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National Park  Barra Honda


It is located in the province of Guanacaste, 22 km to the Northeast of the city of Nicoya and with an area of 2.295,5 hectares. The national park of Barra Honda was created by the law nr. 5558, on August 20, 1974.Barra Honda

The hill of Barra Honda, about 300 meters high, consists of limestones type ¨arrecifal¨, that means it consists of old reefs (Spanish: ¨arrecife¨) that emerged because of an  overelevation, provocated by tectonic breaks and evolved about 60 million years ago.
These reef formations were constituted of blue and green lime algas and of other organisms living in the reef, the so called ¨foraminíferos¨, minuscule marine protozoa, hidden behind a lime shell, sponges and sea urchins.  

Another important element of this area is its capacity as aquiferous protectorate for all the living organisms that settle in its environment.

The hill of Barra Honda features an ample system of caves, independent from each other, of which 19 have been discovered already. The cave of Santa Ana measures 240 meters of depth and as such it is among the deepest ones.

The most attractive and interesting ones are: la Terciopelo, la Tampa y la Santa Ana, with an abundance of stalagmites, stalagtites, columns, pearls, flowers and gypsum needles, popcorn, champignons, shark teeth and other formations.

¨La Terciopelo¨ (Spanish for: velvet) is the cave that contains the highest abundance of formations. One of these is called ¨El Organo¨ and is very characteristic because it generates different sounds if you bump it slightly.

¨La Trampa¨ is the one that features the deepest abyss; from the entrance to the first descent you´ll find a perfectly vertical altitude of 52 meters. This cave also has the biggest Barra Hondarooms which have been found so far, one of these is formed by white calcite, a fact that  gives it the impression of illuminated beauty.

La Pozo Hediondo, which owes its malodour to the bat´s guano, is the only one that features an abundance of these mammals.
In 1970, huge quantities of human remains were found in the cave of Nicoya, and later on precolombian native artifacts.

The vegetation of the park is in its mayority deciduous; some of the most common species are the ron-ron, the tempisque (a tree), the jobo (a shrub), el indio desnudo (Spanish for: naked Indian), the poroporo, the gallinazo (a special type of vulture), the soncoya, the guanacaste, the carao, the madroño (Spanish for: arbutus) and the peine de mico.

The fauna isn´t very diverse: the white faced ape, the coyote, the armadillo, the red deer, the racoon, the coati, the baldead fox, the skunk, the magpie, the zapayol and the red-headed vulture are some of the species you can observe in the different sectores of the park.

 

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