If I had to recommend just one place to visit in Costa Rica it would be La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Set high in the rain forest near Poás Volcano, it's a wonderland of typical Costa Rican birds and animals.
The grounds look like Jurassic Park only with more flowers. The wide paved paths made it easy for the Captain to walk the whole park in his still-recuperating condition. Plenty of signs in both Spanish and English made it simple to find our way around.
Our first stop was the aviary. Inside were several species of birds and a few cages with special birds like raptors, macaws, and toucans.
When we were in Golfito a year and a half ago, I got all excited when I glimpsed a fiery-billed aracari in the wild, but I was ecstatic here because you get to hold the toucans!
These are Chestnut-Mandibled toucans, one of the two large toucans in Costa Rica. They seemed quite tame and readily came to the handlers for a treat. It could be because all the birds in this park were either pets or injured at one time, so they are used to humans.
Such charming birds with their fancy plumage and friendly ways. It was the highlight of the park for me.
There were also lots of these Black Bellied Whistling Ducks wandering around. They too seemed very nonchalant towards humans.
The frogs of Costa Rica were well represented too with four different tree frogs and three poison dart frogs. Did you know that tree frogs are nocturnal? We didn't but felt lucky that this little guy woke up and said hello for a few minutes.
The most un-nerving exhibit was the cats and especially this jaguar. When we walked by he slowly opened his eyes, stretched and yawned, then settled down again; the whole time keeping his eyes on us. I was thankful that I could have outrun Malcolm if I'd had to.
They also had a little farm exhibit with these oxen hitched to a colorful traditional cart and a milking and cheese making demonstration.
There was also a butterfly garden, a hummingbird area, a snake exhibit, a trout fishing area, a restaurant, and a gift shop. So, as I said, if there's only one place you can visit in Costa Rica, I would recommend La Paz Waterfall Gardens because they have everything a tourist wants to see all in a beautiful setting.