Costa Rica: Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Costa Rica: Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens

So, I heard of a place that had hummingbirds and waterfalls and thought that sounded fun! When I looked into it more deeply I found a private tour that included the Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens (where the aforementioned hummingbirds reside) through a man called Victor Mora. Now I think of it, a lot of our tour guides were called Victor here! So, I went ahead and booked the full day tour.

Victor Mora

Victor was brilliant he had excellent English and had studied Natural History, so was full of useful information. He was a very genuine man who told us the story of how he came from a farming family but at age 9 was diagnosed with a brain tumour and told that he would die. But, he didn’t. He believed he had been given a second change at life so he pursued his dreams by teaching himself English, studied Natural History and became a tour guide. What an admirable man.

It was a couple of hours drive to the volcano so Victor told us lots of facts about Costa Rica. What I found particularly interesting was that the country has no army. The decision was made to get rid of their army and put the extra money into schools and education. This was because there was a huge amount of technology here in Costa Rica (Intel makes microchips here) and they wanted children to train to be engineers and the such like. Teachers here are well respected and Victor said “the teachers are our army!”

We arrived at the location of the Poas volcano and took a short walk to the main crater, which is the second biggest in Costa Rica. Apparently, we were lucky as it was such a clear day and usually the clouds obscure a lot of the view. That said, it was quite a site seeing the clouds rolling in from the Caribbean Sea and literally within minutes parts of the view would disappear entirely. The crater itself was full of green sulfuric water which reached temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius. It is also interesting to know that Poas is an active volcano and if it decided to erupt the estimated time for escape is around 20 minutes! Photos taken, we continued our drive onto La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

La Paz consists of a newly refurbished set of walkways, gardens and enclosures for rescued animals. The setting is jaw dropping and you could easily spend hours here exploring everything it has to offer, including the largest butterfly observatory in the world. The aviary was particularly impressive, a huge dome shaped, walk-through, enclosure where it was hard to tell that you weren’t actually in the jungle. This led through to the infamous hummingbird section. There are 57 species of hummingbird in Costa Rica, 57!!! I had no idea there were so many different types. In the enclosure the tiny little birds buzzed through the air so quickly it was almost impossible to get a picture of them. Truly amazing creatures.


There are plenty of other animals to see here, all of which cannot be released back into the wild with the exception of some of the jungle cats. Successful breeding means that young ocelots and jaguars may well be released on day. First, they would be put into an enclosure in the jungle to acclimatise before finally being set free.

Before the waterfalls, Victor showed us the Casita de la Paz. This was a traditional house of a farmer as it would have looked 100 years ago. As Victor’s family are farmers he could tell us a lot about their way of life. They did not even have electricity until 1996! There were also no mattresses on the bed just solid wood to lie on!

The tour finished with walking down the mountainside passing 5 waterfalls of varying sizes. I’ve never failed to be impressed by waterfalls. Something about the sound of rushing water draws me to them. The walkways through them were incredible and made for some wonderful photographs. La Paz means ‘the peace’ which this place most definitely was. Even with the hustle and bustle of tourists you could still find yourself alone on the walkways listening to the waterfalls crashing below.

We hadn’t planned this tour in advance but it was well worth the money and Victor was an incredible guide. I learnt so much about Costa Rica, my favourite being that rather than start a war with Nicaragua when they began occupying their land, they took them to court! And they won! This is such a peaceful place that there is no need for an army and land disputes do not result in wars. Maybe there is something the rest of the world can learn from this amazing place?

If you are interested in Victor’s tours please visit here:

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