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Deep in the lush rainforest of Costa Rica’s Central Highlands, a stunning oasis awaits adventurous travelers. Each year, visitors from around the world make the trek to La Paz Waterfall and Botanical Gardens, which encompass plummeting waterfalls that pour into pristine pools surrounded by lush tropical rainforest.

Aside from being one of the most popular tourist destinations in Costa Rica, La Paz offers the opportunity for visitors to be truly immersed in the natural splendor the area is famous for. On a visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens, travelers have the chance to view exotic birds like toucans. Rare and endangered species like monkeys, sloths, and big cats call the gardens home, as it is one of the largest animal sanctuaries in the country. It’s the perfect place to experience the magic of Costa Rica’s floor and fauna.


The main attraction at La Paz Waterfall Gardens is visiting the stunning waterfalls located along the river within the preserve. Visitors will have the opportunity to take in the beauty of five separate falls. The famous La Paz waterfall is located just outside the nature preserve, so it’s totally possible for budget-minded travelers to visit the towering 121-foot waterfall for free.

In order to experience all five waterfalls, the cost for admission to La Paz Waterfall Gardens is $49 USD. Admission for children under 12 is $33 USD. Costa Rican citizens can visit for $29 USD. The waterfalls within the park include Templo, Magia Blanca, Encantada, and Escondida. Each waterfall is uniquely beautiful and will offer travelers an experience they’ll never forget.

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How To Get To La Paz Waterfall Gardens?

La Paz Waterfall Gardens can be easily reached from San Jose, the country’s largest city and home to the main international airport. Travelers who are renting a car for a Costa Rica road trip will be happy to find that the area is easily found using GPS, or you can simply follow the signs toward Poas Volcano.

Another option is to hire a taxi or shuttle from San Jose as it’s less than an hour from the international airport. For visitors coming from further away, it’s a good idea to check with hotels and lodgings to see if there are any tour recommendations. A variety of tour companies offer guided day trips to La Paz Waterfall Gardens from all around the Central Valley, but most travelers choose to explore on their own without a guide. It’s open from 8 AM to 5 PM year-round and it’s recommended to get there early to avoid crowds and assure there is time to enjoy everything the area has to offer.

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Hiking La Paz Waterfall Gardens

For a fun-filled day of physical activity and natural beauty, hiking La Paz Waterfall Gardens is an excellent option for tourists. It takes about 2 hours to hike all of the trails, but visitors most like to add plenty of extra time to stop and take in the sights.

2.2 miles of paved trails throughout the 70-acre preserve pass by all of the waterfalls, allowing majestic views and photo opportunities. There are plenty of viewing platforms and places to pause and take in the natural beauty along the routes. The entire trail system was built with environmental principles in mind, and not a single tree or vine was cut when constructing the trails.

While hiking, watchful visitors will have the opportunity to experience the natural wonder of the plants and animals that make their home in the cloud forests of Costa Rica.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens sit at a high elevation, and it can get a bit chilly when there are clouds. It’s a good idea to pack a good pair of hiking shoes and a rain jacket, as the area gets lots of precipitation year-round.

Learn About Rare And Endangered Wildlife

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is one of Costa Rica’s largest animal sanctuaries and offers ample opportunities to view a variety of rare and endangered native species in a safe and educational setting. While exploring the preserve, visitors can see toucan feeding stations, butterfly and hummingbird observatories, capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, and a serpentarium. It's a great spot to visit for anyone seeking out Costa Rican wildlife.

The area also serves as a rescue for big cats like pumas, ocelots, and jaguars. The big cats are mostly rescued from illegal captivity and the team at La Paz Waterfall Gardens aims to educate the public on the protection of the majestic and powerful creatures.

The Peace Lodge

Travelers looking for the ultimate eco-luxury experience might consider staying at the five-star boutique hotel located within La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. The 18 guest rooms feature balconies with incredible views of the Poas Volcano and La Paz River Valley.

Guests at the lodge will get to enjoy the entire park to themselves after 5 pm and before 8 am, allowing for peaceful walks through the trails without the crowds and prime animal viewing. The hotel features a relaxing spa and a swimming pool for guests.

For travelers seeking to immerse themselves in the heart and soul of Costa Rica the moment they land, a visit to La Paz Gardens Nature Park is an amazing experience that is easily accessible from Costa Rica’s main international airport in San Jose. The mild climate and easy hiking trails make this an ideal option for all types of visitors, offering the opportunity to view some of the most famous waterfalls in the country while taking in the biodiversity that makes Costa Rica a bucket list destination for travelers around the world.