The La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is an area of outstanding beauty in Costa Rica. Located in the Alajuela Province, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens are a popular natural attraction. And, for good reason. This spectacular nature park is teeming with intriguing rescued wildlife, fun hiking trails and stunning waterfalls. Best of all, the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica is home to the mesmerising Peace Lodge. It’s one of the most pristine hotels in Costa Rica, providing an unbeatable rainforest lodging experience.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Peace Lodge in Costa Rica. We’ll start with some general information about the park. Then, we’ll look at how to visit, whether independently or by doing a La Paz Waterfall Gardens Tour. After that, we’ll dive into all of the highlights of the waterfall gardens in La Paz. This includes the wildlife, hikes, waterfalls and accommodation options.

We hope you find this guide helpful. For other great natural attractions in Costa Rica, read our Poas Volcano, Irazu Volcano and La Fortuna Waterfall guides.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Background

The La Paz Waterfall Gardens opened in Costa Rica in 2020 and is privately owned. With decent financial backing, there have been numerous upgrades to the park since construction began in 1998. This all becomes very obvious when you visit. The facilities are modern and in excellent condition. You can expect to see a well looked after and, frankly, immaculate nature park to explore. In fact, it’s the most visited private reserve in Costa Rica. No surprises there!

According to the official La Paz Waterfall gardens website, the aim of the park’s staff is to preserve, protect and maintain the natural environment. Also, their environmentally-conscious design has the intention of educating and entertaining. Beck and I think they have really pulled it off! We learnt a lot about Costa Rican wildlife during our visit. We also had loads of fun chasing waterfalls! On top of being environmentally friendly, the park’s owners are also socially conscious. They employ more than 95% of their workers from local towns. Any company that supports its local communities has our tick of approval.

When La Paz Waterfall Gardens opened in 2020, the Peace Lodge did not yet exist. Construction of the Peace Lodge in Costa Rica began in 2003, opening in 2005. Further additions were made, increasing the number of guest rooms available from 2012 onwards. Ultimately, the Peace Lodge in Costa Rica has a superb reputation as a world-class rainforest lodge. Being positioned right inside the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park gives it that extraordinary atmosphere.

Magia Blanca, one of the most impressive waterfalls at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica
Magia Blanca

About La Paz Waterfall Gardens

The La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park is well-known for many reasons. Firstly, it’s home to the largest animal sanctuary in Costa Rica. Indeed, there are over 100 species of animals, which are all protected under Private Wildlife Refuge Status. Secondly, the park has three hiking trails, which are suitable for hikers of all levels of experience. Interestingly, the construction of these trails didn’t involve cutting down a single tree or vine system. Kudos to La Paz Waterfall Gardens! Thirdly, it possibly has the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica. In fact, there are five waterfalls to explore. Fourthly, the park is famous for the exceptional La Paz Gardens, featuring a quaint orchid garden.

It’s important to note that none of the animals in the Wildlife Refuge were taken from their natural habitat. In conjunction with the Costa Rican Wildlife Ministry (MINAET), the staff at La Paz Waterfall Gardens care for these animals, that were often kept illegally as pets. Unfortunately, these animals aren’t able to be released back into the wild for various reasons.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Hours

The La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park is open from 8am to 5pm all year round.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Entrance Fee

For tourists, La Paz Waterfall Gardens tickets are $49USD per adult, plus taxes. With the taxes added, the actual La Paz Waterfall Gardens entrance fee for an adult is $50.96USD. Again, with tourist prices, the entrance fee for children aged 3–12 years is $33USD, plus taxes. With taxes added, it’s $34.32USD per child aged 3–12 years. Yep, it’s outrageously steep. But, to avoid FOMO, we advise you to swallow your pride and hand over your hard-earned pennies.

For residents and nationals, La Paz Waterfall Gardens tickets are much cheaper. You’ll be looking at $29USD per adult, plus taxes. The entrance fee for children aged 3–12 years is $22USD, plus taxes.

Keep in mind, that only four of the five La Paz waterfalls are located in the actual natural park. In fact, the famous La Paz Waterfall is located outside the park’s parameters. So, it’s actually possible to visit the La Paz Waterfall for free! But, you’ll need to pay the entrance fee to see the other four spectacular waterfalls.

