Vara Blanca is a small village located between Poas Volcano and Barva Volcano in Heredia Province in Costa Rica. It is an important cross-road location for all major traffic connecting the northern parts of Costa Rica especially the Sarapiqui Riverdelta area with the major population area of the San Jose Central Valley.
LA PAZ WATERFALL GARDENS
La Paz Waterfall Gardens is the #1 Most Visited Privately Owned Ecological Attraction in Costa Rica featuring the best hiking near San José, the most famous waterfalls in Costa Rica, animal sanctuary with over 100 species of animals, and an environmental education program.
Five waterfalls, cloud forest and rain forest, safe hiking trails, aviary with numerous species of birds, toucan feeding demonstration time, insect exhibit, butterfly observatory, capuchin (white-faced) monkeys, black-handed spider monkeys, hummingbird garden with 26 documented species, hummingbird hand feeding demonstration time in the mornings and afternoons, serpentarium (snake exhibit), jaguars, pumas, ocelots, margays, tica house with petting zoo and ox cart, ranarium (frog exhibit), orchid exhibit, heliconia exhibit. All of these offered at one place, makes us the best eco park in Costa Rica. We offer special discounts for religious missionary groups and nonprofit environmental education groups and school groups. Please contact us with information about your group. When you think about Costa Rica, you probably imagine lush tropical rain forest, flowing white rivers, spectacular waterfalls, birds, butterflies, monkeys, hummingbirds, snakes, felines and frogs. At La Paz Waterfall Gardens, you are guaranteed to see all that and more. Waterfall Gardens is open year round from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with our last shuttle pick up from the exit trail at 5:00 p.m. We recommend our last visitors to enter the park at 3:00 p.m. to insure that they have enough time to walk the primary trails. Reservations are not necessary. We can accommodate earlier arrivals and later departures with an advance request. With over 3.5 kilometers of walking trails and educational animal exhibits to enjoy, we recommend a minimum of 2 hours for your visit. However, if you would like to see every trail and thoroughly enjoy the time spent in the Aviary, the Butterfly Observatory, Hummingbird Garden, Serpentarium, Jungle Cats Exhibit, Frog Exhibit, Tica House and Trout Lake, you will probably want to stay the whole day. Waterfall Gardens is primarily a self-guided tour allowing our visitors to proceed directly to their areas of interest. However, we highly recommend the guided tour (as available) to receive the most information and impact from your visit. To make reservations, please contact us at email@example.com “What if it rains?” This is the rainforest for goodness sake! Seriously, sometimes it does rain here and sometimes it doesn’t stop! However, we do offer raincoats for sale and our trails are designed so you will have places to stop and take cover. However, we do not offer ‘rain days’ for paid tours.
What should you bring? A DIGITAL MEMORY CARD WITH A LOT OF SPACE!! No, that’s just our biased opinion. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes (preferably with a thick tread for hiking the trails and hundreds of stairs), shorts or comfortable pants and a lightweight jacket or raincoat. Please keep in mind that the park ranges in altitude from 5,200 feet to 4,200 feet so it can get chilly when the clouds roll in.
History of La Paz Waterfall Gardens, The Peace Lodge
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is a privately owned and managed ecological attraction that opened in the fall of 2000. The construction of the Hiking Trails, Butterfly Observatory and Reception began in July of 1998 and was mostly complete by the fall of 2000. Since opening we have continually added new and interesting exhibits to enhance the quality of your visit. Please Enjoy. Our Mission Statement is to preserve and protect the natural environment of the area for the education, entertainment, and enjoyment of all ages of people. Our strategy combines environmentally conscious design with maximum educational impact to the visitor. The Park comprises 70 acres (28 hectares) of land including approximately 40 acres of cloud and rainforest and 30 acres (12 hectares) of pastureland cut by a previous owner. The forest area is currently protected under Private Animal Sanctuary Status and we are in the process of reforesting the unoccupied pastureland. We are also an active member of the Costa Rican Network of Private Nature Reserves, the Green Stamp Program, the Blue Flag Program and the Environmental Services Payment Program. The 2.2 miles (3.5 kilometers) of hiking trails and viewing platforms constructed from 1998-2000 were designed and built without cutting one tree or vine system. The materials for the trails and platforms were carried down on foot in order to avoid the use of heavy equipment in the forest. The credit for this tremendous accomplishment goes to Mr. Bernardo Picado who designed trails for the National Park System of Costa Rica prior to joining our team. We added the Colibries Restaurant and the Serpentarium in 2004 and the Ranarium and Trout Lake in 2005. Our new enclosed Butterfly Observatory opened in August of 2006 along with the conversion of our existing Butterfly Observatory to an Aviary in the same year. Construction on the Peace Lodge began in 2003 and various phases were completed over the next two years. In 2005 we had 17 units open. Less than a year after opening the Peace Lodge was featured on the Travel Channel show Trista and Ryan’s Honeymoon Hotspots International. There were only eight resorts outside the U.S. chosen for this honor. In our effort to support the local economy, we employ 95% of our 120+ employees from the surrounding towns within a 12 mile radius (20 kilometers). These small communities previously existed almost exclusively on ranching and agriculture.