La Paz Waterfall Garden, Costa Rica

Adorning fascinatingly the slopes of Poas volcano in the central highlands, the La Paz Waterfall Garden is just breathtaking! Its big stretch at the altitude between 4000 and 5000 feet engulfs lush biodiversity featuring the co-existence of both rainforest as well as cloud forest. And the same feature for the tourists indicate a mesmerizing tour of at least 3 to 4 hours for a magical experience. This big asset is the home of the planet’s largest butterfly observatory, orchid and hummingbird gardens, 5 stunning waterfalls, a frog pond, and a serpentarium along with not to miss safe trails that are aptly carved by the side of the La Paz River.

Your tour of the La Paz Waterfall Garden begins from the Welcome Center from where you descend to the enclosed butterfly observatory whose size is that of a football field for permitting the butterflies to rise in the air from their habitats. Above all, it is also very educational as there are several on-site guides who are always ready to tell you much more about their lives and will also point to hard-to-spot things such as caterpillars, eggs, and secret butterflies. From here, you then walk on one of the trails leading to the five waterfalls. As all the tracks are steel or concrete made with handrails, a person of any age can explore them including the one who is physically handicapped (obviously not without a wheelchair). These trails are of 3 km and pas through the lush rainforest as well as floral attractions above which you can easily spot the colorful birds. To view the waterfall, there are misted platforms. Once you stroll down the way along the river until the trail’s end, a shuttle will take you in to drop you to the Welcome Center up the road (ascending is always a bit difficult than descending, so a quick shuttle service).

After you are back to the Welcome Center, you start your walk towards the Hummingbird Garden where more than 20 species of these colorful little ones stay. Here, hundreds of creatures fly over your head as they tend to move away from the feeders. Throughout the La Paz Waterfall Garden, you can easily spot the feeders to watch out for their feeding ways as well as interactions. To know more about each of the species, look for the informative signs that tell in detail about the lifespan as well as habits. This set up is so professionally made that no other zoo or museum display can compete with this one.

Once you are done with this, get ready to amble via the striking Orchid garden as well as through the stunning Frog Pond that is sure to attract your kids with its jumping green leaf frogs as well as the poison dart frog. And yes, do not miss the Serpentarium even if you are scared of snakes as here you will safely get to see 30 species of snakes that are unique to the nation. And finally, you explore the trout lake where you can cool down during a hot afternoon. At last, you can savor your appetite at the Colibries restaurant that offers an eclectic mix of preparations.

In short, the La Paz Waterfall Garden will make you experience the nature’s both crude (forests and volcano) as well as the refined (lake and ponds) side. If you want to envision this attraction, just think Costa Rica as a land of lush rainforest, walking trails, cloud forest, butterflies, flowers, and multi-colored birds and you know how to spend a half of the day at La Paz. I am sure this will be a memorable one for you!

The ideal way to explore this attraction is to depart early morning from San Jose that is at a distance of an hour. Drive up to the volcano’s peak so that you first explore this geological wonder before the garden as well as the La Paz city. Then, reach to the town in half an hour, enjoy the gardens, and savor a great lunch buffet. And while you turn back to the capital, do get down at the Sarchi village to shop. I would recommend staying in San Jose a night after the tour.

Quick look at the attractions

• Butterfly observatory  • Frog pond  • Hummingbird garden  • Serpentarium  • Trout Lake  • Peace Lodge for $270 per night  • Poas Volcano Lodge for $65 per night  • Gift shop  • Two restaurants  • Orchid terrace

Entrance fee
  • $35 per adult
  • $20 per kid (3-12 years)

8 am to 5 pm.

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