Dan stands next to the La Paz Waterfall in Costa Rica
La Paz Waterfall

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Price

The actual La Paz Waterfall Gardens price increases if you add on the buffet lunch (which is delicious) at the Calibries Restaurant. It’s an extra $14USD per adult ($15.82USD with taxes included). For children aged 3–12 years, it’s an extra $8USD ($9.04USD with taxes included). In total, for tourists, you’re looking at $66.78USD per adult and $43.36USD per child aged 3–12 years for the entrance fee and buffet lunch, respectively. For the savvy traveller, pack your own lunch! But, we must admit, the food served at the buffet lunch was some of the best grub we had in Central America. Besides, no one’s stopping you from getting seconds or thirds. So, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth!

FYI – the buffet lunch is the same price for tourists, residents and nationals alike. Also, it’s open from 11am–4pm.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Fun Facts

Before we look at how to visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park in Costa Rica, let’s dive into some fun facts! But, we’ll make sure not to repeat any facts we’ve already mentioned above.

  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park is 70 acres (28 hectares).
  • Cloud forest and rainforest make up 40 acres (16 hectares), whilst the other 30 acres (12 hectares) is pastureland cut by a previous owner.
  • There are 4 kilometres of hiking trails and 16,000 paved stones on these trails.
  • The altitude at the park ranges from 1,280 to 1,592 meters above sea level.
  • Geologically, the area was formed by a volcanic eruption around 2 million years ago.
  • Rainfall from the Poas Volcano flows into the La Paz River, also known as River La Paz and La Paz River Valley.
  • Restrooms are located throughout the park.
  • The recommended visit time is around 3–4 hours. Of course, this depends on whether you complete all of the hiking trails, stay for the buffet lunch or are living it up at the Peace Lodge!
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park in Costa Rica

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Weather

Just like other countries in this part of the world, Costa Rica has a dry and wet season. In Costa Rica, the dry season (summer) is from January to April. Whilst, the wet season is from May to December. So, the weather at La Paz Waterfall Gardens really depends on what time of year you visit Costa Rica! Although, there are microclimates throughout Costa Rica. At the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, you can expect more rain compared with other parts of the country. So, even in the dry season, be prepared for some wet weather!

Best Time of Year to Visit

There isn’t really a best time of year to visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park in Costa Rica. It all comes down to personal preference. Of course, if you want a higher chance of avoiding rain, visit in the dry season! But, after all, it’s the wet weather that creates the waterfalls. So, for even more powerful and spectacular waterfalls, it may be best to go in the wet season. Although, even in the dry season, the waterfalls are still magnificent.

Personally, Beck and I visited in April, which is right at the end of dry season. We had visited the San Ramon Waterfall in Nicaragua about a week earlier. And, to our disappointment, it had nearly dried up. But, this wasn’t the case for the La Paz Waterfalls. Even at the end of the dry season, these waterfalls were absolutely pumping! Of course, that’s because the nature park receives more rain in the dry season compared with the rest of Costa Rica.

Ultimately, the best time of year to visit is any time of year. Besides, even if you got caught in a bit of rain, shelter at the Peace Lodge is never too far away!

Rainfall

The average rainfall at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park is 4,420mm per year. That’s quite a lot! Interestingly enough, the nature park doesn’t follow typical weather patterns compared with the rest of the country. Even in the dry season, expect January to be one of the wettest months. By the same token, during the wet season, September and October can be relatively drier months. But, obviously, the weather can be unpredictable. Plus, with global warming, rainfall patterns will continue to change.

Average Temperatures

Similar to the rest of Costa Rica, temperatures at the Laz Waterfall Gardens are warm, tropical and pleasant. The average daytime temperature at the gardens is around 24°C. This falls within Costa Rica’s average range between 22–28°C. The average nighttime temperature at La Paz Waterfalls is around 16°C. This falls just below Costa Rica’s average range between 17–18°C. The coldest it can get at the La Paz Waterfalls Garden Nature Park is around 9°C.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Location

The La Paz Waterfall Gardens are located in the Alajuela Province in central Costa Rica. It’s located around 45km north of the capital San Jose. It takes around 1.5 hours to drive to the gardens from San Jose. The nature park is also around 30km north of the town of Alajuela. From there, driving to the nature park takes around 1 hour. From La Fortuna, it takes around 2 hours to reach the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Basically, you can visit the nature park on a day trip from either of these three cities. Or, you can visit it outright as part of your Costa Rica itinerary, staying overnight at the Peace Lodge or another hotel nearby.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Costa Rica Map

You’ll find the map of La Paz Waterfall Gardens below. The illustrated map can be found throughout the park. So, you’ll never get lost!

