Braulio Carrillo National Park

Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area (ACCVC), Costa Rica

The Braulio Carrillo National Park is under the administration of the Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area or ACCVC (Área de Conservación Cordillera Volcánica Central). This park was established on April 15, 1978. It is the largest in the central part of Costa Rica with 47,586 hectares. It location is important for protecting water tables since most of the springs that irrigate the Central Valley (the area with the highest population and economic resources in the country) are in the park. It includes Barva Volcano, and the Cacho Negro and Zurquí hills, etc., also of volcanic origin.


The Park is named after Braulio Carrillo, in honor of the third head of state who governed Costa Rica between 1837 and 1842. In 1881, under the administration of General Tomás Guardia, work began on building the stone roadway between Paracito del Moravia and the junction of the Hondura and Sucio Rivers. The train from San Jose to Limon started operations in 1891 but the destruction of some bridges caused the route to be abandoned.

In 1977, work began on the current highway from San José to Guápiles. One year later, to avoid destruction of tall mountains, dense forests, numerous rivers and admirable fauna, the National Park was created through Executive Decree 8357-A, ratified by Law 6280, dated November 14, 1978.

Braulio Carrillo Patria Canyon

Flora and Fauna

In general, the Braulio Carillo National Park has very dense evergreen forests that are very complex. Most of the park is covered in primary forest where there are some 6,000 plant species representing 50%of the total species in the whole country. They include the following:

  • Manú (Caryocar costaricensis)
  • Caoba (Swietenia macrophylla)
  • Roble (Quercus costaricensis)
  • Caobilla (Guarea rhopalacarpa)
  • Nazareno (Peltogyne purpurea)

In the area around Barva Volcano, the flora includes species such as:

  • Ciprecillo (Escallonia poasana)
  • Candelillo (Magnolia poasana).

The park has very diverse fauna. The numerous bird species stand out with almost 550 species of resident and migratory birds. These include:

  • Buzzards (Sarcoramphus Papa)
  • Pájaro Campana (Procnias Tricarunculata)
  • Jilguero (Myadestes Melanops)
  • Quetzal (Pharomachrus Mocinno)

The mammals found at the Braulio Carillo National Park include:

  • White-faced Monkey (Cebus Capuchinus)
  • Golden Spider Monkey (Ateles Geoffroyi)
  • Howler Monkey (Alouatta Palliata)
  • Tapir (Tapirus Bairdii)
  • Puma (Felis Concolor)
  • Jaguar (Panthera Onca)
  • Collared Peccary (Tayassu Pecari)

Quebrada Gonzalez Sector

This sector in the Braulio Carillo National Park is located 500 meters above sea level and has a very humid climate that is characterized by an evergreen forest, making it a special site for observing and studying plant and animal species, mainly birds.

It has three paths: Las Palmas, El Ceibo and Botarrama, which are very short (between 1,000 and 3,000 meters long) look-outs and interpretative signs.

The Sucio River stands out in relation to hydro potential; its waters carry minerals of a volcanic origin, causing the water to be brown.


  1. Above: Patria Canyon at Braulio Carrillo National Park (source), originally uploaded to en.wikipedia by user Nulldevice, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
  2. Below: Barva Volcano's crater.

Braulio Carrillo Barva Volcano Crater

Barva Volcano Sector

This sector in the Braulio Carillo National Park is made up of a volcanic structure approximately 100 km2 in area. Fumaroles and hot springs are known to exist. Some authors report a strong eruption in 1772.

It has several ponds of volcanic origin, with the most attractive being Laguna Barva,70 meters in diameter, 8.6 meters deep, and with an average temperature of 11 degree C., bordered by the lush cloud forest. There is also access to Laguna Copey, 40 meters in diameter, where the water temperature is similar to Laguna Barva and the maximum depth is unknown.

The Barva Volcano sector has four paths: Cacho Venado, Mirador Varablanca, Laguna Volcán Barva and Laguna Copey.

Main Attractions

Tropical rainforest is common to the Quebrada Gonzalez Sector; the forest is very diverse with flora and fauna. In addition, visitors may enjoy the Río Sucio look-out from the El Ceibo path.

The ponds of volcanic origin, oak groves, and the cloud forest stand out at Barva Volcano with their different successive strata. You can see birds such as the quetzal and bellbird in this area. It also has natural vantage points and 10 kilometers of pathways for tourists to enjoy.


Find us on TripAdvisor

Book Online Now for 15% Discount!