National Park

General Information:
"This land belongs to all Costa Ricans, some are already dead, others are still alive;... but he majority have yet to be born". Anon.

Braulio Carrillo National Park was established on April 15, 1978. It is the most extensive of the parks in the central part of the country with 47.582 ha., and it is administrated as part of the Cordillera Volcánica Central Conservation Area. It is of considerable importance for the protection of hydraulic resources, since many of the streams that provide water to the Central Valley originate within the boundaries of the park. Braulio Carrillo includes Barva Volcano as well as cerros Cacho Negro and Zurquí, among others. AII are of volcanic origin.

There are two park stations: Quebrada González, along the Braulio Carrillo highway, and Volcán Barva, 4 km from Sacramento, near Barva, in Heredia.

Hystorical Background:

The park takes its name from Braulio Carrillo, the third head of state of Costa Rica, who governed from 1.837-42. He promoted the cultivation of coffee during his administration, and conceived the prospect of connecting the Central Valley with the Caribbean region in order to transport the crop to European markets. Other governments continued with the idea. In 1.881, during the administration of Gen. Tomás Guardia, a cobblestone road was built from Paracito de Moravia to the confluence of the Hondura and Sucio rivers. The completion of the railroad to Limón in 1.891 and the destruction of bridges caused the abandonment of the road.

In 1.977 the current San José?Guápiles highway was started. Thanks to lobbying by environmental groups, the area was declared a National Park by executive decree the next year, primarily to pre?empt settlement in this zone of steep slopes, high mountains, and heavy forest with a diverse fauna.

Flora and fauna:

In general the National Park is covered with evergreen forest of great density and botanical complexity. The better part is primary forest, which contains about 6.000 species of plants, half the total for the country. ."Manú", "caoba", "roble", "caobilla" and "gavilán" are fairly common. Other trees include "botarrama", "ceiba", "yos", "lorito" and "ojoche". Several species in danger of extinction are present in the park, including "nazareno", "jicaro", "palmito dulce," and "súrtuba". On the higher parts of Barva volcano, the fiora ncludes species like "ciprecillo", "candelillo", and "roble blanco".

The park supports a great diversity of animal and bird life. The avifauna includes more than 500 species including resident and migratory species. Some species that can be observed include King vulture, three?wattled Bellbird, Resplendent Quetzal, and Slack?faced Solitaire. Mammals Include White?faced, Mantled Howler, and Spider monkeys, Baird's Tapir, Puma, Jaguar, Collared Reccary, Tamandua Anteater, Red Brocket Deer, and Coyote.

Quebrada Gonzalez sector:

The Quebrada González sector is located 2 km east of the Sucio river bridge on the Guápiles highway, at an elevation of 500 meters. The area has a very rainy climate, and is characterized by an evergreen rain forest that makes it an excellent area to study and observe plants and animals. A good trail goes from the station into the forest. The nearby Sucio river is a dominant feature; its waters carry volcanic minerals, producing the characteristic color.

Barva Volcano sector:

This area is made up of a volcanic massif about 100 square kilometers in size. Currently there are only a few gas vents and thermal springs, though some writers tell of an eruption in 1.772.There are several lakes of volcanic origin, the most attractive of which is the Laguna Barva at 70 meters in diameter and 8,6 meters in depth, with an average temperature of 11 degrees, surrounded by an exuberant cloud forest. Also accessible is the Laguna Copey, 40 meters across and with similar water temperatures.


* The National Parks were created to preserve natural and cultural resources; the removal of any animal, plant, rock, or other item from the area is not permitted.
* If you need help or information, ask the park staff. They will be glad to help.
* For your own safety stay on marked trails in the public use areas.
* Help keep the park clean. Deposit trash in its respective bin (cans and glass, plastic, organic).

Enjoy your trip !