For your reference, you’ll find the ticket office, gift shop, restaurant and the nearby Peace Lodge near the entrance. From there, an orange trail (Main Trail) leads through the La Paz Gardens towards numerous wildlife attractions. Let your exploration of the park begin! What will you see first? Will it be checking into the Peace Lodge – Costa Rica’s finest rainforest lodging? Or, are you heading straight for the waterfalls?

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park Map
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Map

La Paz Waterfall Alajuela Province Costa Rica

The Alajuela Province is one of the largest provinces in Costa Rica. It’s located in the north-central part of the country, bordering Nicaragua to the north. The province is known for its active volcanoes and tropical rainforest. Most notably, Poas Volcano is one of the most visited volcanoes in Costa Rica. In fact, Poas Volcano is only around a 20 minute drive from the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park! To that end, the nature park is actually situated at the base of the eastern flank of Poas Volcano.

Both Poas Volcano and the La Paz Waterfalls are found in the southern aspect of the province. We’ll discuss how you can visit both places on the same day below.

Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano

Visiting La Paz Waterfall Gardens

There are a few different options when it comes to visiting La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica. If you want to visit independently, you can either rent a car or catch a bus from San Jose. Of course, visiting independently is cheaper. But, if you’re not planning on renting a car nor wanting to use the limited local bus services, then a La Paz Waterfall Gardens Tour may be best.

How to Get to La Paz Waterfall Gardens Independently

Renting a Car

This is by far the easiest option for getting to the nature park independently. Generally speaking, given the high prices of group tours and the wealth of natural attractions unable to be visited by public transport, many tourists choose to rent a car in Costa Rica. We recommend using RentalCars.com to rent a car abroad. Most importantly, they’re reliable and offer an outstanding free cancellation policy. You know, just in case!

Bus to La Paz Waterfall Gardens

This is the cheapest way to visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It’s worth noting that there is no dedicated bus service running directly there. But, it’s possible to use a local bus from San Jose to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Although, the service is very limited. So, you’ll have to get up early. Also, the service is really only designed for locals. It’s not so easy for tourists to navigate. Nor, is this service promoted or very well-known as an option for getting to the gardens. Unfortunately, there are no local buses from La Fortuna or Alajuela to the nature park.

San Jose to La Paz Waterfall Gardens Bus: from Gran Terminal del Caribe, there is usually a 6:30am, 1pm and 5pm bus heading to the gardens. You should get the 6:30am bus if you’re doing a day trip. That’s because the buses returning to San Jose from the gardens are at 1pm and 5pm.

You’ll need to catch the bus heading to Vara Blanca. But, there are different bus routes operating to Vara Blanca. To reach the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, you must get on the Vara Blanca bus that goes through Puerto Viejo. After buying your ticket (approx. $2–3USD), tell the driver that you want to stop at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. The journey time is around 2 hours.

FYI – make sure you’re back on the road where you were dropped off initially in time for the 1pm or 5pm bus back to San Jose. Arrive 15 minutes before your intended departure time. The diver may not be used to stopping at the gardens. So, be vigilant and flag it down as soon as you see the bus round the corner.

Visiting La Paz Waterfall vs. La Paz Waterfall Gardens

If you’re interested in getting to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens by bus, then you’re obviously looking to save dosh! If the entrance fee for the nature park is looking a bit steep, you can always skip the gardens and just visit La Paz Waterfall. As mentioned before, the La Paz Waterfall is located outside of the garden parameters. So, you can visit this waterfall completely independently without entering the gardens. Simply, catch the bus as described above and then walk to the La Paz Waterfall from the nature park’s entrance. This La Paz Waterfall hike is a roughly 1.4km road walk, taking around 20 minutes, one-way.

This is a great option for the budget traveller. But, on this occasion, we highly recommend that you visit the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It’s the only way to see the other waterfalls within the private reserve. These waterfalls are absolutely stunning and worth the entrance fee alone.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Tour

A La Paz Waterfall Gardens Tour is a fantastic option. That’s because renting a car can be expensive. Also, the local buses are very restrictive and difficult to figure out. So, it makes sense to do a La Paz Waterfall Tour. Given the popularity of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica, there are tonnes of tour companies offering this trip. Although, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a tour that exclusively visits the gardens. Often, companies offer a combined tour of Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and/or a coffee plantation tour. This is a great option for maximising your time in Costa Rica! You’ll find most companies charge $150–160USD for this tour.

