Located at just 1 hour North-East of San José and covering almost 78,000 acres (47, 582 ha), Braulio Carrillo National Park was established in 1978. This Park is dedicated to the memory of Mr. Braulio Carrillo, Costa Rica's third chief of state. Mr. Carrillo always dreamed of a road that connected to the Atlantic Coast, and although he passed away without seeing his dream come true, when the park was established it was dedicated to his efforts and vision.
Braulio Carrillo is located only 20 kms. Northeast of the capital city of San Jose, and it’s open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost of the entrance fee at the park is of $15. If it has been purchased in advance, it might even cost $7.
The Braulio Carrillo Park is one of the easiest and closest parks to access from San Jose. There’s an excellent bus service from San Jose to the park and vice-versa, since Guapiles, Siquirres and Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui buses stop right in front of the ranger station. Visitors, who don’t want to travel by bus, might take a cab. For a cab, the approximate cost from San Jose is $35. Another possibility is to rent a car, since the location isn’t difficult to reach. If you’re interested in a more elaborate visit to the park, you might want to call “Los caminos de la selva” agency, which offers bird watching tours (tel.255-34-86).
Seven different life zones exist in the park that harbors abundant wildlife. These include monkeys, tapirs (Danta) and more than 300 different species of birds, including Costa Rica's National bird, the clay-colored robin (Yiguirro). Flora is also abundant at Braulio Carrillo. It has been estimated that about 6,000 plant species exist in the park, including heliconias, tree ferns, palm trees and bromeliads, among many others.
Even though the paths are small, bird watchers might still spot many animals like the beautiful quetzals, toucans, trogons and eagles. Other common animals and reptiles are the jaguar, ocelot, bushmaster snake (“Matabuey”), or the feared fer-de-lance snake (“Terciopelo”). The vegetation is, as mentioned before, completely breath-taking. The park is at 50 m above sea level at its lowest point, and at 2906 m at its highest, in the Volcan Barva. Because of this, the life zones range from tropical wet to cloud forest, meaning that its vegetation is equally diverse.
If you’re already in the Braulio Carrillo National Park, it’s definitely worth visiting the Aerial Tram, located at the end of the protected area (towards Guapiles). This unique tram lets visitors travel in one of its twenty cable cars and to go through the forests’ canopy in order to spot flora and fauna that would otherwise be hidden from view. Visitors must realize that it isn’t a zoo, where animals will be spotted at all times, but even if tourists don’t see many creatures, the visit is still worth it. The Aerial Tram also offers a restaurant and a visitor’s center. (Phone. 257-59-61 or fax 257-60-53).
The Braulio Carrillo is one of the easiest parks to access from San Jose, but its tropical splendor and magnificence set it apart from the rest of the country. After approximately an hour drive from San Jose, you will encounter this amazing place, which reminds people of what ¾ of the country used to be like, only fifty years ago.
From San José, take Calle 3 out of town to where it becomes the Guápiles Highway (32) headed northeast. The main ranger station is Zurquí, on the right (driving away from San José) just north of the tunnel. The Puesto Carrillo station is also on highway 32, 25 miles (42 km) from San José. The Puesto Barva station is farther to the west off the beaten track and is easiest to access by exiting San José through Heredia, then driving north out of Heredia to Birrí, Porrosatí, Barva and Sacramento on 114. The station is two miles (3 km) northeast of Sacramento on a jeep trail.
Created on: April 15th, 1978
Area: 47586 Ha.
Altitude: from 36 to 2906 msnm
Average Temperature: from 2 to 24 degrees Celsius
Average Rainfall: 2500 mm to 5734 mm
Park Hours: Everyday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.