Climbing down into the depths of the earth on the Barra Honda Cave Spelunking tour is an amazing adventure. Spelunking, or cave exploration, is an enticing activity allowing you to explore ancient caves that were created hundreds of years ago by tectonic activity. There are in fact 42 caves here yet only 19 of them have been known to be traversed. Today there is only 1 cave safe enough for the public to explore.
You’ll be picked up from your beach area hotel then driven to the beautiful Barra Honda National park. When you reach park headquarters you will be greeted by your guide who will take you on a 30 minute hike up to the entrance to the caves. Your guide will be sure to point out any interesting wildlife you may come across along the way that live in this region such as: monkeys, iguanas, sloths and anteaters to name a few. The slightly rugged but well maintained path provides an opportunity to experience the park’s rare protected dry tropical forest environment. You’ll also stop at a scenic lookout to get a panoramic view of the Gulf of Nicoya.
When you reach the caves your experienced guide will fit you with a harness and provide safety support through a belay system as you descend 17 meters down an aluminum ladder built into the cave wall. You will also be provided with a helmet and headlamp to light your way. During the tour you will continue to navigate additional ladders descending further down into the caverns.
During your exploration, your guide will carefully lead you into different chambers along a slippery, rocky floor and point out any cave creatures you may encounter including bats, snakes and frogs. The steady drip of water on calcium has created hundreds of gorgeous rock formations including stalactites and stalagmites bringing beauty and life into this underground world.
After about 45 minutes, you will make your ascent and hike back to park headquarters with your group. By this time you’ll probably be hungry and ready to enjoy the included delicious and plentiful lunch at the park restaurant.
During an early exploration in one of the caves, speleologists discovered ancient artifacts and human skeletons from pre-Columbian times. Since then, thousands of speleologists and spelunkers have traveled to Costa Rica from all over the world just to see the Barra Honda caves.
This full day tour includes transportation from Nosara, Punta Islita and Samara, park entrance, guide, safety equipment, lunch and drinks. Depending on how far your hotel is from the National Park, one way transportation can take up to 2 hours. Total approximate time for this tour is 9 hours.
If you have a fear of heights or get claustrophobic easily this may not be the tour for you. We recommend that people be physically fit and have good balance as navigating the ladders and uneven floors of the cave with only a headlight can be tricky.
You will want to wear comfortable clothing that will probably get wet and dirty inside the cave. It would be a good idea to bring an extra set of dry clothes to change into for the ride back to your hotel. Lightweight long pants are recommended and you will need to wear fully enclosed shoes to climb down the ladders. In addition you will need a hat, sun block, insect repellent and rain gear only during the rainy season. Don’t forget your camera!
The Barra Honda Cave Spelunking is available from Samara and Carrillo
12 and up