La Paz Waterfall Gardens & Peace Lodge
Come for the wildlife, stay for the good life. Popular with day visitors who arrive to hand-feed hummingbirds and toucans, fish for trout, and watch staff feed the rescued big cats and monkeys, Waterfall Gardens is a 70-acre reserve in Costa Rica
’s cloud-forest interior, just an hour from San Jose. But booking a room at the luxury Peace Lodge on site enhances the experience many times over, with perks that include off-hours access, when animals are most active and crowds aren’t an issue. Once you’ve checked in, though, the lodge’s 18 suites are designed to encourage hiding away. Even the most basic accommodations have two rock-clad Jacuzzi tubs—one in the bathroom and one on the balcony—a river stone–surrounded gas fireplace, waterfall showers, and hammocks to enjoy views of Poás Volcano. There are also five restaurants; opt for dinner at the Big Trout Bar, whose chefs will prepare the fish you caught earlier that day.