La Paz Waterfall Gardens: The perfect family day trip!

By Silvanna Pacheco, May 1st, 2023

If you are in San Jose there are many places you can visit: museums, theaters and the central market among many other cultural sites. But if you have kids and are looking for a fun day among nature and wildlife, La Paz Gardens is the perfect place to go. Visiting La Paz Waterfall Gardens in Heredia is the perfect day trip to plan.

Start your day early to get the most out of the day and the nice weather. It is not uncommon to encounter rain at some point of the day in this area or in Costa Rica in general, it is part of the adventure. This is why you should always pack on day trips raincoats among comfortable walking shoes, insect repellent, a bottle of water and snacks.

On your way to La Paz Gardens you will drive across Heredia following the signs to Poas Volcano and passing Vara Blanca town which means that you will be enjoying amazing scenic views of rural Costa Rica and the Central Valley. Take a deep breath because here the air is as fresh as it gets! Colorful small houses, coffee crops, trees, cows and birds are all part of the drive. You will also notice local people selling homemade baked goods on the side of the road, which are usually very tasty! And a good way to support the local community.

Once you arrive at La Paz Gardens, parking is not a problem since they have a lot of parking available. At the reception you can buy your tickets or you can choose to buy in advance from their website. This is a self-guided tour of about 2-3 hours on 3.5 km of trails surrounded by gardens and great views. You just follow, at your own pace, the clear signs around the property that will guide you to the different attractions: wild cats, the aviary, the butterfly farm, the hummingbird garden, the trout lake and a Serpentarium and reptile exhibition.

Kids will enjoy all of these rain or shine! All the wild animals on site have been rescued and properly taken care of. On site you will also get to know how a “casita” from the late 1800’s looked like in Costa Rica. Next to La Casita, the trail to check out the 4 famous waterfalls starts. Be prepared to get wet and for a challenging trail. I wouldn’t recommend taking small kids on these trails. Trails are slippery and you should take your time. You will be right next to a waterfall, feeling the freshness of the water and you will be able to take amazing photos! Once you finish the trail, a bus will be waiting to take you up to the reception area where it all started. A very nice souvenir store awaits you and your kids, filled with candy, animal plush toys, snacks and local crafts.

At La Paz, you will find a restaurant that serves buffet style meals. On the other hand if you are feeling adventurous I recommend you visit Chubascos Restaurant for lunch located 20 minutes away from La Paz, a very cozy and folkloric place to eat Costa Rican style cuisine, a must stop for locals when visiting this area.