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“beautiful place, but not all it claims to be” 4 of 5 stars
Review of La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens
| 6 km North from Vara Blanca Gas Station, Vara Blanca 00000, Costa Rica
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Book ahead on Viator
and up
Combo Tour - Best of Costa Rica from San Jose
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Explore Five Magnificent Waterfalls accessed by paved trails through Rain and Cloud Forest. Our Wildlife refuge features the Largest Aviary and Butterfly Observatory in Costa Rica as well as rescued Jaguars, Ocelots, Pumas, Capuchin and Spider Monkeys. Feed friendly Toucans and our 26 species of tame Hummingbirds and photograph beautiful Leaf Frogs in our Frog Habitat and venomous snakes in our Serpentarium. Located one hour from San Jose Airport near Poas Volcano.
Level Contributor
11 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“beautiful place, but not all it claims to be”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2010

i had a private guide with me, so i don't know what the experience would be for people going on their own, but i had a wonderful time! so many beautiful animals and plants!

the butterfly house was mainly filled with blue morphos, i don't know if it's like this all the time or if it's just when we went, but i'd say like 70% of the butterflies i saw were blue morphos. there were no hand-held feeding bulbs for the hummingbird section like in the brochures, but that didn't really matter to me. the orchid section seemed somewhat lacking, my guide told me the climate wasn't really the proper one for most orchids and that might have had something to do with it? the waterfall trails are still being finished after the earthquake last year, but the ones that are available are wonderful. unfortunately you have to climb back up all the stairs you climb down, unlike before (or so i was told), and it was a little bit of a hike to get back up, but well worth it.

the lunch buffet was alright, nothing special but not too shabby. i didn't notice any park staff in most of the main areas (the only places i really saw staff were the buffet area and the casita, other than grounds-workers), but i wasn't really looking for them either as i had a guide. signs were missing or inaccurate for a lot of the animal displays. i know this place is still recovering from the earthquake though, and all of the animals seemed to be well cared for.

Thank havalinaaa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Awesome place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2009

Though it is difficult to get to, it is worth the trip. We were only going to stay one night, but decided to stay a second. The staff here was excellent especially Isaac (worked in reception) and Anna (tour guide). The deluxe rooms have to be the coolest rooms I have ever stayed in. They have lights that can be adjusted for the mood, a stone looking fireplace, a bed with canapoy, great views from balcony (with hammock, 2 person jacuzzi, table, and humming bird feeder that was pretty active), the bathroom was huge, very outdoors looking with concrete to mimic stone. The bathroom has a waterfall in it that you can turn on, another 2 person jucuzzi tub, a shower that has a waterfall in the open, another shower that is enclosed, a machine that will heat oil and dispense aromas (free), the bathroom is amazing. On the property they were still repairing it from the earthquake, but it wasn't very noisy. This place is like a mini zoo, but a lot closer encounters. They have a humming bird garden(outside, but with shelters and benches) where you can have them perched on your finger and feed them, they have several types of birds (we fed the tucans), they have a butterfly garden that also shows you each stage of the butterfly as they grow(open enclosure), there are several large cats, exotic frogs(you walk in open enclosure with many types of frogs even the poison dart frog), snakes of costa rica caged on display, bird enclosure (most are flying around a very large open air enclosure with you), their are monkeys (we got to feed), they also have a farm home they built with only the tools of 200 years ago with someone dressed in period and have a cow that provides fresh milk, which they make cheese for you and other things (It was free for us, not sure if they charge). We had a tour guide Anna that took us to these places, she was very helpful and I would recommend hiring her. Most of those listed you can go in on your own for free. Their are also several large waterfalls to view. It takes a lot of stairs and walking to get there, but one of them is 120 feet and the coolest part is that if you look at the center and count for 4 seconds then look at the mountain beside it, this creates a magic eye that makes it appear that the mountain side is moving. Some of the paths were still closed due to the earthquake damage, but there were a lot of workers there repairing those things. There is a lot of stairs and a lot of walking here, but to get to most places they will provide a shuttle if you would like. The places aren't very far, it is just the stairs that take time if you do decide to walk. The food here is good and very, very reasonably priced compared to all the other hotels I stayed at in Costa Rica, even the room service is cheap. This place does not nickle and dime you like most of the other places. They also have very reasonable in room massages available that we took advantage of. They also provide computers and free internet at the reception. I could keep going on and on about this place. It is a must for costa rica and I will come again. Though a local can get to the airport from here in an hour, I would allow two hours due to the road being in bad condition and very confusing, just like the rest of Costa Rica. Great place!

