La Paz Waterfall Gardens (includes waterfalls – $35/each for non-nationals – $70 total.).
La Paz Waterfall Gardens is not only a set of gardens and waterfalls, it’s also a small zoo with monkeys, birds (including toucans), jungle cats, frogs, and my favorite part of all, a butterfly house.
Carrie and I are not big fans of going to zoos. Though we think in concept they’re a good idea to get people interested in conservation and to make people aware of what exists in the world, for ourselves, we’d just rather find a way to go see the animals in the wild. But not all people are thinking that way, so it’s good that the opportunity exists in many cities around the world in the form of a zoo.
Anyway, because the road was closed due to an earthquake from a year or so ago, the only way to see the waterfalls was to pay to go through the gardens/zoo.
We really enjoyed the waterfalls and zoo. We also wondered why it was $35 instead of $20 or $25, which seems like it would have been a more appropriate price for the experience.
However, maybe we were still just a bit frustrated about the driving hassles of the days before.
In any case, La Paz Waterfall Gardens comes as a recommended experience.
There are several great waterfalls (two of which you can actually see right now – earthquake damage to trails prevents access to the rest), and the plants and animals there are worth seeing for sure.
Again, I especially loved the butterfly experience, as well as the waterfalls at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
So far, our favorite two days in Costa Rica have also been the days we’ve become tourists and done touristy things. (Today, and our day visiting the sloths, waterfall, and cacao house close to Puerto Viejo.)
These two days have also been the most expensive days we’ve had in Costa Rica.
We’ve met some really nice Costa Ricans whom we are looking forward to staying in touch with and building better relationships with.
The Ticabus office was closed today , but fortunately we learned here at the Costa Rica backpackers hostel (where we are for one night since our bus leaves at 3AM for Nicaragua) that Ticabus has moved the location where they pick people up.
We’re taking a taxi across town and are headed to Nicaragua in just a few hours.
We will attempt to catch a few ZZZ’s now, and hopefully we’ll get the rest of our sleep on the bus to Nicaragua (a 9 hour trip with what will hopefully be another interesting but ultimately uneventful border crossing).
So I’m going to wrap up my thoughts on Costa Rica for now.
Based on this limited experience of four weeks, my recommendation would be that if you’re coming to Costa Rica, just pay for a tour that’s structured and planned.
You’ll pay for it at the same prices (or higher) you’d pay for somewhat similar experiences in the US.
However, you’ll probably enjoy the experience much more with a local to guide the experience, even if it’s a bit contrived and tailored specifically to offer you an authentically touristy experience.