Ponderosa Adventure Park Review — Is It Worth The Visit?

The Ponderosa Adventure Park offers a fun-filled safari tour where you can get hands-on experience and close engagement with the animals. There’s also a waterfall and a tasty lunch. While it’s a recommended day activity for families with kids, there are other better options for fun spots around Liberia and Costa Rica. 

When visiting Liberia, people often recommend the Ponderosa Adventure Park for fun activities. However, I noticed that trying to get information before visiting can be a hassle because the park’s official website is often down, and phones were not answered when I tried. 

We took a risk and drove to the park to find out they are open and prices are much lower than parks in the United States. The level of animal engagement in the park is also noteworthy. 

Therefore, I made the decision to conduct additional research and combine it with my park experience to acquire comprehensive knowledge about the wildlife destination. If you’re planning to visit, this article is all you need before going. 

Key Takeaways

  • Ponderosa Adventure Park Address: 200 mts sur del puente del rio “El Salto, Provincia de Guanacaste, Liberia, 50101, Costa Rica
  • How to get there: Drive 200 meters south of the bridge over the river ‘El Salto, 50101’
  • Entry fees: Depends on the tour package—between $60 and $150 per person.
  • Things to do: La Perla Waterfall Experience, swimming pool, feeding animals, tubing, horseback riding, safari, ziplining, buying souvenirs, eating lunch
  • Opening times: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Contact: Website, Instagram, Email: info@ponderosacostarica.com, Phone: +506 2288 1000
  • Pros and Cons: A cheap but fun thing to do for families with kids. There are so many activities that are for bonding with family and having a great time. However, some of the areas looked unmaintained. Also, you get there, and there’s no sense of direction, and you have to figure things out on your own.
  • Who is for: animal lovers, adventure seekers, families with kids? 
  • Worth it? Absolutely. But for the tour package prices, there are better ways to spend the day than on safari. 

First Impression

The first impression we got about Ponderosa, Costa Rica, was that it’s a paradise for people who love adventure and nature. We saw a lot of locals with their kids here, which made us easily conclude that it’s a destination best enjoyed with family—not as a solo traveler. 

You can dive into the stunning dry tropical forest and enjoy exciting activities like visiting La Perla Waterfall, floating down the river on a tube, and gliding through the trees on zip lines. 

You can also go on a horseback riding journey through the green forest and take a safari in a 4×4 vehicle to see giraffes, zebras, ostriches, and other amazing animals. 

Another exciting aspect we observed here was that, after all the fun, people can chill by the pools, check out the souvenir shops, savor tasty meals, and enjoy the area’s accommodation options. 

The plenty of parking and places to stay was one of the noteworthy things in our books. 

Now, if you plan to come here, there are some key things you should know. I will uncover them in the rest of this article. 

How to Get to Ponderosa Adventure Park

El Salto is the actual location of the Ponderosa Adventure Park. But because it’s so close to Liberia, which is more famous, I just mention it to make it easier to find.

If you’re driving, you can simply put the address (200 meters south of the bridge over the “El Salto” river, Province of Guanacaste, Liberia, 50101, Costa Rica.) on the map and follow the guidance. 

Basically, the route cuts through, driving 200 meters south of the bridge over the river ‘El Salto, 50101.’

Friendly Advice: 

  • We were so lucky that we went in August; there were not many people.

Ponderosa Adventure Park opening times 

The Ponderosa Adventure Park is open from 8:00 a.m. The safari tour takes 2 hours. So, if you want to do everything, plan on spending a good part of the day there and arrive early. The park closes at 5:00 p.m..

Fun Things to Do at Ponderosa Adventure Park

The activities you can do at the park depend on the ticket type you purchase. There’s the Full Day Plus, Full Day tour, half-day tour, and Safari tour. 

Overall, here are the things you can enjoy at this park: 

1. Feed Zebras and Giraffes 

When you buy tickets, they’ll tell you when it starts. Get there a bit early to purchase carrot packs. You’ll use these to feed the animals. It’s a lot more fun than just watching.

You’ll all get on a tram for the safari. It doesn’t matter which side you sit on, because animals will be all around.

First, you’ll see zebras. They approach the car directly for feeding. The guide will show you how to feed them safely.

The giraffes come next. They can stick their heads into the car. They’re gentle, but watch out for drool!


  • You pay 1000 colones (around $2) for a bag of carrots and use them to feed the zebras and giraffes.
  • You must buy some carrots before you get on the bus inside the park.

2. Interact with crocodiles. 

Engaging with crocodiles is another fun activity to do in the park. After feeding animals, you’ll stop and get out to see goats, sheep, and crocodiles. 

You can feed the goats and sheep, but don’t put your hands near the crocodiles!

There’s a bathroom stop, too.

After about 30 minutes, you’ll get back in the car and keep going.

3. See a bunch of African cattle.

You’ll see African cattle with long horns. They know their limits, so they won’t bump into anything.

The last stop is the ostrich. Because there are lots of carrots on the ground, it might not be hungry. The zebras will gladly eat them!

4. Dip-swim at the waterfall 

There is also a waterfall called Catarata la Perla within the park, where you can have a dip and swim. 

