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Rainforest Adventures Costa Rica Atlantic (Near Limon and San Jose)

Braulio Carrillo National Park

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Home » Destinations » Costa Rica Atlantic » Parks & Nature Reserves
» 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 thecentral part of Costa Rica with 47,586 hectares. It location isimportant for protecting water tables since most of the springs thatirrigate the Central Valley (the area with the highest population andeconomic resources in the country) are in the park. It includes BarvaVolcano, and the Cacho Negro and Zurquí hills, etc., also of volcanicorigin.


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 Moraviaand the junction of the Hondura and Sucio Rivers. The train from SanJose to Limon started operations in 1891 but the destruction of somebridges 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 createdthrough Executive Decree 8357-A, ratified by Law 6280, dated November 14, 1978.

Patria Canyon, Braulio Carrillo National Park

Flora and Fauna

In general, the Braulio Carillo National Park has very denseevergreen forests that are very complex. Most of the park is covered inprimary 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 500meters above sea level and has a very humid climate that ischaracterized by an evergreen forest, making it a special site forobserving 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.
Barva Volcano crater lake (Barva Lagoon) at Braulio Carillo

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 temperatureof 11 degree C., bordered by the lush cloud forest. There is alsoaccess 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; theforest is very diverse with flora and fauna. In addition, visitors mayenjoy the Río Sucio look-out from the El Ceibo path.

The ponds of volcanic origin, oak groves, and the cloud forest standout at Barva Volcano with their different successive strata. You can seebirds such as the quetzal and bellbird in this area. It also hasnatural vantage points and 10 kilometers of pathways for tourists toenjoy.


Images (below):

  1. Left: Mantled Howler Monkey (source), © Leonardo C. Fleck (, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
  2. Center: Súcio River during dry weather, in Braulio Carrillo National Park.
  3. Right: White-faced Capuchin monkey (source), photo by Steven G. Johnson, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

View in Spanish

Mantled Howler MonkeySucio RiverWhite-faced Capuchin Monkey