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Braulio Carrillo National Park

Braulio Carrillo National Park takes its name from the third President of Costa Rica: Braulio Carrillo Colina.

Braulio Carrillo’s green immensity

Cascade au parc national Braulio Carillo

Located in the northeast of the Central Valley, some 20 km from the capital, it covers 47583 ha. The landscape is dominated by high mountains covered by dense tropical forests and numerous rivers. The topography and heavy rainfall, averaging around 4.50 m per year, are responsible for the formation of countless waterfalls. The park contains several extinct volcanoes.

Crossed from west to east by the highway linking San José to Limon on the Caribbean side, a few hundred metres to the right or left is enough to radically change the environment. The forest is so dense that no one ventures beyond the marked trails.

The Fauna

Botanists estimate that Braulio Carrillo Park is home to over 6,000 plant species, including more than 1,200 species of orchid. At least 135 species of mammals can be found here, including the long-nosed monkey, the capuchin monkey or caja blanca and the howler monkey or mono congo. Reptiles include the famous terciopelo, boa constrictor and matabuey, the most venomous on the continent.

Rivers and wetlands are home to crocodiles and thousands of multicolored frogs, including the famous red-eyed tree frog Agalychnis callidryas. The endemic Bufo Holdridgei or golden toad is in danger of extinction.

The Flora

The botanical complexity of Braulio Carrillo National Park is what makes it so interesting. Most of the park is covered by primary forest, where some 6,000 plant species can be found, representing half of all species in the country. Minquartia guianensis, mahogany, oak and Carapa guianensis are relatively abundant. There are also ceibas or cheese trees, yos or sapium, lorito and ojoche or bread nut. Some species, however, are in danger of extinction, such as Naazreno or Peltogyne purpurea, Jicaro or calabash, palmito dulce or Euterpe Edulisnain and Súrtuba or Ravet’s wing.

In the higher reaches of the park, particularly towards the Barva volcano, the vegetation is characteristic of cloud forest. Numerous species of heliconias and orchids complete this biodiversity, classified as one of the richest on the planet.

Finally, the park is essential to the water supply of this part of the Central Valley, the most densely populated in the country.

It is strongly recommended to visit with a guide. The 2 main entrances are:

• Barva volcano area: 3 trails – No parking

  • Features include volcanic lagoons, birds such as the Quetzal and misty forest vegetation.
  • Sendero Escondido: 1.5 km – moderate difficulty – Maximum 20 people.
  • Sendero Laguna Barva: 2.2 km – moderate difficulty – Maximum 20 people. Several observation towers.
  • Sendero Laguna Copey: 5 km. – high difficulty – Maximum 20 people.

• Quebrada González sector: 3 trails – Car park

  • Characteristic of this area: the rainforest and its great diversity of flora and fauna.
  • Sendero Las Palmas: 2 km – moderate difficulty – Maximum 20 people.
  • Sendero El Ceibo: 1 km – moderate difficulty – Maximum 20 people.
  • Sendero Botarrama: 3 km – moderate difficulty – Maximum 20 people.

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