Spanning an impressive 47,500 hectares or 117,375 acres, Braulio Carrillo is a realm of diverse terrain, with elevations ranging from a lush 36 meters to a staggering 2,900 meters (118 to 9,514 feet). Its rich tapestry includes cloud forests, rainforests, and meandering rivers, each offering a unique glimpse into the country's biodiversity. Primary trails, conveniently located near Route 32 at the main park entrance, beckon hikers to embark on journeys of discovery.
Wildlife thrives within the embrace of Braulio Carrillo's green embrace. Sloths and monkeys, including spider, capuchin, and howler varieties, share the canopy with elusive big cats like jaguars, pumas, ocelots, and margays. Ground-dwelling creatures such as tapirs, tayras, raccoons, and armadillos traverse the forest floor, while amphibians, including the captivating red-eyed leaf frogs and blue jeans dart frogs, bring the rainforest to life with their vibrant colors. Reptiles, from eyelash pit vipers to boa constrictors, slither through the undergrowth.
For bird enthusiasts, Braulio Carrillo is a paradise, with over 500 species soaring through its skies. Spot the resplendent quetzal, marvel at the emerald toucanet, and listen to the calls of bellbirds and keel-billed toucans. King vultures, silky-flycatchers, trogons, parrots, eagles, and hummingbirds complete the avian symphony.
Managed with care by the government of Costa Rica, Braulio Carrillo National Park opens its gates from 8 AM to 4 PM daily. Three ranger stations, complete with public restrooms and basic amenities, ensure your comfort during your visit. While the park doesn't offer overnight accommodations, nearby Heredia, San Jose, and Sarapiqui provide welcoming bases for exploring this ecological treasure.
Venturing into Braulio Carrillo, you'll encounter Costa Rica's most significant elevation variance, ranging from the lowland La Selva border to the lofty summit of Barva Volcano, with its mysterious black-colored crater lake. The park is divided into two sectors for ease of administration: the Barva Volcano sector and the Quebrada Gonzalez sector, the latter easily accessible from Route 32 and the most visited section. Here, two ranger stations await.
Hiking enthusiasts can choose between two main trails from the park's entrance: the challenging Capulin or the more novice-friendly Sendero Natural Botarrama. Both offer intimate encounters with the park's biodiversity and provide birdwatchers with opportunities to spot numerous species.
For a unique perspective, embark on a cable car ride through the treetops, with the Aerial Tram on the park's eastern flank offering captivating canopy tours, reaching heights of up to 170 feet. And on the upper slopes, experience the thrill of horseback riding, a delightful way to explore the park's natural wonders.
Braulio Carrillo National Park is an invitation to delve into the heart of Costa Rica's wilderness, where rainforests, cloud forests, and a mosaic of life await your exploration.