Explore the Caves of the Barra Honda National Park

Located in the province of Guanacaste, on the Nicoya Peninsula, in the Central American Cordillera. It represents thousands of years of geological history and has a network of calcareous caverns. Created on August 20, 1974.

The portion of the Tempisque basin where the Nicoya Peninsula reaches the mainland has a relatively soft limestone base. Perhaps the most notable feature of Barra Honda National Park is the caves, which have been carved out of the small mountains by the water.

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For travelers interested in the ecotourism experience in Costa Rica, the Caverns of Barra Honda National Park are an ideal place, as it has some of the most unique natural monuments in the country.

General Characteristics.

Limestone reefs of the Miocene predominate, rising over the silting plains of the Tempisque River. It represents thousands of years of geological history, which have resulted in an extensive system of independent caves with formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

It has a network of calcareous caverns, which have been explored 50% by scientists and speleologists. At present, only the Terciopelo cavern is open to the public, since it presents suitable conditions for the descent of inexperienced visitors and is ideal for adventure tourism.

The park is made up of the Barra Honda hill and other neighboring hills. Created by Law No. 5558, of August 20, 1974, and published in Gazette No. 165, of September 3, 1974. Another important element of this area is its capacity as an aquifer reserve for the populations that are located around it.

Animals of the Barra Honda National Park.

Creatures you can expect to encounter during a hike through the Barra Honda Caverns are deer, peccaries, agoutis, raccoons, and howler monkeys. The main track is a continuation of the entrance road to the park and winds through the secondary forests at Cerro Barra Honda. There, travelers can enjoy a breathtaking view of the Tempisque valley. Finally, tourists also have the opportunity to spend the night in the caverns of the Barra Honda National Park, one of the few places where you can enjoy a bed and a roof in the visitor center of the national park.

For those who have the proper equipment, a campground is located in the area near the ranger station, where maps of the park’s hiking trails can be obtained. Due to the risk of flooding during the rainy season, the caves are not open during that period, so be sure to visit during the dry season to get the most out of your trip to the caverns of Barra Honda National Park.


It is the most important cave system discovered so far in the country. The Barra Honda hill, about 300 meters high, is made up of reef-type limestones, that is, ancient reefs that emerged due to an over-lift caused by tectonic faults, developed about 60 million years ago. These reef formations were made up of blue and green calcareous algae, as well as foraminifera, tiny marine protozoa covered by a calcareous shell, sponges, and urchins.

It is one of the many arched calcareous hills that are located in the province of Guanacaste, on both sides of the lower basin of the Tempisque River, and the only one in the area that, according to what has been investigated so far, has large caverns with a high degree of decor. Another important element of this area is its capacity as an aquifer reserve for the populations that are located around it.

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VIAGuillermo Agudelo
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