Ponderosa Adventure Park: Is it worth visiting?

Costa Rica has several parks, and they are all wonderful. However, Ponderosa Adventure Park is a class of its own. The park mainly caters to families and even hosts some African animals. At Ponderosa Park, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, ostriches, crocodiles, and water buffalos are common in African countries. 

The first time I went to Costa Rica with my kids, Ponderosa was the first park in Costa Rica when I went with my kids; I took them too. Our friends, who had visited the park, highly recommended it. However, the park also has several adult-oriented activities. 

Key Takeaways From This Article

Ponderosa Adventure Park has several activities; I recommend trying at least all of them. Your younger children will love the safari tour, swimming, and waterfall. Here are a few takeaways about Ponderosa Park. 

  • Ponderosa Park was previously known as Africa Mia before changing ownership and becoming Ponderosa Adventure Park. 
  • The park has a waterfall known as La Perla. 
  • You can purchase carrots within the park to feed the animals.
  • Making reservations during the tourist season between December and April is ideal. 

Where is Ponderosa Adventure Park?

The park is near Liberia, a town in Guanacaste province. It’s a private wildlife park in El Salto, 110 km from south Liberia. Ponderosa Park sits on a 100-hectare piece of land. Previously, the park was known as Africa Mia because the owners exported animals from Africa. 

The best way to access the park is to book tickets online so that you know when your tour starts. The guides conduct different tours during the day. Alternatively, you can buy the park’s tickets at the gate. Ponderosa Adventure Park offers package tickets, as shown in the table below. 

Types of Tickets Activities
Safari tour The ticket only caters to a safari tour, which is the cheapest.
Half-day tour It consists of a safari, lunch, and a visit to Perla Falls.
Full-day tour The ticket covers four activities: lunch, kayaking in the river, safari, waterfall, and zip line (canopy tour).
Please note that the person must be six years old for some activities.
Full day plus All the activities of a full-day tour plus horseback riding.
Horseback riding tickets You can choose only horseback riding, but kids must be ten or older.

Things to Do at Ponderosa Adventure Park

Website: ponderosacostarica.com.

Opening hours: 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM daily.

Charges: $59 for kids (4–12 years old) and $66 for adults. Children under three years old do not pay any fees. 

If you visit Costa Rica with kids, this is one of the parks I highly recommend. They will love the various activities in the park. But you’ll also find exciting activities for adults. 

Visit the La Perla Waterfall

Catarata is the local name for a waterfall. The La Perla waterfall is located in Ponderosa Adventure Park. To get to the waterfall trail, look for the “Catarata” sign and some animal statues. Follow the path and expect to go downhill for a while before coming across a few stairs that lead to the waterfall. 

You can swim at the bottom of the La Perla waterfall. A small beach around the waterfall is where you can do a bit of sunbathing. 

Ziplining/Canopy Tour

My husband, who is an adrenaline junkie, appreciated this part of the tour. He decided to go on the canopy tour while the kids and I headed to the swimming pool. You don’t require a prior reservation to go on the canopy tour. 

Before heading to the safety equipment station to get your gear, you must pay first. To begin your tour, head over to the first tour. There are four ziplines ranging from 150 to 350 meters. 

Whichever zipline you choose, you’ll happily glide over the trees and see what makes this park one of the best in Costa Rica. 

The Safari Tour

The tour takes between 1 and 1.5 hours on a safari tram with a capacity of 30 people. You’ll visit various areas where more than 290 animals in the park roam freely. Before the tour begins, buy a few carrots for your children to feed the animals. It’s one of the ways to get closer to the animals. 

The first stop is to see the zebras, and your guide will show you how to feed the animals. From there, you’ll visit the giraffe area. After that, the tram will stop for about 30 minutes to allow you to go to the restrooms and stretch your legs. The area has sheep, goats, and crocodile enclosures. 

Your next stop will be to see African cattle with huge horns. The last stop is to see the ostrich, and the safari tour ends there. However, you’ll have seen dromedaries, antelopes, buffaloes, deer, and the Ankole-Watusi between the various places

All of the animals in the park have an African safari motif and are in different enclosures. 

Tubing Down the River

Nothing is as exciting as tubing down the El Salto River on an inflatable raft through the park. You are welcome to tube along the fast-flowing river, whether you are a pro or it’s your first time. The adventure spans 1.5 kilometers through curves and enjoyable rapids. 

You’ll encounter lush vegetation and diverse flora and fauna as you navigate the river. I recommend that you wear closed-toe shoes and keep your items in a safe place before starting the adventure. You can only pay for kids over 6 years old to participate in the tubing adventure. 

No reservations are needed. After paying for the tour, you must head to the safety equipment station. Before heading to the first tower, get the gear to start the tubing adventure. 

Horseback Riding

It’s mainly a guided tour through the park’s rainforest. At the same time, the guide will explain the rainforest’s flora and fauna and answer any questions you may have. The horseback riding tour starts at the La Perla waterfall before proceeding to the forest. 

You might come across some wild animals when riding through the various trails in the forest. 

I will highlight a few tips if you take the horseback riding tour. 

  • You’ll have to make reservations for the tour, and horseback riding is only for kids over 10. 
  • Wear closed shoes for comfort and safety. 


You can end a hot day by swimming in the park’s pool area. You don’t have to pay anything extra. Ponderosa Park has three pools, one specifically for families with small children. The pool opens at 10.00 AM and closes by 5.00 PM. 

You can buy some smoothies, ice cream, and snacks from the convenience store near the pool. Buy some fast food dishes from the snack bar. 

We had a great time taking pictures next to the animal statues, and I had a great time too. Buy your friends and family souvenirs at home from the several shops at the park. 

Accommodations at Ponderosa Adventure Park

Ponderosa has a hotel where you can stay with your family if you want to stay close to the park. The park has rooms that can accommodate 2–5 people. You get free use of the pool and breakfast every morning. 

The hotel is next to the waterfall, which you can see from the balcony. 

Alternatively, you can stay at the Hotel Boyeros, which is 10 minutes away from the park. Liberia International Airport is 15 minutes away from the park. 

Another hotel that you can stay at is the Las Espuelas Hotel, which is 15 minutes away from Ponderosa Park. The hotel offers 45 air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. It has a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool. 

Meals at Ponderosa Adventure Park 

After all the activities at Ponderosa Park, you will undoubtedly be famished and need a meal. The park has an open-air cafeteria, the Le Pampa Restaurant. The meal costs $12 and is a buffet. Meals differ daily, but you can expect some sumptuous Costa Rican dishes. 

Fortunately, you can eat in the covered area after filling up your plate. 

Frequently Asked Questions

At Ponderosa Adventure Park, what do you wear?

It depends on the activity you want to do at the park. I recommend closed-toe shoes for most activities, such as canopy tours and ziplining. Hiking sandals are sturdier and ideal if you’re thinking about wet places. 

Carry some swimming costumes, light towels, and a change of clothes for the kids. Carry a cap or a wide-brimmed hat because of the hot tropical sun. 

Do you have to book Pondérosa?

Because of the high number of tourists traveling to Costa Rica between April and December, making reservations during these months may be necessary. 


Ponderosa is one of the parks that you must visit when in Costa Rica, especially with the kids. There are so many activities to do, and their prices are affordable, too. 

If you’ve visited Ponderosa Adventure Park, please share your experiences with us!

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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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