- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
I must admit that I was a bit reluctant to visit the La Paz Waterfall gardens, in view of the cost involved in taking the trip. One detail that still sticks in my throat after more than a year: in Costa Rica, you have to pay for absolutely everything, even the smallest, shortest stroll around a miniature forest. You end up feeling like a walking wallet. Considering how magical the country is otherwise, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Finally, after muchsoul searching, I ended up popping back for a brief trip... which turned into an emotional roller coaster ride for me, given my notorious distaste for places that are fully optimized to milk every last tourist dollar.
Despite a seemingly endless fleet of buses and tourists (does it come across as bitchy if I point out that all the tourists have bobbed hair?), the place is quite simply magnificent. A series of waterfalls, including the majestic La Paz Waterfall, in a lush, tropical forest. It's just so stunningly beautiful!
For me, the wildlife park was a bit of a downer: but that's more of a reflection of my personal beliefs, as I don't like the idea of keeping animals locked up. The program also includes a butterfly house and a frog sanctuary, which provide an opportunity to see new species for the first time. For many people, the high point of the visit is the toucan aviary, where you can walk inside the cages and might experience a toucan perching on your arm. You can also eat on site, with a generous buffet on offer. I've not tried it, so I can't comment!
In conclusion, it's definitely not THE number one destination that you absolutely mustn't miss on your trip to Costa Rica ;however, if you have enough time and your budget's not too tight, don't hesitate to give it a try.
Although it's quite touristy, a visit to La Paz Waterfall Gardens is nice if you are staying in the region of the Poas volcano. The botanical and zoological gardens house a superb butterfly house where you can see some of the country's most beautiful butterflies. In my opinion the visit's high point is the hummingbird garden where you can see more than 26 species of hummingbird flying around. It's ideal if you want photos of these wonderful birds.
I also appreciated the easy snaking walk through the five waterfalls, the numerous viewpoints which let you get closer to La Paz waterfall and the pretty view.
Altogether a great visit to do with small children during a trip to Costa Rica.