Braulio Carillo National Park

 Braulio Carillo National Park is located about 20 miles to the northeast of San José and is an easy day trip from San José, or perhaps a stop along the way to Limón or the Caribbean beaches. At the urging of environment lobbyists, the park was established in 1978 as an effort to prevent development the area around the Limón Highway, which was under construction at that time. The park was named in honor of the third president of Costa Rica whose administration supervised the building of the first highway from San José to the Caribbean coast in the early 19th century.

Trams through the Rain Forest, Braulio Carillo National Park, Costa RicaThe Limón Highway, which bisects the park, is surrounded by virgin forest of both sides. The altitude in this 117,300-acre park ranges from 118 to 9,500 feet so both high-altitude cloud forests as well as tropical lowland rainforest can be found in the park. Home to approximately 500 species of birds and 150 species of mammals, the park boasts one of the highest levels of biodiversity in Costa Rica.

Whether you´re interested in walking down a short path from your car to an overlook or waterfall, or spending the whole day hiking 32 miles from Barva to La Selva, Barulio Carillo offers activities for everyone. On the east side of the park, the Aerial Tram takes you on an open gondola ride through two levels of the rainforest canopy. On the way up the mountain, the gondola travels several feet above the ground to allow you to examine the understory and lower canopy. On the way back down, the gondola travels in the treetops, reaching as much as 170 feet above the ground. Several hiking trails with guides are included with the admission and tram ride. Visitors should try to take walks at different elevations to contrast the distinct flora and fauna. Geological features of interest include Barva volcano, which has three crater lakes, and the Sarapiquí River watershed.

Braulio Carillo National Park can be reached by car or by taking any of the buses that travel to Guápiles, Siquirres, or Limón. Many tour operators also offer day trips from San José to Braulio Carillo National Park, including specialized tours like bird watching. There is no overnight accommodation available in the park. Other attractions in the area include Poás Volcano National Park, Irazú Volcano National Park, La Selva Biological Reserve and Lankester Botanical Gardens.

Volcan Poas National Park

Costa Rica’s pleasant climate and beautiful scenery has led this country to become a popular tourist spot for travelers from all over the world. With numerous beautiful parks and culture rich cities, Costa Rica has something for everyone. The Volcan Poas National Park is one of the many spectacular tourist destinations. Located about one and a half hours from the capital city of San Jose and less than 30 minutes from Alajuela, Volcan Poas is easily accessible by vehicle and makes for a pleasant day trip on holiday.

The Volcan Poas National Park is home to an active volcano that still bursts out with small geyser and lava eruptions from time to time. The last significant eruptions were recorded in 1952 to 1954. With an interactive visitor’s center and handicap accessible routes, this national park is a great family outing for people of all ages and various abilities. The main crater of the volcano is a mere 15 minute walk from the visitor’s center. Visitors can enjoy the various wildlife and plant life along the way. If you spot a green yellow squirrel, do take note. This is the Poa green yellow squirrel and is only found in the Volcan Poas National Park, no where else in the world. Over 14,000 acres of lush habitat provides for many animals such as the coyotes, skunks and weasels as well as numerous birds including hummingbirds and the splendid quetzal.

Volcan Poas National Park, Costa RicaWith the captial of Costa Rica, San Jose, only about 90 minutes away, this park is easily reached for a day’s outing when staying in one of the many city hotels. San Jose is a bustling, busy capital that is rather utilitarian in design and appearance. However, beneath the industrial look are interesting museums, delicious restaurants and many fun things for tourists to explore. The city of Alajuela is closer to Volcan Poas National Park and is often more popular than the country’s capital. This is due to the smaller city being less crowded and prettier in general, drawing tourists from the busyness of San Jose to a slower pace of vacation. The climate for both cities is pleasant all year around with very few occasions of rain.

The accessibility and many short walking trails in the Volcan Poas National Park make for a great holiday outing, away from the cities and crowds as well as the daily routines of work and school. Rich in flora and fauna, the park is a beautiful destination for tourists and locals alike.