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Barra Honda National Park

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The enchanting world of Barra Honda National Park is a magical place in Costa Rica where lush rainforests meet subterranean wonders in the heart of Nicoya’s Peninsula. Within this verdant sanctuary lies a realm of geological marvels, with ancient limestone caves that beckon adventurers to delve into their depths. The biodiverse National Parks teem with exotic flora and fauna, offering a glimpse into the intricate ecosystems that thrive both above and below ground. Join us as we embark on an exploration of Barra Honda National Park, what you can do there, and other information that will help you enjoy its natural beauty in all its glory.

Overview of Barra Honda National Park

Barra Honda National Park was created in 1974 and covers an area of around 5,600 acres. It’s main attraction is the vast network of limestone caverns that have been sculpted over millions of years by subterranean rivers. Dry tropical forests, mangroves, and pure rivers are just a few of the park’s many ecosystems, which serve as home to a vast variety of plants and animals. The park offers both surface and subterranean activities for thrill-seekers and environment lovers. It is named after the famous Barra Honda hill, which climbs 300 meters above sea level.


Barra Honda National Park is a great day trip, located 22 km/14 miles northeast of the town of Nicoya in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica. It takes one hour and thirty minutes to drive (80 km/50 miles) from Liberia International Airport, and around 3 hours if you drive from San Jose (185 km /115 miles).

The park is accessible by vehicle or bus. It’s a convenient stop for visitors touring Costa Rica’s Pacific coast since they can also schedule guided trips from neighboring towns and beach resorts.

Hours and Cost

The park is open daily from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and the hours to visit the caverns are from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The entrance fee is $13.56 per person and the Terciopelo Cavern Tour costs $40 + the entrance fee.

It can only be paid with a debit or credit card.

Things to Do in Barra Honda National Park

Barra Honda National Park presents a myriad of activities for nature lovers seeking adventure and a unique spot to explore. From spelunking through ancient limestone caves on a cave tour to traversing a scenic hiking trail, there’s something for every outdoor enthusiast to discover within this Costa Rican gem.


Cavern Exploration

Barra Honda is the only park in Costa Rica that has a complex of underground caverns and cave tours. The enthralling limestone caverns of Barra Honda are well known for providing an intriguing window into Earth’s geological past. Exploring these underground wonders lets tourists take in the stunning complex rock formations and underground chambers.

The most famous cavern, Terciopelo, descends over 240 meters into the earth, providing an exhilarating adventure for experienced spelunkers.

The guided cave tour lasts 4-5 hours and the only times to go on the tour are 8:30 am and 10:30 am.

The Terciopelo cavern is accessible only to those over 12 years of age per strict regulations.

For children under 12 years of age, the Children’s Cavern is available, which has a price of $12 per child plus entrance to the National Park.


Hiking, Birdwatching and Wildlife Encounters

There are many different hiking trails where you can see rare species of animals in Barra Honda National Park. Its scenic hiking trails through lush forests and verdant landscapes are the perfect setting to spot a variety of wildlife species, including howler monkeys, white-faced capuchins, coatis, anteaters, and more. Barra Honda is also a haven for birdwatchers, offering opportunities to spot a diverse array of avian species including scarlet macaws and many other birds. Bring your binoculars and keep watch for colorful toucans, parrots, hummingbirds, and other feathered inhabitants as you explore the park’s forests and open spaces. The park’s ranger station provides maps, and educational exhibits as well as information about the local flora and fauna, enriching the visitor experience.

Programs for fire control and protection have contributed to the noticeable growth in the animal population in recent years here.



Barra Honda is not all about the underground, above ground, the park boasts a network of hiking trails that wind through diverse ecosystems, offering opportunities to enjoy scenic vistas of the surrounding countryside and the opportunity to marvel at the park’s pristine beauty from elevated vantage and lookout point.

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General recommendations

The route to the caverns has intermediate to high difficulty, it is recommended that people who want to do this activity have very good physical condition since it involves an 8 km/5 miles walk (round trip) where the first 2 km/1.2 miles are uphill. Visitors must also descend a 17-meter/55 foot vertical staircase and ascend it on their own (high difficulty).

You visit only the main room of the cavern, the duration time inside the cavern is 1 hour per route. The guide accompaniment is given only inside the cave. Visitors must take the route on the self-guided round-trip trails. The National Park has showers, so if you wish you can bring your personal implements.


Cavern Tour Information

  • The cavern tour is not suitable for people with obesity (equipment restriction), people with claustrophobia, or acrophobia (fear of heights or vertigo), people with cardio-respiratory problems and pathologies, or those older than 70 years.
  • Since this is an activity of high physical effort, 100% mobility is required of both the upper and lower extremities.
  • People who have a medical condition (allergies, asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.) must carry medication at all times for proper control.
  • The guide will have the power to cancel the tour if the visitor presents symptoms or signs of having consumed psychotropic substances.


Best Time to Visit

The dry season, which runs from December to May, is the ideal time to explore Barra Honda National Park. Due to the significant potential of flooding from the heavy rainfall during the rainy season (April-November), the park could be closed.


What to Pack

  • It is highly recommended to bring appropriate clothing (long pants or lycra, shirt or t-shirt, shorts).
  • The use of closed-toe sturdy shoes is mandatory, if not, you will not be able to do the activity in the cavern and no refund will be made.
  • Bring at least one liter of water per person and your personal medications, repellent, sunscreen, and snacks for the duration of the tour.


Visit Barra Honda National Park And Stay with Special Places of Costa Rica

Barra Honda National Park stands as a testament to the natural wonders and cultural heritage of Costa Rica. From the depths of its intricate limestone caves to the heights of its verdant forests, this park offers a truly immersive experience for travelers seeking adventure and tranquility alike. If you are eager to explore this and all the other magnificent places Costa Rica has to offer and you are looking for equally spectacular vacation rentals nearby, as well as other attractions, visit our rentals page to find our amazing options.

Other Attractions

After you have visited volcanoes and national parks you may want to observe (or cool off in) some of the many beautiful waterfalls while in Costa Rica. Be sure to view our full list of things to do in Costa Rica to ensure you’re experiencing all of the main attractions while on your vacation.
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