Tourist Attractions in Costa Rica’s Central Valley – La Paz Waterfall Gardens

This blog will be the third installment in our series of Costa Rican tourist attractions near the San Jose / Alajuela  airport.

In our last blog, we gave an overview of the most popular national park in Costa Rica – Poas Volcano.  On the eastern slopes of this huge volcano is a spectacularly beautiful valley that separates Poas and Barva Volcanos.  This valley spawns the headwaters of the Sarapiqui River, a class 3 whitewater rafting river.  On the slopes of this valley, just north of the small scenic town of Varablanca, one can find La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

This very popular tourist attraction can be combined with Poas Volcano and Doka Coffee Plantation into a very cost effective day for guests interested in seeing all of these sites in one day… yes it IS possible!  Come ask us at Hotel La Rosa de America how to do this and we will be happy to assist in the arrangements.  Check out our Packages page of our website or go HERE for more info!


La Paz means “Peace” in Spanish and is a very important part of the Costa Rican culture.  This country is distinct in that it has no standing military and has not since the late 1940’s.  La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a tourist establishment, centred on six large cascading waterfalls.  Walkways, trails and ramps can get you close to the best viewing spots – all at the danger of getting a little wet!

This location is about 5,000 feet up and so the weather can be a little chilly, especially when the clouds roll in from the Caribbean.  It is recommended to bring proper footwear and pants.

Peace and beauty on the slopes of Poas Volcano


The Gardens also include a number of other major features.  There is a large Aviary containing many of the more exotic tropical birds including toucans, motmots, tanagers, macaws, woodpeckers and many more.  La Paz Waterfall Gardens is also home to one of the largest enclosed butterfly observatories on Earth.  Other attractions include jungle cats, a snake exhibit, hummingbirds, monkeys and frogs!

A day at the Gardens is completed by a very good restaurant that serves a complete buffet lunch.  This is very popular for both individuals and tour groups alike.  It is possible to stay overnight with a reservation at the Peace Lodge. This is a very high end, small and highly selective resort located close by to the Gardens themselves.


Hidden waterfalls high up in the jungle

La Paz Waterfall Gardens Costa Rica

    Directions:  One hour from Hotel La Rosa de America.  Turn RIGHT at the big “Drinks” sign on the main street and drive 2 km up the road.  Turn left at the “T” intersection and continue for 2 km further.  Take the RIGHT fork in the road until San Pedro de Poas, and continue through the town until you arrive at the small town of Fraijanes.  At the crossroads, take the RIGHT road and then drive over the incredibly scenic “saddle” between Poas and Barva Volcanos until you get to the tiny town of Varablanca.  Then turn left down the road and descend into the Sarapiqui Valley for about 4 km.  The Gardens are on the left.  Driving time is approximately 1 hour and 10 min.

Address:  126, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica

Contact Info:  Telephone: (506) 2482-2720 / Reservations: 2482-2100

Hours:  Open open year round from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m  Recommended to arrive no later than 3 pm to ensure sufficient time to see the waterfalls.

Rates as of 2017:  Entrance  $42.00   Buffet lunch  $14.00