Costa Rica

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz Waterfall Gardens is absolutely spectacular! This large property features the World's largest butterfly observatory, hummingbird and orchid gardens, and perfectly designed, safe trails along the La Paz River with 5 large waterfalls. Many of our guests have commented that it is exactly what they envisioned Costa Rica to be: lush, verdant green rainforest, lots of colorful birds, flowers and butterflies. Make sure you spend at least a half day at La Paz - you'll love it!

La Paz is located on the slope of Poas Volcano, about 1 hour from San Jose. It's quite large, so you should plan on spending 3-5 hours here. You start at the Welcome Center, walk down to the World's largest butterfly observatory, then follow the extensive trails along the La Paz river past 5 magnificent waterfalls. All trails are either concrete or steel with handrails,and are extremely well-designed for people of all ages and abilities. You keep walking all the way down the river to the end of the trail, and then a shuttle picks you up and drives you back up the road to the Welcome Center. It is perfectly designed.

The hummingbird garden is marvelous. Literally hundreds of hummingbirds zoom by your head zipping their way to and from the various feeders. Informative signs help you identify each of the species, and describe their habits and lifespan. It is so artfully and professionally done - it is better than most museum and zoo displays.

The best way to experience La Paz is to leave San Jose early in the morning, drive to the summit of Poas Volcano, and visit the volcano BEFORE you visit La Paz. Drive about 30 minutes to La Paz, enjoy the gardens, and have an excellent lunch buffet at the restaurant. On your way back to San Jose, you can visit Sarchi village for some shopping. La Paz is a great way to begin or end your Costa Rica vacation. We recommend that you stay in San Jose the night before and the night after your visit here. Many people prefer La Paz to Monteverde Cloud Forest. Come see for yourself!


La Paz River flows through this Cloud Forest-covered valley creating 5 spectacular waterfalls. Walk along the river and waterfalls on a spectacular, but sometimes steep trail with handrails and stairs. At one point, the trail goes right next to a waterfall where you can reach out and touch the water itself.


Butterfly Pavilion

Watch hundreds of butterflies in one of the World’s largest observatories and learn about butterfly’s life cycle. See them actually emerge from their cocoons and feed on native flowers and fruits. Walk along a short trail to see the famous Blue Morpho and many other butterfly species.


See Scarlet Macaws, Parrots, toucans and dozens of other bird species in the large aviary at La Paz.  Walk on the trail and watch Costa Rica ’s spectacular birds up close.  You may even be able to feed a friendly toucan!

Hummingbird Garden

Hundreds of hummingbirds, large and small, fly right by your head on their way to several feeding stations in this outdoor garden.  See one of the largest hummingbird species in the World with its nearly fluorescent purple feathers.  You may spend an hour just in this small garden. It’s fascinating.


Mammals Exhibit

La Paz is a rescue and rehabilitation center for native cats including jaguars and ocelots.  See these beautiful, powerful cats up-close in a beautiful and caring center.  After rehabilitation, they are released back into their native habitat throughout Costa Rica. Several species of monkeys are also on display.

Frog Exhibit

You’ll be amazed at the variety of frogs in this unique frog exhibit at La Paz.  Dozens of species of frogs thrive in this small but amazing frog exhibit.  Try to find poison arrow dart frogs, green tree frogs and other tiny camouflaged frogs under leaves and flowers.



Costa Rica is home to hundreds of snake species, some extremely poisonous, some not. La Paz features an excellent variety of snakes with descriptions and demonstrations in their fascinating serpentarium. You can safely see Fer-de-Lance, Bushmaster, Boa Constrictors and Eyelash Pit Vipers.



This small house is a replica of how Costa Ricans lived decades ago, with demonstrations of cheese-making, sugar milling, coffee growing and even an ox-cart.  Enjoy a sample of coffee, candy and cheese on your way through La Paz .


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