If you’re looking to splurge on a hotel in Costa Rica, then you must check out the Peace Lodge. This small lodge is only a one hour drive from San Jose, yet ensconced in the magical tropical cloud and rain forests.
It also has an on-site nature park with an animal sanctuary and 5 waterfalls, making it one of the best places to visit Costa Rica, especially for families. The Peace Lodge’s intimate atmosphere and cozy rooms also make it a great place to stay for a Costa Rica honeymoon.
For those of you who are debating on which hotel to splurge on, read our review of the Peace Lodge and La Paz waterfall gardens (and get 7% off the nature park tickets)!
Peace Lodge Location
The Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park is in the small town of Vara Blanca in the Heredia Province, in between the Poas and Barva Volcano.
Directions and how to get there
How to get to the Peace Lodge and La Paz waterfall gardens from San Jose:
Driving is the best way to get to La Paz waterfall gardens and Peace Lodge. The drive from San Jose to La Paz waterfall gardens is about 1-1.5 hours depending on traffic. You can use Waze to navigate through the city up towards Vara Blanca. Be aware that the road going up gets very narrow and curvy so drive slowly.
There aren’t any shared shuttles that go to La Paz waterfall gardens. A private shuttle from San Jose costs around $140-170 one way. From San Jose or Alajuela, you can take the bus to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui and get off at Vara Blanca. From Vara Blanca, you will need to taxi to the La Paz waterfall gardens.
The Peace Lodge Property
First of all, the Peace Lodge is one of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Costa Rica, surrounded by nature and lush jungle. The Peace Lodge only has a handful of rooms, all with splendid views of the cloud forest.
Right below the rooms is the animal sanctuary and there is direct access from the rooms to the nature park.
They also have 6 different restaurants and a large trout pond so you can go fishing for your own lunch! The restaurants serve excellent food, I had some of the best fish sandwiches and tuna salads I’ve ever had. The breakfast buffet is equally as good with plenty of freshly cooked plantains, gallo pinto, pastries and fresh fruit.
All the rooms are extremely nice with a fireplace, outdoor Jacuzzi and balcony but there are a few differences between the standard and deluxe. The standard guest room is 60 meters squared (200 sq feet) and the deluxe is 74 meters squared (242 feet) so the bathroom is bigger with another Jacuzzi.
We absolutely loved the fireplace and hard wood floors. It made us feel like we were staying at a cabin during a winter vacation. It got cold at night (around 50s F or 10 C) when we were there (June) and rained every night so we curled up in front of the fireplace with a nice cup of tea.
And when we felt like we needed more relaxation, we jumped in the outdoor Jacuzzi!
This bathroom was so big that I was able to do yoga and Zumba in there!
All the balconies have hummingbird feeders so every morning we saw the pretty birds zoom around. It was so relaxing to have a hot cup of coffee while looking at the view too!
They also have two large villas: Monarch and Villa Lago which fit large groups or families as they have all the comforts of home.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
The privately owned 70 acre (28 hectares) waterfall garden offers splendid cloud forest views, nature trails and waterfalls. The animal sanctuary provides an educational and fun experience for people to learn about conservation and native animals of Costa Rica. Hotel guests have complimentary entrance and exclusive access before and after opening hours.
This is incredibly nice since the gardens can get absolutely packed during high season from around 10 AM – 3 PM. We wondered over there at 8 AM and had the entire park to ourselves, including the waterfalls! We got to take our time and had all the viewpoints to ourselves. It gave us ample time to experience, enjoy and take in the breathtaking beauty of the waterfalls.
La Paz waterfall gardens hours and entrance fee
For outside visitors, the La Pa Waterfall Gardens are open everyday 8 AM – 5 PM. The entrance fee is $45 per adult foreigner and $27 per child (3-12). You can also add a buffet lunch so the entrance + lunch is $59 per adult and $38 per child.
La Paz waterfall gardens map
Here is a map of both the Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
There are over 3.5 kilometers of walking trails that go through the animal sanctuary and viewpoints of the 5 waterfalls.
There are 5 waterfalls in the park: Templo, Magia Blanca, Encantada, Escondida and La Paz. The trails are all well built and very sturdy with hand rails so even for those who are not in good shape can do it.
Here are some of the photos we took of the waterfalls.
La Paz waterfall is the one you can see from the main road for free.
Their animal sanctuary has monkeys, toucans, sloths, jungle cats, parrots, ducks, snakes, frogs and other animals. The MINAE, or Costa Rican Ministry of Environment donated these animals which were confiscated as pets or injured to the sanctuary.
The La Paz Waterfall Gardens is a great place in Costa Rica for families with little kids as they can get up close with the animals and learn more them. There is also a butterfly laboratory, aviary, serpentarium and frog exhibit.
La Paz waterfall gardens tour
For those who are staying in San Jose and don’t have your own transportation, you can take a tour which includes roundtrip transportation, guide and entrance fees. Tour companies combine La Paz Waterfall Gardens with Doka Coffee Tour or Poas Volcano. This is one of the best day trips from San Jose.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens Discount
If you have your own transportation and want to visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens on your own, we have an exclusive discount for Mytanfeet readers!
We loved our time at the Peace Lodge and La Paz Waterfall Gardens. It’s a high end boutique hotel for a reason and they exceeded all our expectations of a luxury hotel. The friendly staff, delicious food, spacious and cozy rooms and incredible views make it well worth the money to visit.
It’s not a cheap place to stay but for anyone looking for a luxury hotel for a honeymoon or with a family, this is an excellent choice. The location is amazing and is worth staying at least one or two nights. I have to say that having access to the gardens before opening and and after closing hours was awesome!
If you’re traveling onto La Fortuna, Peace Lodge has a sister property called The Springs Resort & Spa. We also have a $10 discount for their Club Rio multi adventure package where you can go kayaking, tubing, horseback riding or hiking on their beautiful property. Also includes a 2 day hot spring pass!