Vara Blanca, Heredia

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The small village of Vara Blanca sits between the stunning Poás Volcano and the Barva volcano in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range. Travelers can find themselves in this quaint community after a mere 32 km drive from San Jose's Juan Santamaria International Airport. Vara Blanca is near many of Costa Rica's finest destinations, and is centrally located.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens

Vara Blanca is home to the unmatched La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Although this park's admission is fairly pricey, most travelers say it is well worth the money. There are large areas of virgin rainforest here that remain unspoilt by agriculture, in part due to the heavy rainfall and overcast weather of the eastern slopes of the mountain range. The history of the park stems back to World War II when the United States Army Corps of Engineers built the road to and bridge over the La Paz River, allowing access to this area for medicinal needs from the region's trees. Although the experiment wasn't successful, it opened up new opportunities for travelers to reach the area.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens features 3.5 kilometers of hiking trails, ten animal exhibits, five waterfalls and more than 100 animal species. Spanning 70 acres, travelers visiting the area can get up close and personal with the five beautiful waterfalls that were previously only viewable from the mountainside. Snap unbelievable photos from the viewing platform underneath the Magia Blanca waterfall, or along the bridges and platforms leading through the Templo and Encantada waterfalls. This park is truly one that should not be missed.

Poás Volcano National Park

However, La Paz isn't the only unique natural attraction near Vara Blanca - the Poás Volcano National Park is one of the most breathtaking sites in Costa Rica. Sitting at nearly 8,885 feet high, Poas is one of the largest and most active volcanoes in the country. Because this park is highly attractive, it is actually one of the most developed and can even be accessed by wheelchair.

Capture stunning views at the main crater, which stretches almost a mile in diameter. Geysers are known to explode into the air here, and can reach heights as momentous as 820 feet, but the chances of getting splashed are very unlikely because the crater is nearly 1,000 feet below the ground level where visitors stand. Outside of the immediate area around the crater, the park is very dense with vegetation and an abundance of flora and fauna.