You know when a plan comes together kind of randomly? You sort of stumble upon something online and think, "Hey, that sounds neat". Well, feeding hummingbirds in Costa Rica was one of those plans.
We knew we were going to head to La Paz Waterfall Gardens during our trip but only found out about the hummingbird feeding when my sister-in-law came across it online. We knew it was something we needed to check out. So, we headed out extra early to make sure we were there in time to take part.
We had no idea the magic we were in for.
When to Arrive
La Paz is about 90 minutes drive from where we are living in Costa Rica. We loaded up the car and headed out around 6:30 am to give us lots of time to account for Costa Rican roadworks, detours, and other potential delays which are common on the highways and backroads.
The website said the hummingbird feeding began at 8 am, right when the park opens. Once we arrived, after a 1.5-hour long drive from our place near San Jose, we were then told it actually didn't start until 9 am, which was no problem at all.
We strolled around the grounds and killed some time until the feeding frenzy was ready to begin.
Get Ready to Make 100 New Friends
Around 9 am, a La Paz staff person entered the hummingbird area (just follow the signs or look at a map to find it). She handed out small hand-held feeders to each person in the group. There were maybe 15 of us in total which made it a nice sized group for this experience. The large feeders which were hanging in the center of the garden were then covered up. This meant the hummingbirds had to land on our feeders as opposed to using the large ones. Smart right?
It took a few minutes for them to get going, but once they started flying in it was AMAZING.
You probably know that hummingbirds move fast, really fast. Their average speed is 45 miles per hour and when that little guy comes whizzing past your head it's pretty intense. Their wings are so powerful, just them flying onto the feeder could blow your hair around and make you jump. Not to mention the pretty loud buzzing sound as they flew past, circled you, and then came in for their landing on your hand.
After a few minutes of laughing our heads off, we were used to the feeling of these tiny birds zipped around and got to enjoy it/try and capture some kind of useable photos.
In terms of feeding them, there wasn't much to it. Hold the little feeder in your hand, try and move away from other people a little if you can, and above all, be patient.
We noticed the hummingbirds sort of came and went in waves. A bunch would show up all at once, and then there would be a couple of minutes with none at all. This would repeat over and over as we stood there.
Be patient, hang onto that little feeder and wait. They will come!
We got some sage wisdom from the people next to us, who seemed to be seasoned hummingbird feeding experts (if that's even a thing). They recommended resting your hand online the outer edge of the feeder, so that when the birds land they are perched directly on your finger. Genius!
Worth the Ticket Price
A ticket into La Paz Waterfall gardens will run you $65 USD per person, so this is not a cheap place to visit, especially for a larger group.
Getting to feed the hummingbirds was an absolute highlight of our trip to Costa Rica so far. It was amazing to be so close to and interact with these tiny little birds. It really added to the value and enjoyment of our visit to La Paz and I would recommend adding it onto your plans if possible.
We also learned a lot about hummingbirds, the different species, and how they behave in the wild. We also loved this experience because the hummingbirds are free to come and go as they please.
In addition to the hummingbird experience at the park, the grounds included lots of other animals and things to see. We didn't go to every pavilion and I did not photograph much. The rest of the park is quite "zoo-like" and not really to our taste.
We liked the hummingbirds because they were not captive and were free moving, unlike many of the other animals. If you are against animal tourism, this may not be the destination for you. But, if the hummingbirds appeal it might be worth it. That combined with the lovely trails and multiple waterfalls makes is a really pretty and fun place to spend a few hours.
To check them out click here.
Have questions about La Paz or Costa Rica in general? Send me a message.