Luxury travel is all the rage right now. Whether this is for a spa getaway, a culinary delight, or simply an escape from everyday life.
In the past, Costa Rica certainly wasn’t at the top of the list for luxury travel. Instead, the secluded beaches and dense jungles appealed to the younger, backpacker audience. Fast forward to today, and the very same attributes are being advertised to sell Costa Rica as the next, up-and-coming luxury travel destination.
During my time, I have had the pleasure of experiencing some of the very best hotels in Costa Rica. Journeying throughout the country, I have discovered the meaning of luxury in this Pura Vida nation. With each new stay; from every bite, I eat to the bed I sleep in, I discover something different. Something that sets a hotel apart from its competitors.
Well, journeying to the Central Valley of Costa Rica, I certainly found just that. I wasn’t blown away by the sheer glamour or luxury that other hotels use to wow guests. Instead, I was captivated by the unimaginable uniqueness of a hotel. Welcome to La Paz Waterfalls and Gardens.
Just a short drive from San Jose International Airport, La Paz is in a prime location to start your Costa Rican journey. In fact, it is found on the very slopes of one of the countries must-see attractions: Poas Volcano. Unless you have a burning desire to explore the capital of San Jose, I would fully recommend staying at La Paz on either your first or last night in Costa Rica.
This boutique hotel is set amid the spectacular scenery of the impressive Poas Volcano. Verdant rainforests stretch for as far as the eye can see and a thin layer of mist can often be seen hugging the canopy. At nearly 1600 meters, the air has a refreshingly cool feel to it; a huge contrast to the general ideology of tropical Costa Rica, with its beating sun and golden sand beaches.
Quite honestly, it’s a welcoming relief. It is an escape from the sticky humidity I’ve grown so accustomed to. Trails lead from the hotel and into the gloom of the forest. Instantly, nature consumes you, with sounds reverberating all around; the background hum of innumerable cicadas, intermittently interrupted by a low croaking of a frog or chirp from an unseen bird. It’s easy to lose yourself to the orchestral symphonies of nature.
The trails meander for over 2 miles through the rainforest, past viewing platforms overlooking the torrents of water cascading down the many waterfalls. The entirety of La Paz is at one with nature, from the rooms to the trails themselves. Not a single tree was felled, or the vine system was destroyed in designing the layout of the hikes. The waterfalls themselves are beyond spectacular. Some of the platforms let you get within inches of the raging torrents, creating a sensory overload; the freshwater spray on your face, the deafening roar as each waterfall collides with surrounding vegetation and pools below, or the smell of the numerous exotic trees and flowers.
But this is the rainforest, so expect to get damp at the very least. With sudden downpours of rain, coupled with the misty spray of the waterfalls, bodies can soon become sodden. But fear not, for back in the hotel room, the outdoor jungle is brought to you, with no chance of rain. Awaken your senses in the comforts of five-star accommodation.
You won’t find state-of-the-art technology here, instead, the room accommodates the nature surrounding the region, in a cozy and comforting way. With a river stone fireplace, four-post bed made from locally sourced wood, and hot-tub jacuzzies, you can revive your wet bones. In some rooms, however, the elegance is taken up a notch. As you enter the spacious bathroom, you are greeted with what can only be described as a controlled jungle. Growing on every available substrate, air plants, bromeliads, vines, and other native rainforest species, cling to the walls of the bathroom, creating a community of alive wonders.
At the turn of a knob, transform the wall into a cascading downpour of water that tantalizes your senses. It truly is a remarkable and unique feature of the hotel. You can bask in the hot tub, a glass of wine in hand, and lose yourself to the forest soundscape, without the worry of pesky rainforest critters or changing weather conditions. I personally have never seen anything quite like it and it was a pleasure to experience such a magical room. I didn’t think it was possible, to bring the qualities of the local cloud forest inside, yet the thriving ecosystem of plants and gushing falls, begs to differ.
After soaking up the ambiance of the indoor jungle, you can indulge in a variety of dining options; from fine dining to freshly fried fish. The restaurants pride themselves on fresh and local produce, so much so, that the trout lake is just a short walk away. You can even venture there yourself to see where your food is coming from. There is a range of delicious options available, with both local flavors of Costa Rica, with an international twist.
If you think that is all, how mistaken you are. On this 70-acre property, a wildlife rescue center can be found, showcasing some of the most iconic Central American species. Most of these animals have been rescued from the illegal exotic pet trade and seized by the government-affiliated organization, Minaet. Gaze in wonder at the natural spectacles, from a beautiful butterfly, harden open aviary and beautiful felines. After exploring the sanctuary, and the wealth of wildlife it contains, why not try a buffet-style lunch, just a stones-throw away from the hummingbird gardens.
Truly, I have nothing bad to say about this hotel. It is clear to see why La Paz has ranked number one among the leading tourism sites. The combination of environmentally conscious designs, unique luxury, and prime locations, equates to one magical experience.
Book by: Dec 31st 2023
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