La Paz is a waterfall in central Costa Rica situated 31 km (~19 mi) north of Alejuela, between Vara Blanca and Cinchona. The waterfall is formed by the River La Paz as it courses through 8km of volcanic terrain. It is located more than 1,372 m (~4,500 ft) above sea level, and reaches a height of 37 m (~121 ft).
Due to an altitude that varies between 1,219 and 1,524 m (~4,000 and 5,000 ft), this area has a rich bio-diversity, enabling visitors to experience both a cloud forest and rain forest.
Behind the waterfall, a short pathway leads to a small shrine. The trail areas around the waterfall are paved in concrete, and there are viewing platforms above, below and in the centre, where the visitor can be sprinkled by the waterfall’s fine spray.
Upstream from the waterfall is the La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a hotel and park complex which is home to over 100 species of wildlife, and is a rescued wildlife preserve. Attractions include an aviary with 40 different species of birds, a frog terrarium, sloths, spider and marmoset monkeys, jaguars, pumas, ocelots and the largest butterfly observatory in the world.
The La Paz Waterfall Gardens were significantly rebuilt and consequently improved upon after an earthquake measuring 6.1 on the Richter scale damaged the area on January 8th, 2009.
The waterfall and gardens are a popular day trip from San Jose. They lie directly alongside the road from Alejuela, leading to the northern plains of Costa Rica, La Paz, meaning ‘the peace’ in Spanish.