In the middle of nature, in Alajuela province, is located La Paz Waterfall Gardens, about one hour away from San José. It´s a place where five high waterfalls flow down the mountain in succession.
At La Paz Waterfall Gardens, nature shows its most fascinating side. It is very easy to get there since there is just one road up, which leads you through small towns and lots of nature, so you already get a great view of the green fields of Costa Rica.
The park is very nicely laid out, very clean and neat. You are walking through the gardens of the park, with colourful blooming flowers all around you. There is so much green and the single red flowers in-between look simply beautiful. The entrance is a little higher than the rest of the park, so you can see the rainforest in the distance, it seems like it was hanging in the clouds.
First, you are walking in a small zoo. You can see some Costa Rican animals, which you won´t see that close otherwise. We were allowed to visit the toucans and a sloth in their cages. But I rather look at the predators through the glass panes.
Many colourful butterflies flew around me in the butterfly house, a few even crawled on my finger. Very impressive is the big blue morpho butterfly. Also, you can watch the cocoons very close.
After the butterfly house, we watched the monkeys swinging from one branch to the other. Then we came to a place where hundreds of hummingbirds fly around you. In the wild and in no cage. These tiny, nimble birds are just beautiful.
There are so many animals that you can see! Snakes, frogs, bugs in all sizes (even though I was also fine when I didn't know bugs in these sizes existed), and many more.
Later we saw oxen that were standing in front of the typical and colourfully painted oxcarts. Did you know that the oxcarts were used for the coffee transportation?
Next to it is an old, typical Costarican house, where they offered us to try a little bit of agua dulce. This means sweet water and tastes.. well.. very sweet.
At the restaurant, you can get lunch. You can pay at the entrance or later in the restaurant. It is one fixed price and you can choose from a buffet. They have something for every taste, but I recommend you to try a Costarican lunch, which usually means rice, beans, and meat or fish.
After lunch, it´s getting a little more sporty. The trail takes us through the rainforest and we have to walk many stairs down. There are five waterfalls in total, but you can see the Waterfall Encantada and the Waterfall Escondida from the same platform. At most of the platforms, you will get a little wet, but if you ask me, that's very welcome in this humid climate. We could have stayed for hours at each waterfall. Isn´t nature amazing? The last waterfall was La Paz Waterfall. A small trail leads you through the La Paz River. From a small bridge, you get an amazing view of the waterfall, La Paz Waterfall is framed as if painted between the lush plants of the forest.
Who is sporty can walk all the stairs up and pass the waterfalls again. For the rest, they offer a free shuttle service back to the entrance.
Besides the waterfalls, you can visit the Poás Volcano in the region or do a coffee tour. I think the area is great for a day trip from San José or as a stop on a long road trip to La Fortuna, for example. Either way, I highly recommend it.
Photos: Caroline B.
Apdo 799 – 1007
San José, Costa Rica
Licenced by the Costa Rican Tourist Board: Lic ICT OT 294
Liability insurance: Instituto Costarricense de Seguros (INS) Coverage: Territory of the Republic of Costa Rica