The Mighty Barva Volcano

Foothills near Barva Volcano
Foothills near Barva Volcano

Located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, Costa Rica has more than 100 volcanoes. Some are active, like Poas Volcano, while others have lain dormant for hundreds of years. Barva Volcano in the province of Heredia is one such mountain.

Mighty mountain

Barva Volcano is located approximately 14 miles northeast of the capital of San Jose, and is the highest point in Braulio Carrillo National Park, standing almost 10,000 feet above sea level. The mountain features many lagoons created by the streams and rivers that run into the craters caused by previous eruptions. Barva Volcano's deepest lagoon, which shares the same name as the mountain, is approximately 28 feet deep.

The Three Marys

Barva Volcano is actually one of three mountainous peaks that make up Las Tres Marías, or The Three Marys. This is the name given to the series of mountains visible in Heredia's Central Valley. While Barva has remained dormant for much of recent history, the mountain itself has around a dozen eruptive sites where the pressure of the molten rock beneath the surface forced its way out over tens of thousands of years.

Some experts believe that Barva last erupted in the 1700s, but evidence gathered by geologists suggests that rather than a true eruption, the damage that was mistakenly believed to be an eruptive event was caused by a powerful earthquake.

Enjoy the splendor of nature

Barva Volcano is an excellent place to explore the majestic beauty of the Costa Rican landscape. The area around the mountain features dozens of hiking trails of varying difficulty. Stag Horn Path, which winds around the base of the volcano, offers incredible views of the Barva Lagoon, the largest caldera in Braulio Carrillo National Park. This route leads to the Copey Lagoon Trail, which also boasts remarkable views of the Central Valley.

To reach the park and Barva Volcano, you may want to consider renting a four-wheel drive vehicle, as the roads leading to Braulio Carrillo are notoriously rough. You can set off from the nearby town of Sacramento, though traveling from here to the ranger station at the park during the rainy season is not recommended due to potential landslides and rockfalls.

Barva Volcano is one of Costa Rica's most impressive natural wonders, and the memories of a trip to this mighty mountain are sure to last a lifetime.

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