Caves highlight a trip to Barra Honda National Park

Decent into one of Barra Honda's caves
Decent into one of Barra Honda's caves

Part of the fun of going on vacation is experiencing wild and fascinating places that one would never visit in the course of his or her typical life. Costa Rica offers many such locations and one of them is the Barra Honda National Park.

Barra Honda National Park

The Barra Honda National Park was created in 1974 to protect its intricate system of calcareous caves. Scientists and speleologists have only explored 50 percent of this massive series of caverns.

Sima Terciopelo Cave

Visitors to the park are only allowed in one of the caves, Sima Terciopelo, which is the only one that is considered accessible for the inexperienced guest. However, this cave will provide travelers with enough wondrous and awe-inspiring sights to last a lifetime.

Park visitors will don a helmet equipped with a lamp for the descent down into the vertical cave. Once inside, travelers will be blown away by the incredible formations. In this limestone cavern are soda straws, pearls, roses, needles, cave grapes, curtains, terraces, stalactites, stalagmites and other natural formations that are sure to capture the imagination of all.

Unique Habitat

The Barra Honda National Park offers more than just caves. It is located in a tropical dry forest, which is a truly unique habitat with an array of wildlife that ranges from monkeys to deer to ant-eaters. Travelers can explore this area through a series of hiking trails.

In addition to the wonderful sights that the park provides, it also offers some lodging. Near the main ranger station is a number of rustic cabins that house six to eight people each. Visitors to the park can also camp out.


The Barra Honda National Park is located about 14 miles northeast of Nicoya and is located on the Tempisque Conservation Area.

Admission to the park is quite reasonable and it is open from 8 a.m. until dusk. However those who wish to visit Sima Terciopelo need to arrive at the park before 1 p.m. because descents end after that time. Potable water and restrooms are available at the park.

Visitors to the park are sure to have a tremendous experience exploring the cave and viewing sights that few have witnessed. And those who tour the park above ground will be treated to not only wonderful wildlife, but also to great lookout spots and beautiful waterfalls.

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