Follow the signs marked “catarata.” It’s not a challenging hike; it’s about 10 minutes downhill. 

You can swim there, so bring good sandals, towels, water, and a backpack.

5. Enjoy lunch.

For lunch, head to the open-air cafeteria. They serve buffet-style with rice, beans, salad, pasta, chicken or fish, potatoes, and veggies.

Many other reviews say the food here is good, but I do have my reservations. (More on this shortly.)

However, it’s a good thing they have an extension in the wildlife park where you can enjoy meals. 

6. Enjoy a small pool area. 

There’s more to do at the park, such as a pool area.  Not too many first-time visitors are aware that their pass gives them access to the pool, so they don’t get to enjoy it. 

But the excellent pool is worth it. There are even snack shops and souvenir shops nearby. 

7. Take pictures of statues and sculptures. 

While you’re at the park, keep your eyes peeled for lots of statues to take pictures with. Your Instagram followers will thank you. 

Entry fee and budget 

You should buy your tickets online (you can click HERE for the direct link or buy them on Viator for easy cancellation). This way, you’ll know what time your activities start if you pick tours with set times.

The ticket fee for Ponderosa Adventure Park starts at $65 per person, which gives you access to all the fun activities there. 

We managed to get tickets early when we arrived at the park, and we went for the half-day tour. At Ponderosa Adventure Park, there are a few different tours you can get bundled tickets for.

  • This is the cheapest option for a Safari Tour ticket. It includes the safari and lunch.
  • Half-Day Tour: This includes the safari, a trip to Perla Waterfall, and lunch.
  • Full-Day Tour: This is a good deal, as it includes four different activities: the safari, waterfall visit, canopy tour (zip line), kayaking in the river, and lunch. Everyone must be at least six years old to do all the activities.
  • Full Day Plus: This includes everything from the full-day tour plus horseback riding. Make sure to buy tickets for Full Day Plus or Safari Only in advance!

If you want, you can also buy horseback riding tickets separately. Riders must be ten years of age or older.

Alternatively, you can choose a package that includes horseback riding with the full-day ticket.

If you have younger kids, you might prefer the half-day pass, too.

Who should visit Ponderosa Park? Families with kids!

I know it might sound strange to pick an African safari park for a trip to Costa Rica, but my family had a blast. Families with young children will find the park ideal. The safari tour is exciting, especially for children. You get really close to the animals, especially the giraffes, who love carrots.

We also tried zip-lining, tubing, and horseback riding, which lasts for around 20 to 30 minutes. Zip-lining is perfect for children, with lines going through trees and over waterfalls. My son adored it. While tubing down the river, you may spot monkeys in the trees.

Friendly Advice: 

  • The policy at this park is that children must be at least eight years old or 1.30 meters (4 feet) tall to go tubing.
  • The park admission fee is fair for what you get. But don’t waste your money on their photo service—it’s not worth it. We tried it, and the pictures were terrible quality.

The waterfall and pool at the bottom are unique, and we could see more local families enjoying the beach nearby. The park seems popular with locals.

Visiting Ponderosa Park: Pros and Cons

No matter how good a tourist destination is, there will always be areas where improvement can be made. While we enjoyed the concept of this park, these are the areas we think Ponderosa Park really does well and areas where they can do better. 

Also, if you’re visiting anytime soon, keep in mind these benefits and drawbacks:

What I like about the park 

  • Getting close to giraffes and zebras and feeding them is a fantastic experience for anyone. 
  • Here, the animals seem to have lots of space to move around and do their thing.
  • The ziplining is fantastic because there are four lines, and the last one is where you can hang upside down like Spider-Man.
  • A trip to the park is suitable for anyone, and you can’t go wrong by including this in your trip-to-do list, no matter the kind of people involved. 
  • Friendly staff members. 

What is it about the park that I dislike?

  • Tubing down the river may not be entirely enjoyable because the river can be slow and the tubes are heavy. This can make it challenging, especially with kids. 
  • There is no sense of direction, so you may have to navigate around on your own to find stuff. (Good thing you’re reading this blog post beforehand.)
  • I see a lot of reviews about the tasty lunch here, but to call a spade what it is, I don’t think the buffet is excellent. There were lots of flies buzzing around the food, which was gross.
  • For this experience, the tour package price should be a little less than what it is. 

Overall, it was alright, but not really worth the high price. It was fun, but it could’ve been better. This is because shelling out over $80 per person (the same for kids, which isn’t fair) should come with something worth it. 

What do you wear to Ponderosa Adventure Park?

In a place like Costa Rica, there are really no rules as to what to wear. However, since it is a wildlife park, you need to come prepared. 

Wear tennis shoes or sandals; bring your swimsuit, camera, sunscreen, shorts, bug spray, extra clothes, and a towel.

Friendly Advice: 

  • Bring a plastic bag or container to keep your items dry.

Final Verdict: Is Ponderosa Park Worth Visiting?

Ponderosa Park is really cool for a family outing in El Salto, Liberia, Costa Rica. You get to feed zebras, cows, donkeys, and giraffes, which is fantastic. I definitely think you should check it out.

However, I don’t think the expensive tour packages are worth it. 

If I were to go again with friends and family, I’d go during the week, pay at the entrance, and just do the safari.

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Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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