Personally, Beck and I visited the La Paz Waterfall Gardens from San Jose. So, we chose to visit the gardens with a tour company based in the capital. We did the combined Poas Volcano, La Paz Waterfall Gardens and coffee plantation tour (Eco Tour) with Willy Tours. The tour includes a local guide, roundtrip transportation from your accommodation in San Jose and all entrance fees (including the buffet lunch). Our guide, Larry, was friendly, knowledgeable and funny. Best of all, the tour is $140USD, which is the cheapest combined tour we could find in San Jose. We had a great time on this tour and highly recommend it.

To book this tour or any other tours in Costa Rica, simply contact Willy Tours on Whatsapp (+505 8362 1717). Otherwise, drop into their office in San Jose to find out more information. And, feel free to check them out on Facebook and Instagram. They are an eco-friendly company offering exceptional tours.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Overview

There’s much to explore at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Whether you’re visiting independently or with a tour group, you’ll be checking out the wildlife refuge, hiking trails and waterfalls. You might even be staying at the Peace Lodge – voted one of the best hotels in Costa Rica. Let’s look at all of the highlights and attractions at the La Paz Waterfalls Gardens Natural Park.

Wildlife Sanctuary

From the entrance, the main trail initially leads to the wildlife attractions. So, that’s where we’ll start. But, of course, feel free to head straight to the waterfalls or other hiking trails if you please!

At the wildlife sanctuary, you can expect many different species of animals. In fact, there are over 100 types of animals! You’ll see breathtaking birds, butterflies, monkeys, snakes, jungle cats, frogs and even sloths! Within the animal sanctuary, you’ll also find beautiful orchids.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Birds

At the aviary, you’ll see heaps of exotic and tropical birds. In fact, there are over 30 different types of birds here. You’ll see macaws, toucans, parrots, owls, hawks, finches, parakeets, woodpeckers, motmots, ducks and falcons. The La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is simply heaven for birdwatchers.

Butterfly Observatory

The La Paz butterfly garden is a quaint and peaceful observatory full of mesmerising butterflies. You’ll find over 25 different species of butterflies here. In fact, there are a whopping 4,000 butterflies that live in the observatory. Here, you’ll learn about the life cycle of the butterfly whilst in their presence! Actually, did you know that 90% of the butterfly species that exist in Central America, preside in Costa Rica? So, you’re bound to see an array of butterflies at the observatory. No wonder, the International Association of Butterfly Exhibitors voted this observatory the best in the world.

Monkeys

At the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park, you’ll see Spider Monkeys and White Faced Monkeys. There are four types of monkeys that call Costa Rica home. So, by visiting, you’ll see at least half of the monkey species living in Costa Rica. The monkeys are curious, cheeky and playful. Expect there to be plenty of antics from these fascinating creatures.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Hummingbirds

The hummingbird garden is one of the major attractions of the wildlife sanctuary. Here, you’ll find 26 different species of hummingbirds. Around 57 species of hummingbirds have been spotted in Costa Rica. So, at the hummingbird garden, you’ll see roughly 40% of the various species of hummingbirds found in Costa Rica. It’s amazing to see these graceful birds in action. Stop and admire the buzzing birds as they fly, feed and play in the luscious gardens.

A hummingbird at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park in Costa Rica
Snakes

At the museum-like serpentarium, you can expect to see 30 different species of snakes. The most well-known species here include the Boa Constrictor, Bushmaster, Terciopelo, Green Vinesnake, Neotropical Rattlesnake and Golden Eyelash Viper. In Costa Rica, there are 137 different types of snakes. So, having 30 species is a fairly decent collection. Beck doesn’t fancy snakes too much. So, she was pleased not to stay for too long!

Jungle Cats

Amazingly, you’ll get to see jungle cats in the wildlife sanctuary. It was quite incredible to see Margays, Jaguars, Ocelots and Pumas. Having not seen any in the wild, Beck and I were thrilled to see these incredible beasts. In fact, the 35 felines living here were placed under the care of the staff at La Paz Waterfall Gardens by MINAET. These felines were either too old, injured or had been under human care for too long to be released back into the wild. Fingers up to Tiger King and the rest of them!