2 Thank lazybeach21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
116 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 75 helpful votes
“Many things to see and do! Worth the trip from San Jose.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2009

The trip up to the gardens was long and bumpy but mostly due to the damage from the earthquake. They are working very hard at getting back up to par though.

The place is beautiful and there are many things to do there: Butterfly garden, hummingbirds, tropical birds, frogs, snakes, sloths, big cats, waterfalls, and a restaurant.

The toucans will eat out of your hand, and the butterflies and hummingbirds get very close. Lunch was very good and the rice pudding was out of this world amazing. The trek down to the waterfall is fine, but the trek back up! What a workout! It's worth it though because they are very beautiful. Definitely a great place for kids. It has a bit of a themepark feel to it, but it was still fun.

Check out the bathroom sinks. They're pretty cool.
A little pricey though, it came to $48 US including lunch.

Thank Scrumble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lenexa, Kansas
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The best thing we did in Costa Rica”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2009

La Paz Waterfall Gardens was so much fun for our family and the highlight of our trip to Costa Rica. It was a little hard to find since we were driving on our own, but with a little asking for directions, we made it. They could use a few more signs along the roadway pointing in the right direction. On arrival, we really did not know what to expect, and was a little put off by the price (over $100 for a family of 4) but after touring the place, we decided it was well worth it. The grounds are absolutely gorgeous, and the attractions very well maintained. My 2 young boys loved the toucans, and all the other animal exhibits. Monkeys, Jaguars, birds, sloths, butterflies, poison dart frogs, its all here. There is even an authentic Tico house from 100 years ago. Very few visitors were there when we were, so we felt like we had the place all to ourselves! Helpful english-speaking guides were at every attraction to explain everything there was to see. And the waterfalls themselves- simply stunning with great walkways offering awesome views and gorgeous tropical jungle pathways. We did not eat at the restaurant since we arrived after lunch, but it was beautiful and the food looked delicious. Do not leave Costa Rica without seeing this place! It allows you to see all the flora and fauna and gorgeous rain-forest of Costa Rica all in one convenient package. It is worth spending at least half a day here if not longer. I really can't recommend this place enough.

1 Thank bmattis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sanford, Florida
Level Contributor
48 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
“Give them a little bit of time to recover from the earthquake...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 14, 2009

My husband and I visited their gardens last year and loved it, so we took the whole family back this year because we thought it would be especially great for the kids, where we could guarantee some wildlife and waterfalls. I commend them for trying to reopen after the destruction of the earthquake earlier this year, but we feel that the price should have been reduced for many reasons, or else they should simply wait until they have everything back in order before opening their doors to the public. For 4 adults and 1 child, we payed $240 for entrance and a lunch buffet. Two of the waterfalls were closed due to damage to the trails, so the tram no longer runs to take you back to the entrance after the hike down. So, plan on spending a little more time on the hiking part after viewing the waterfalls. Also, the waterfalls have a lot of sediment, so they aren't clear and pretty like they usually are, but rather a mucky orange color. As far as the exhibits, we were a bit disappointed because some of the birds had perished since our last visit, so the aviary was really quiet and not much to look at there. The butterfly exhibit was still nice and the sloth they had added (I think it was new, at least) was neat. The hummingbird garden is by far the best part of the gardens and almost surreal. Now, the really bad part was the food. The food wasn't great last time we went, but it was hot and there was a variety of it. We didn't get a chance to eat before coming here, so we were stuck with their lunch buffet, which isn't cheap - like $12 per person. Everything on the buffet table was cold - the fries, the pizza, the rice and beans, even the rice pudding - everything! There were 2 meat options - fish or spicey meatballs, neither of which were appealing to me. Last time there was baked chicken, but the employees I asked said they were all out of it. They were also out of hot dogs and other items when we were there, but had no intention of replenishing the rather sparce spread. The ice bucket was filled with flies and bugs and that was the only option for ice in your drink. And they didn't offer water unless you wanted to buy bottled, so we were stuck with our choice of 2 artificial fruit beverages, in a country where natural juices are wonderful and plentiful! There were 5 employees standing around talking, but unable to help us with any of our dining needs - none cared to warm the food for us or help us with drink options, or help us with an infant's chair or anything. So, all in all, we wasted $240 on a 2 hour visit (including lunch time) when we saw much more in terms of wildlife in a true natural habitat at Manuel Antonio and much more beautiful waterfalls in Dominical and La Fortuna. I thought it would be worth the visit for the kids sake, but was wrong. Maybe when they finish all the reconstruction...

3 Thank Stefanie718
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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