Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica

Discover the extensive Braulio Carrillo National Park, in Costa Rica, and enjoy its captivating biodiversity

Braulio Carrillo National Park, Costa Rica
Braulio Carrillo National Park
© Manfred Webler

The Braulio Carrillo National Park is the largest of the central region of Costa Rica. It is located in an area with a very uneven topography; it is 1640 feet above sea level and has a very wet weather. There, you will find high mountains covered by lush forests, lots of rivers and beautiful waterfalls. It is an ideal place to observe different plant species, but also animal species, specially birds. Moreover, inside its borders, some inactive volcanoes can be found, among them the Cacho Negro Volcano and the Barva Volcano, the biggest one in Costa Rica.

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Braulio Carrillo National Park, Heredia
Braulio Carrillo National Park, Heredia
© Manfred Webler
Tourism in Braulio Carrillo National Park
Tourism in Braulio Carrillo National Park
© Manfred Webler

Among all the hydrologic power of the park, the peculiar Rio Sucio (‘Dirty River’) stands out from the rest; it is called that way due to its yellowish-brownish water color. This particular color is provoked by the volcanic minerals that the water carries, since its spring is located in the peak of the Irazu Volcano.

In the park, there exists very lush forest vegetation that changes depending on the weather (average rainfall, cloudiness, temperature, etc.) and geographic conditions (topography, drainage, etc.). The park’s fauna is also outstanding because of its great diversity, above all its 500 bird species, both resident and migratory. Reptiles and amphibians are also abundant in the area. An example for that is the Central American bushmaster, America’s biggest venomous snake. There, mammals can also be found, such as anteaters, coyotes, mountain lions, jaguars, and several monkey species.

The park has all the services you could need: exhibition rooms, an amphitheater, first aid attention, and a formative center, where you can hire guided tours. If you wish to camp inside the park, there is an area specially designed for that purpose near the Barva Volcano.

The park is divided into two different sections: Quebrada González and Barva Volcano. In Quebrada González there are three paths that you can hike: Las Palmas, El Ceibo, and Botarrama. All of them are short and offer imposing views of the incredible natural landscape that surrounds them. The Barva Volcano is the biggest one in Costa Rica and has three different volcanic cones that can be watched from the Central Valley. They are also known as Las Tres Marías (‘The three Marys’), but, in fact, the Barva Lagoon is not over any of those three mountains.

The Barva Lagoon is a circular pond of clear waters with a 230 feet diameter and 28 feet deep. It is a volcanic crater which rocky walls are covered by lush vegetation. The average temperature of its waters is 51 ºF. The Copey Lagoon is a little smaller, with its 131 feet long, but has a similar average temperature.

More information:


Quebrada González, San José-Limón Road, Heredia, Costa Rica.

Admission prices:

Non-resident foreign visitors $8, domestic and resident foreigners 1000 colones.

Opening hours:

Everyday from 8 to 15:30, holidays included.

Telephone number:

(+506) 2290 1793

e-mail: y


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