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10 Things To Do In Vara Blanca Costa Rica

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If you are looking for an authentic tico experience, the peaceful town of Vara Blanca,  located between the Poas and the Barva volcano is well worth a visit. Popular amongst Ticos for its views and wildlife, the town fills up with bikers on the weekend.

The area is famous for its strawberries and waterfalls, amongst which the best known is the La Paz waterfall. The name Vara Blanca literally means white thing in English and is due to the weather in this area: mostly cloudy and often right in the clouds.

When visiting Vara Blanca, one will soon hear about the Cinchona earthquake that happened in this area in 2009 and has had big repercussions. It changed not only the landscape and waterways in many places, but according to locals even weather patterns!

Family standing in front of a waterfall at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Vara Blanca Location

The tranquil town of Vara Blanca is centrally located between San Jose and the northern region of San Carlos with its most famous touristic location la Fortuna. Between the two volcanoes Poas and Barva, Vara Blanca is only 29 miles north of San Jose, but on the windy mountain roads, it takes 1.5 hours to reach. The town is at 1867m above sea level in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range of Costa Rica and belongs to the Heredia province. Vara Blanca is a nice stop on the way to the Poas volcano National Park.

Related post: 20+ Amazing San Jose Costa Rica Day Trips

About Vara Blanca Costa Rica

The weather is generally Influenced by the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, which means that the drier months in Vara Blanca are when the pacific side of the country has its rainy season. The hottest months are March to June with an average of 73°F and the coldest months are November to January with an average temperature of 70°F. February to April are the driest months but there is always a considerable amount of rainfall throughout the year.

Nearby attraction: Zoo Ave Costa Rica

Things To Do In Vara Blanca

Given that Vara Blanca and the area around it gets quite some tourism, there are many options for accommodation from rustic farm stays to touristic lodges. Even though it’s rural, services are generally good and hotel staff happily speaks English for visitors from the United States.

Small waterfall and pool amidst lush foliage, La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Stay in a Chalet

Closer to the capital and a little outside of town is the Hotel Chalets Los Volcanes which offers nice wood cabins for a cheap price. A night here with a mountain view and a nice outdoor area cost around 50$.

You’ll love: Top 5 Volcanoes You Must Visit in Costa Rica

Stay in a Villa

Villa Calas is located a little outside of town and provides nicely furnished cabins and a restaurant with a fireplace along with a beautiful outdoor area and playground for kids. You can rent a little cabin here for roughly 80 $ a night.

Two young girls playing and sightseeing at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Visit La Paz Waterfall Gardens

This luxury hotel also offers wildlife viewing, gorgeous waterfalls and an amazing lunch buffet. It’s open to tourists for day trips.

Visit a Family Farm- Lecheria Corso

At Lecheria Corso you can milk cows, eat fresh strawberries, enjoy homemade ice cream and cafe chorreado. The lunch casados are to die for, and you can even eat gallo pinto for breakfast.

Two plates of Costa Rican casado.
This is a casado with beef in red sauce and steamed vegetables.

Los Fraijanes

One of my favorite traditional restaurants sits on expansive gardens. Expect to eat in a traditional Costa Rican casona. In the afternoon, their homemade Costa Rican bread (pan casero) comes out of the oven and you definitely have to try it.

Restaurante Vara Blanca

Restaurante Vara Blanca in the very center of town offers a nice barn atmosphere along with food choices such as gallos, picadillo, and sweet chorreadas. Especially the homemade tortillas are worth trying!

Restaurante Tipico

The other good restaurant in town is the Restaurante Típico de Vara Blanca. Here, you can enjoy typical food and decoration and this place offers rustic outdoor seating as well.

Visit Poas Volcano

When it’s open, the blue lake in the center of the volcano is phenomenal. Check local guidelines as the volcano has recently been erupting and therefore closed to visitors.

Black and yellow toucan perched on a branch at La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Visit Braulio Carillo National Park

This is the western entrance to the Braulio Carillo National Park, where you can hike up the Barva volcano. This area also has beautiful canyons and waterfalls.

About the Author

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Hi- I’m Christa! I fell in love with Latin America in my 20s, and I’m still head over heels! Here at Pura Vida Moms I celebrate what it means to be bicultural- Costa Rican recipes, bilingual parenting and family travel.

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Christa profile image

Hi- I’m Christa, and I’m on a mission to help the world fall in love with Costa Rica through food, travel and language. I’m a mom of two Latinas, bicultural, bilingual (English/Spanish), and 100% in love with celebrating parenthood in all its forms, (even the sucky parts). I’m so happy you found the site- WELCOME! Find out more about me here

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