Frogs

The La Paz Waterfall Gardens is one of the best places in Costa Rica to see frogs! In the free-range ranarium, the frogs roam freely. That’s right! There is no glass separating you from these gorgeous amphibians. You are free to explore the enclosure in the company of these beautiful frogs. Without any glass in the way, it’s much easier to get photos of these animals. You’ll see many different types of frogs, including the well-known poisonous dart frog! Don’t worry, this is one species of frog kept behind glass!

Sloths

Of course, it’s what you’ve all been waiting for – the rescued sloths! At the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, you’ll find three female, two-toed sloths, named Rocket, Guapa and Mulan. Again, Beck and I hadn’t seen a sloth in the wild. So, this was an amazing experience to see these interesting creatures move, interact and play.

Orchids

Before you leave the wildlife sanctuary, you’ll pass through a garden full of pretty orchids. The orchid garden is one of the most gorgeous areas in the entire reserve. Before you head to the hiking trails and waterfalls, take your time to soak in the peaceful ambience at the orchid garden.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Hiking Trails

After enjoying the wildlife sanctuary, it’s time to hike and chase waterfalls! There are three main hiking trails at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. The Main Trail is indeed the most popular trail. It’s on this trail that you’ll see four waterfalls concealed in the private reserve. The other two trails include the Rio La Paz Trail and Fern Trail. These other trails are far-less walked as they don’t reach any waterfalls. But, they’re impressive in their own right. And, they’re great trails for a bit of speed hiking.

What’s speed hiking? It’s taking hiking to another level! Find out more about speed hiking here.

Main Trail

Also known as the orange trail, this is the principal trail that guides you through the wildlife sanctuary and to all four waterfalls. Just about every visitor will follow the Main Trail to check out the animals and waterfalls. We’ll talk more about the Main Trail when we talk about all of the waterfalls below.

Dan on the Main Trail at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Natural Park in Costa Rica.
Main Trail

Rio La Paz Trail

The Rio La Paz Trail (yellow trail) is a short path that follows the La Paz River. Not many people hike the Rio La Paz Trail. That’s because most visitors just want to do the Main Trail to chase waterfalls. But, we highly recommend doing this trail. It’s a great way to explore more of the pristine river flowing through the nature reserve. The Rio La Paz Trail also leads to the even shorter Fern Trail.

Fern Trail

The Fern Trail (brown trail) is a very short and easy path. It leads away from the La Paz River through an area of serene cloud forest. Again, similar to the Rio La Paz Trail, there’s not much foot traffic on this trail. So, expect a quiet and peaceful walk. Unfortunately, most group tours will skip this trail and the Rio La Paz Trail, as most tours only allow enough time for the Main Trail. But, if you get a chance to hike the Fern Trail, there’s a point where you’ll cross a small river stream and arrive at Trout Lake.

Trout Lake

Sure, the Trout Lake isn’t the main attraction at the La Paz Waterfalls Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica. But, it’s definitely worth visiting whilst you’re there. By doing the Fern Trail you’ll pass Trout Lake as you near the wildlife sanctuary. The spring-fed lake is a great place to fish in Costa Rica and is a big drawcard for those staying at the Peace Lodge. At the lake, you’ll also find the Big Trout Bar. The restaurant is open 11am–4:30pm, whilst the bar stays open 11am–6pm. You’ll also find two hot tubs overlooking the lake!

In reality, the delights at Trout Lake, such as fishing, hot tubbing and the bar, are really only for Peace Lodge guests. So, if you want to experience all that Trout Lake has to offer, you better stay at the Peace Lodge when you visit Costa Rica!

La Paz Waterfalls in Costa Rica

Most people visit the La Paz Waterfalls Gardens in Costa Rica just to chase the extraordinary waterfalls on-site. Let’s look at the waterfalls that you’ll be exploring during your visit.

Chasing the Five Waterfalls

By following the main trail, you’ll see four incredible waterfalls within the nature park. These include, in order, Templo, Magia Blanca, Encantada and Escondida. Then, to check out La Paz Waterfall, you’ll actually need to exit the park. Basically, once you’ve seen Escondida, you’ll continue the trail towards a gift shop and shuttle bus service area. This is where the Main Tail ends. From here, you have several options on how to visit La Paz Waterfall – the fifth waterfall.

