The Enchanting Flora and Fauna of La Paz Waterfall Gardens Costa Rica

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The Enchanting Flora and Fauna of La Paz Waterfall Gardens Costa Rica

Costa Rica boasts discovery and enchantment

On the slopes of Poas Volcano and about an hour north of San José, Peace Lodge blends chic elegance with natural beauty to justify its setting and name. The luxuriously chic rooms include a king-size canopy bed, waterfall shower, Jacuzzi, gas fireplace and views of the La Paz River Valley and Poas Volcano from the private balconies.

The Peace Lodge is a treat for the senses: magical sights, fragrant smells and sensual touches contribute to a unique mountain lodge experience. With handcrafted canopy beds and love seats, original stained glass and illustrated artwork, oversized balconies complete with rocking chairs, hammocks and custom Jacuzzi tubs, Peace Lodge provides a boutique hotel experience, complete with your choice aromatherapy products and fine quality linens and robes.

Set within La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park, you can enjoy afterhours access (prime bird watching and wildlife viewing times) to the gardens, waterfalls and exhibits via well-paved trails. The lodge is an excellent choice for passionate birders—the rainforest surrounds the lodge and many shier species visit the lodge’s feeders.

Famed for its cloud and rainforests, the park does not disappoint with its lush foliage, rushing white waters, cascading waterfalls and varied wildlife. With nearly 4 miles of walking trails, visitors can visit the exhibits and wander from waterfall to waterfall (there are 5) while stopping to watch the avian residents. If you’re not staying at Peace Lodge (on the grounds of the gardens), plan to stay at least 2 hours, if not all day browsing through the exhibits: the Butterfly Observatory, Hummingbird Garden, Serpentarium, Frog Exhibit, Tica House, Trout Lake.

Among the gardens non-human inhabitants, you’ll see 40 bird species, including toucans and hummingbirds (26 documented species). At the butterfly observatory, laboratory and gardens, you can find out anything you ever wanted to know about Costa Rica’s brilliantly colored butterflies. Two-toed sloths, jaguar, pumas, ocelots, jaguarondi and margay join white-faced capuchin and black-handed spider monkeys in the gardens. The Casita de la Paz has a petting zoo and ox cart and you can get a good look at indigenous snakes and frogs at the serpentarium and ranarium. If exotic flowers are your thing, don’t miss the orchid, Heliconia, and bromeliad exhibits. 

Open year-round, La Paz Waterfall Gardens, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mostly geared for self-guided tours so that visitors can linger anywhere along the way, there are also guided tours to take you behind the scenes and provide more information about the garden, its inhabitants and its history. The park is open rain or shine—it IS in the rainforest after all—so don’t expect a refund if you feel rained out. The trails have stops along the way where you can take cover. Wear good walking shoes/hiking boots and bring a light jacket or raincoat. Altitudes range from 5,200 to 4,200 feet and it can be damp and chilly when the clouds descend. Bring your camera and extra memory card/stick.

The Poas area is a rural agricultural area, well known for its coffee plantations, dairy farms and tilapia farms, many of which welcome visitors for formal tours or a casual wander. All of which makes Peace Lodge the perfect place to begin or end your Costa Rica vacation.