Located in the province of Guanacaste less than 15 kilometers northeast of Nicoya (about 30 minutes by car from the city), the Barra Honda National Park is the only protected wilderness area in Costa Rica with a complex system of limestone caves.
However, with only 5'621 visitors in 2019 according to the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT), it is still very little visited by local and foreign tourists.
Covering an area of 2'295 hectares, the park plays a major role in the region both for the preservation of the underground art galleries of the Barra Honda hill and for the protection of the ecosystems developing in one of the last dry tropical forests in the world and in the bowels of the mountain. Ironically, until the first expeditions in the late 1960s, the local population likened the hill to a volcano because of the din caused by the thousands of bats living there and the stench of their excrement escaping from the Pozo Hediondo.
42 caves make up this complex system that extends 249 meters below the surface.
Accompanied by an ICT-certified guide, the discovery of one of the most beautiful of them all, the Terciopelo cave, is one of the main activities to be carried out in this park.
A descent of more than 17 meters in the depths of the hill is the preamble of an exciting adventure!
WILD FAUNA AND FLORA
During a visit to this park it is common to come across howler monkeys, capuchins, deer, raccoons, agoutis and anteaters and to observe a multitude of species of birds, butterflies and reptiles. But this dry tropical forest protected by the Tempisque Conservation Area is also the natural habitat of rarer species such as the puma!
The park's well-maintained trails provide easy access to the Nacaome Mirador, which peaks at exactly 423 meters above sea level, from where you will have an impressive view of the Tempisque Valley all the way to the Gulf of Nicoya.
Finally, during the rainy season, a path leads to limestone waterfalls becoming the scene of a magnificent show!
HOW TO GET TO BARRA HONDA?
By car or public transport from Nicoya town.
WHERE TO STAY IN BARRA HONDA?
In a comfortable bungalow that can accommodate up to 5 people.