Welcome to Paradise! You’ll discover 5 cascading waterfalls as you leisurely walk through the misty cloud forest trails while visiting La Paz Waterfall Gardens. On this guided hike you’ll learn about the jungle and its natural inhabitants while visiting animal sanctuaries, insect, frog and snake exhibits, an aviary, orchid and bromeliad houses and that’s not all. Wild jungle cats, a Toucan feeding station, Hummingbird Garden, Trout pond, the list goes on. You’ll also take a trip through time in the historical farmhouse reproduction where you can ride in an ox-cart or perhaps milk a cow!
This amazing nature tour begins at the main reception area of La Paz Waterfall Gardens where you will meet your bilingual guide who will tell you the history of the gardens, how it was built without breaking a branch, and it’s ongoing reforestation projects.
You’ll follow the hiking trails into the rainforest where you will encounter the enchanting La Paz Waterfall. Soon you will discover it is only one of a network of five large cascading waterfalls. A series of observation platforms were designed to give you spectacular views of each of the falls. Your guide will lead you to the largest waterfall called, Magia Blanca or “White Magic”. Here you can actually take photos while standing on a platform underneath the waterfall!
Throughout your hike you’ll come across various buildings and outdoor habitats that house different types of wildlife including jungle cats, birds, butterflies, monkeys, hummingbirds, snakes, and frogs to name a few. If you are an orchid lover then you will enjoy seeing the many types of orchids and other epiphytes.
You will likely see all the iconic Costa Rican creatures like the Red-Eyed tree frog, Three-Toed sloth, Toucans and 3 species of playful monkeys. You may even have a chance to feed a Toucan!
Did you know that Costa Rica is home to Jaguars, Pumas, and Ocelots? The animals you will see in the sanctuary were placed there by a governmental agency that protects wildlife since the animals were not able to fend for themselves in the wild. They have been successfully breeding though, and La Paz plans to raise the young in such a way that they will be able to live in the wild as adults. This tour provides a perfect opportunity to take up-close photos of many beloved jungle animals.
You will also be welcomed into the “Casita de La Paz” which means “Peace House”, where you will learn about the traditional Costa Rican way of life one hundred years ago. This includes farming, cooking, and coffee production. The casita was built with only the kind of hand tools available during this time period, using wood from the local forest. You can sample a fresh tortilla, go for a ride in an ox-cart, and try your hand at milking a cow if it is milking time.
The mission of the La Paz Waterfall Gardens is to preserve the nature of the area through education and eco-tourism supporting local wildlife and the local economy at the same time. This 70-acre sanctuary features 40 acres of cloud and rainforest with over 2 miles of meandering nature trails. The observation platforms were designed and built by an eco-designer who is also contracted by the National Park system. Materials were carried in by foot not to disturb the environment with heavy machinery. Ninety-five percent of the employees are from the immediate area.
The tour includes entrance to the Gardens and a bilingual tour guide. This is a moderate hike that includes hundreds of stairs. Transportation is NOT included but can be arranged for an additional cost. Many people like to add this to their transfer between Arenal and the Central Valley. The guided tour typically takes between 1.5 and 2.5 hours depending on how long the group spends in each area. Please wear comfortable enclosed hiking shoes, and bring a rain jacket, bug repellent, sunblock, binoculars and camera.