Juan Castro Blanco National Park was established in 1992 and contains three volcanoes; Platanar, Porvenir and El Viejo. The park encompasses some 35,700 acres, of which 50 percent is composed of cloud forests which are surrounded by the Aguas Zarcas, Tres Amigos, Tora, and Platanar rivers. These rivers and volcanoes have combined to create several hot springs within the park. The hot springs and volcanoes are the main reason to visit Juan Castro Blanco, but the wildlife is equally amazing.
Juan Castro Blanco National Park is also well known for birdwatching. The park is home to 230 different species including black turkeys, falcons, and quetzal. In addition to the large bird population visitors can encounter up to 44 species of amphibians and 30 species of mammals. Coyotes, armadillos, jaguars and monkeys are all prevalent in the park. Oak, cedar, and cypress are the most common trees leading up to the volcanoes. The orchids that live in these trees give the air a fresh smell while hiking down the trails.
Considering the park has been only partially explored; expect the trails to be rugged and mostly unmarked. Keep an eye out for historical artifacts while hiking as there have been several archaeological sites found in the area.
Juan Castro Blanco National Park is located about 60 miles north of San Jose in the Alajuela Province. There are no park facilities or entrance fees.
Located in the cloud forest, the weather is fairly predictable. Expect cool and damp conditions and dress for rain. Daytime temperatures average in the low 70s with night time lows averaging in the upper 50s. The most consistent rain is experienced between the months of May through November with the heaviest rains September through November.
Visitors should pack shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block. It is also advised to bring at least one pair of pants, a long sleeve shirt, and even a sweat shirt or light jacket. Check the Costa Rican packing list for more ideas.
Fun Fact: Juan Castro Blanco National Park is home to numerous waterfalls due to the steep elevation and abundant rains.
|La Fortuna and Arenal Volcano||61 km|
|San Jose||97 km|
Latitude: N 10° 17' 12.12"
Longitude: W 84° 19' 49.44"
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