- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- Spanish Phrases
Barra Honda National Park
Barra Honda National Park Review
Once thought to be a volcano, 390-meter (1,184-foot) Barra Honda Peak actually contains an intricate network of caves created millions of years ago by erosion after the ridge emerged from the sea. You can explore the resulting calcium carbonate formations on a guided tour, and perhaps catch sight of some of the abundant underground animal life, including bats, birds, blindfish, salamanders, and snails. The caves are spread around almost 23 square km (14 square miles), but many of them remain unexplored.
Every day from 8 am to 2 pm, local guides take groups rappelling 18 meters (58 feet) down into Terciopelo Cave, which shelters unusual formations shaped (they say) like fried eggs, popcorn, and shark's teeth. You must wear a harness with a rope attached for safety. The tour costs $36 (minimum of two) including equipment rental, guide, and entrance fee. Kids under 10 are not allowed into this cave, but they can visit the kid-size La Cuevita cavern ($10), which also has interesting stalagmites. Both cave visits include interpretive nature hikes. The caves are not open during the wet season, for fear of flooding.
If you suffer a fear of heights, or claustrophobia, the cave tour is not for you, but Barra Honda still has plenty to offer, thanks to its extensive forests and abundant wildlife. You can climb the 3-km (2-mile) Los Laureles trail (the same trail that leads to the Terciopelo cave) to Barra Honda's summit, where you'll have sweeping views over the surrounding countryside and islet-filled Gulf of Nicoya. Wildlife you may spot on Barra Honda's trails includes howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, skunks, coatis, deer, parakeets, hawks, dozens of other bird species, and iguanas. It's a good idea to hire a local guide from the Asociación de Guias Ecologistas. The park has camping facilities, and the ranger station, open 8 am to dusk, has potable water and restrooms.
Fodor's Trip Planning Ideas
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Best of Europe: Fodor's Picks the Best Places to Visit in Europe
Diving amongst a vast school of hammerhead sharks in the Cocos Island of Costa Rica is accessible to experienced scuba divers or to the general traveller aboard a dive submersible. Read more
Pat Hewitt of Costa Rica Travel Exchange planned our great trip to Costa Rica. Read more
I really wanted to go to the Springs Resort and Spa in Arenal for 5 days and then try a beach location by Liberia for 3 days. Read more
· News & Features
Officials plan to close Costa Rica's two public zoos and free animals due to environmentalist criticism.... Read more
Do you dream about going snout-to-snout with a bear, or at least observing a bear from a safe and responsible... Read more
Costa Rica's main draws are firmly rooted in its landscapes—rainforests, beaches, mountains, and... Read more