearby Costa Rica parks includes Poas Volcano National Park, Cerro Dantas National Wldlife Refuge, Jaguarundi National Wildlife Refuge and Braulio Carrillo National Park.
Getting to La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge:
Take the Pan-American Highway towards the Juan Santamaria International Airport and then take the Alajuela exit. Continue straight on this road for 12 miles following the signs for Poás Volcano. At the three-way intersection, where you see Jaulares Restaurant, take a right. Proceed for 1 mile to the town of Poasito and make another right at the intersection where it says Heredia – Varablanca – Sarapiqui. Make a left at the gas station in Varablanca and proceed for 3 miles. The hotel is on the left.
From Heredia take the main road passing the National University and follow the signs for the town of Barva. Upon reaching Barva follow the signs for the Poás Volcano – Varablanca – Sarapiqui. Proceed 25 miles following the signs for Poás Volcano until you reach the town of Varablanca. At the gas station make a right towards Sarapiqui and continue on this road for 3 miles until you see the hotel on your left.
You can take a bus San Jose – Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí by Varablanca (Empresarios Guapileños, 2222-0610 / 2222-2727), which takes about 2 hours, making the stop at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge.
Location: 3 miles from Varablanca gas station, district: Varablanca, canton: Heredia, province: Heredia, Costa Rica. Zone postal code: 40105.
GPS coordinates: 10.205097,-84.162233 (10°12’18.35″N, 84°09’44.04″W)
Size: 28 ha (70 acres)
Altitude: from 5,225 ft to 4,200 ft.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge Phone: +(506)2482-2720
Reservations Office Phone: +(506)2482-2100
Fax: +(506) 2482-1094
From U.S. Phone: +(954) 727-3997
From U.S. Fax: +(954) 727-3999
Schedule: open year round from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Peace Lodge Hotel: www.costaricaweb.cr/hotels/the-peace-lodge-hotel
Address map: Click here to view directions from Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), Alajuela, Costa Rica TO La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park and Wildlife Refuge in Heredia, Costa Rica at Google Maps