If you’re on a La Paz Waterfall tour, you’ll catch the free shuttle service (operates 8am–5pm) from the end of the Main Trail to the nature park’s entrance. You’ll then be driven to La Paz Waterfall. For those who have rented a car, you could also follow suit with the free shuttle service. You’d then simply drive to the waterfall yourself.

If you’ve caught the bus or don’t mind some extra walking, you can easily walk to the La Paz Waterfall from the end of the Main Trail. You’ll follow the road down for around 670 metres, which only takes around 5–10 minutes. The walk down is fairly steep (approx. 60 metre elevation loss). So, you’ll just have to factor in a steep climb back up the road. You could then catch the free shuttle service back to the nature park’s entrance. Just keep in mind the last shuttle service is at 5pm.

Templo Waterfall (Catarata El Templo)

Following the Main Trail, the first waterfall you’ll see is Templo (26 metres). The path winds through dense cloud forest before arriving at the Upper Templo Lookout. From there, you’ll have a great view of the waterfall. In fact, you’ll only be a few metres away from the thundering falls. Expect some spray! Once you’ve enjoyed the views from the upper lookout, rejoin the Main Trail. Don’t worry, this isn’t the last you’ll see of this waterfall.

Next, you’ll cross a footbridge and head to the Lower Templo Lookout. Unfortunately, when Beck and I visited in April 2022, the footbridge was temporarily closed. But, thankfully, just before the footbridge, it’s possible to walk slightly off-trail for a better view of Templo. Basically, you’ll approach the edge of La Paz River and follow briefly upstream. You’ll arrive at some rocks. From here, the views of Templo are mindblowing! Once you’ve scoped out Templo, rejoin the Main Trail to check out Magia Blanca.

Magia Blanca Waterfall (Catarata Magia Blanca)

From Templo, the Main Trail leads you right by Magia Blanca. Again, be ready for some spray! Then, the trail leads away from the waterfall to a viewing platform. At 37 metres, Magia Blanca is the highest waterfall at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica. It’s even taller than La Paz Waterfall! Make sure to follow the trail down to the lower platform to get even closer to this powerful waterfall.

Magia Blanca

Encantada Waterfall (Catarata Encantada)

After exploring Magia Blanca, there are two more waterfalls close by. Both waterfalls are positioned fairly close together. In fact, your first views of Encantada are seen with Magia Blanca in the distance, and Escondida (the fourth waterfall) hiding around the corner. Encantada is 20 metres high and set beautifully in the rainforest. Further along the trail, there is a viewpoint that gets you really close to Encantada.

FYI – it’s actually possible to see most of Encantada from the road in front of La Paz Waterfall. So, technically, if you don’t visit the gardens, you can still see one of its waterfalls!

Escondida Waterfall (Catarata Escondida)

At 5 metres, Escondida is the shortest waterfall at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park. When you reach the viewpoint for Encantada, you’ll be able to see Escondida next to it, but in the distance. Despite the short size, this waterfall still looks mesmerising.

La Paz Waterfall

Also known as Catarata de La Paz and Catarata La Paz, the La Paz Waterfall is 34 metres high. It’s truly a spectacular waterfall. Seeing it is a highlight of visiting the area. There are many viewpoints to enjoy this waterfall. But, perhaps, best of all, you can walk behind it. It’s always an awe-inspiring moment to be able to watch a waterfall plunge from this perspective. It reminded us of the time we walked behind Sgwd yr Eira during the Four Falls Walk at Brecon Beacons in Wales. Just magical!

Peace Lodge Costa Rica

The Peace Lodge at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica is an award-winning eco-lodge. It’s magnificently set in the rainforest within the nature park. So, the Peace Lodge in Costa Rica is a popular lodging option for tourists visiting the area. It’s certainly a convenient place to stay if you’re wanting to explore the nature park in-depth. Additionally, the Peace Lodge is one of the most highly-rated accommodation options in Costa Rica.

The Peace Lodge offers excellent facilities including an indoor pool, spa baths, a dining area, restaurants, a bar and a terrace, all with superb forest and mountain views. When it comes to eco-lodges in Costa Rica, it would be hard to beat the Peace Lodge.

FYI – the Peace Lodge in Costa Rica is also known as the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Hotel.

Hotels Near La Paz Waterfall Gardens

The Peace Lodge in Costa Rica is by far the best accommodation option if you’re wanting to stay at or near the La Paz Waterfalls. But, if the Peace Lodge is out of your price range, you might want to consider some other nearby options. Thankfully, there are other fantastic La Paz Waterfall hotel options in Vara Blanca.

