La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Alajuela, Costa Rica
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Alajuela Reviews
Natural wonders of the Rainforest Apr 11, 2013
After the excursion at the Poas Volcano Park we arrived at the Waterfall Gardens the last stop of our Combo Tour. This nature park is situated in the middle of a rain forest, and it actually rained while we were walking along the many trails and paths. Earlier our guide had told us in the car that this was going to be a 100% 'nature tour.' It proved to be the highlight of the day's trip.
Although this vast 70 acre park boasts a wildlife refuge, to me it was just a small zoo with an aviary, a butterfly observatory, Monkey Pass, hummingbird garden and a serpentarium. We went through all of them except the last one as I have an aversion to snakes! The most interesting, at least for me, was the butterfly observatory which had over 20 species of beautiful butterflies flying around in the enclosed structure while we were walking around the place. Some of them even landed on the people, and some sadly on the ground, lying dead from either exhaustion or being stepped on. At that moment I was hoping that they had just died from natural causes because of their very short life span.
We then broke for lunch at the Colibries restaurant on the grounds of the Gardens which had a partial view of the natural environment, particularly the rainforest. The place was almost full, but as it was a buffet we didn't have to wait long and just helped ourselves. The lunch itself was typical Costa Rican fare coupled with North American favorites like pizza and hot dogs.
After lunch we followed Hernan our trusty guide as he led the way. We took in the Jungle cat exhibit where the big cats were kept in glass enclosures. I noticed that one of the jaguars was pacing back and forth inside his glass cage which made me sad as I felt he was not happy being there. I did see signs all over stating that many of the animals and birds in the so called sanctuary of this park, lack the basic skills to survive on their own if they are released back in the wild.
Next, we went to the Casita de la Paz which is a reproduction of a farmer's house and life a century ago. There was an ox cart in front of the house and I couldn't resist getting on it hoping to have a ride but decided not to, because I didn't want to slow down the others who were already ahead of me. (The one time I did have a ride in an ox cart was on a beach in Myanmar about 10 years ago).
A quick walk through the ranarium, a place where frogs are bred, to have a look at the tiny poisonous and leaf frogs. There is an employee stationed there all the time to warn guests not to touch these little amphibians, and warning signs posted too. I wondered if their poison can be lethal or not. No time to wonder more as I had to catch up with the rest of the group as they made their way through the paved trails to the first waterfall.
Along these paths and stairs which take you above, below and right next to the waterfalls there was a lot of climbing as well, so we had to be careful. The sign at the first waterfall said its height was 26 meters or 85 feet, and the second one was even higher at 36 meters which is around 120 feet. This section of the rainforest is pure jungle, and I admire the ingenuity of the engineers and laborers who built all these trails without disturbing the natural surroundings.
I was already huffing and puffing at the last course, and was somewhat relieved when we reached the gift shop at the end of the jungle trail! There were clean bathrooms at the gift shop and some of the people browsed through the shop, but I didn't see anyone in our group buying anything.
We didn't have to wait long for the van, and 13 weary but apparently happy and/or satisfied passengers boarded it for the ride back to our respective hotels. Hernan gave us his agency's evaluation forms to fill out regarding the tour and service. I ticked everything as being excellent.
We were the first to be picked up and the last to be dropped off, so we got back to our hotel only in the late afternoon. As mentioned earlier in the first part, this was a Combo package of 3 tours in one. The cost was $100 per person which is not that cheap but it did include transportation, breakfast, lunch and guide services. So if you're into coffee, volcanos, mini-zoos and waterfalls, go for it!
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