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Braulio Carrillo National Park

This park is situated in the Northeast of the Central Valley, above the central volcanic mountain range, between the massifs of the volcanoes Poás and Irazú. It comprises the volcanoes Barba and Cacho Negro, stretching out from the Alto de la Palma (Moravia) to the Biological Station la Selva (Sarapiquí). It was created by the law no. 8357-A, on April 5, 1978, and comprises an area of 45.899.2 hectares.

The park is dedicated to the meritorious dignitary of the fatherland, Mr. Braulio Carrillo, third head of state of Costa Rica (1835-37 and 1838-42), who made an effort to open a path that connects the Central Valley with Matina on the Atlantic coast.Braulio Carrillo

This area is situated in the regions of the country’s most irregular topography. The landscape consists of high mountains, densely covered with forests and innumerable rivers. The topography and high precipitation (some 4,500mm annual average), create innumerable waterfalls.

The park comprises various extinct volcanoes: The Cacho Negro, easily recognizable for its conical form, and the Barva Volcano with various craters, the Barva’s lagoon, which is circular, with a diameter of some 70 meters and clear water. Furthermore you’ll find the lagoon Danta with a diameter of some 500 meters. The hills of “Las Tres Marias”, clearly perceptible from San José, are the remains of a caldera-structure that existed there.

The park’s vegetation is the one of an evergreen forest, it is of high density and floral complexity. The forest shows variations in vegetation, depending on the changing environmental conditions, topography, drainage, temperature, cloudiness and precipitation.  

The highest trees, which host the greatest variety of species, are situated in the lowest parts of the park; in the highest parts and at the gorges you will see that the trees are shorter and deformed and that the total number of species is minor. The park’s major part is covered with a primary forest, in which about 6,000 plant species exist that represent half of the total number of species in the whole country. The manú, the mahogany, the oak, the caobilla and the gavillán are relatively prevalent.

Furthermore youBraulio Carrillo will find the botarrama, the ceiba tree, the yos, the lorito and the ojoche; other species, nonetheless, are in danger of extinction, as for example the nazareno, the calabash tree, the sweet and the súrtuba little palm tree. In the park’s higher regions, especially at the Barva volcano, the flora is characteristic of the cloud forest, hosting species such as the cipresillo, the candelillo, the white oak and the cedrillo.

The park hosts a great diversity of fauna. The rich bird life, represented in nearly 515 different species of resident and migratory birds, is standing out. You can observe the king of vultures, the pajaro sombrilla (Spanish for: “sunshade bird”), the goldfinch and the quetzal.

The following mammal species are the most common ones: the white-faced monkey, the colored- and the howler monkey, the tapir, the puma, the jaguar, the saíno (a wild pig), the colmenero bear, the martilla, the mountain goat, the guatusa and the coyote. You may also find species in danger of extinction because of hunting, such as the peacock and the tepezcuinte. In this area frogs and toads are very common. In the area of the Barva volcano, you will find an endemic species, the bufo holdridgei toad. A reptile living in the park is the matabuey (Spanish for: “kills bullocks”), the biggest poisonous snake of the whole continent.


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