The La Paz Waterfall Gardens is one of the most visited parks in Costa Rica and located less than one hour from San Jose. This is a great day trip from any hotel in San Jose with a beautiful drive through coffee farms and rolling pastures of grazing dairy cows. You can also go on nearby coffee tours or visit Poas Volcano, but in order to do everything it would be best to stay at the Peace Lodge Hotel or another Bed & Breakfast in the surrounding countryside. My mom was recently in town and we went to the park with our family for the day before she left.
Enjoy this video of the La Paz Waterfall gardens.
You first enter the park through the main lodge, restaurant, and gift shop and pay the entrance fee of $20 for local/residents and $35 for visitors. Then down to the park with animals such as birds, monkeys, cats, and more.
The butterfly attraction is a stroll through a flowering garden with butterflies everywhere. They also have all the different cocoons in their various stages for visitors to see the metamorphosis in person.
A close up encounter with a jaguar (only separated by a thick piece of glass) was a memorable experience and personally my favorite part of the park. Absolutely amazing to see such a powerful creature so close, that most likely you will never see in the wild.
The reptiles and amphibians are part of the park, but the kids did enjoy the snakes more than I thought they would. There was the largest Terciopelo (Fer-de-Lance) I have ever seen, and I am definitely scared of seeing of one of those in the wild. We also got to see some of the exotic frog species first hand.
The main feature is of course the waterfalls and you walk down a concrete trail and stairway through the jungle. Do not worry; you do not have to walk back up because there is a bus that takes you back up to the front of the park. The waterfalls are magnificent and you can get so close that mist sprays on your face. Truly an unforgettable experience and some of the most scenic waterfalls in Costa Rica. So forget buying post cards of waterfalls and animals; just take some pictures here to share with your friends and family. For more information and directions go to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens website: http://www.waterfallgardens.com/