  • Poas Volcano La Paz Tiquicia Lodge: this highly-rated lodge is only five minutes away from La Paz Waterfalls. It’s probably your best budget option if you want to stay near the nature park. Although, this lodge definitely doesn’t have budget vibes. It has excellent facilities and splendid natural surroundings.
  • Villa Calas: the cabins at Villa Calas are highly-rated. There are bungalows and private suites to choose from. So, there’s something for everyone. On-site, you’ll find a restaurant, bar and a lovely garden. FYI – it’s about a 10–15 minute drive away from the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park.
  • Poas Volcano Lodge: not to be confused with the Poas Volcano La Paz Tiquicia Lodge, the Poas Volcano Lodge is another great La Paz Waterfall hotel option. This boutique hotel offers an on-site bar-restaurant, stylish rooms, cloud forest surrounds and awesome views of Poas Volcano.

Safe to say, all of these hotel options are much more affordable than the Costa Rica Peace Lodge. But, of course, you can’t beat the Peace Lodge!

Dan and Beck with Templo in the background, one of the waterfalls at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Costa Rica
Templo

FAQs

Let’s look at the most FAQs when it comes to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica. If we’ve already covered information about a question in the guide, we’ll provide a link to that section. There, you can find additional information.

Where is La Paz Waterfall Gardens?

The gardens are found in the Alajuela Province in central Costa Rica. For more information, please read La Paz Waterfall Gardens Location.

How to Get to La Paz Waterfall Gardens?

The most popular options for getting to the gardens include renting a car, taking a local bus or doing a group tour. Read Visiting La Paz Waterfall Gardens and the sections below that for more information.

Is Visiting La Paz Waterfall Worth It?

Yes, absolutely! This is a good question because the La Paz Waterfall Gardens entrance fee is pricey. But, we think it’s worth it. Besides, there are no other ways to see the spectacular waterfalls concealed in the reserve.

Can You Swim in La Paz Waterfall Gardens?

No, you can’t swim at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. But, if you’re staying at the Peace Lodge, it’s possible to swim in Trout Lake.

What is There to Do at La Paz Waterfall Gardens?

There is so much to see and do at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. For more details on the wildlife sanctuary, hiking trails and waterfalls, read La Paz Waterfall Gardens Overview and the sections below it.

What Should I Wear and Pack When Visiting La Paz Waterfall?

Because you can’t swim there, you’ll just be wearing comfortable attire that’s suitable for hiking. For more information, continue below to the What to Wear and Pack section.

Can You See La Paz Waterfall From the Road?

Yes, you can see the La Paz Waterfall from the road. You can also see most of Encantada – the third waterfall in the nature park.

Are There Waterfalls in San Jose?

No, there are no waterfalls in San Jose. But, there are many waterfalls in Costa Rica that can be easily visited from San Jose!

What to Wear and Pack

Hiking Essential


Why do you need this?

See it in action

A great pair of lightweight boots goes a long way when trekking in Costa Rica. We love the Merrell Moab 2 hiking boots

This camera is the best compact digital camera on the market. It's lightweight, compact and durable. The Sony Cybershot RX100 VII takes high-quality photos and 4K videos

It can often rain at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Plus, there's a lot of spray from some of the waterfalls. If you don't want to get wet, you'll want a good waterproof jacket

This is an awesome backpack for day hikes. It has plenty of space. So, you can pack whatever you need!

The GoPro Hero 9 is a fantastic action camera. We captured some great footage along the Main Trail

You should also pack water, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat.

For a more comprehensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Or, for a general list of everything you’d need for a backpacking trip, read our Ultimate Packing Checklist.

Bonus Tips

  • Go easy on the buffet lunch: admittedly, Beck and I gorged! It wasn’t the best decision considering we were chasing waterfalls afterwards!
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens Reviews: if you’re not 100% sold on visiting, then just read some reviews online. Overall, this place is highly rated!
  • La Paz Waterfall Gardens wedding: yes, you can even get hitched here. Want an awesome wedding in Costa Rica? This could be your place!

Beck and I are very keen to go back to Costa Rica one day. Where should we go next time? To the Manuel Antonio or Corcovado national parks or the Arenal Volcano? Where would you want to visit on your vacation? Let us know in the comments below.


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