Measuring approximately 62 square miles (160 square kms), the massive Barva Volcano sits at the edge of Costa Rica’s Central Valley. Scientists believe that the dormant volcano was last active 3,000 to 5,000 years ago.It forms “Braulio Carrillo” National Park’s highest point, approximately 9,700 feet (2,950 mts) above sea level. Several cold-water, rain-fed lagoons dot the volcano’s surface, remnants of the once-bubbling and lava-filled craters. The Park’s largest and most visited lagoon, aptly named “Barva Lagoon”, is the volcano’s now-dormant main crater. The lagoon measures 230 feet in diameter and plunges 28 feet deep, its water averaging a temperature of 52° F. Copey Lagoon, located less than two miles from Barva Lagoon, is the only other lagoon open to the public.

There are four major hiking trails that snake through this National Park: Sendero “Cacho de Venado” (“Stag Horn” Path), Barva Lagoon Path, Copey Lagoon Trail and Vara Blanca Lookout Path. All of them covered by a primary Cloud Forest.

 

Tour Description

Our trip begins with an early pick up (8 amaprox.) at your Hotel. From there you will be transported to our Operation Center in San José de la Montaña, Heredia. After registering and using the restrooms on the OC, we will change transports and climb into one of our 4WD vehicles to begin our drive towards the National Park, passing through the town of Sacramento. The road from here to the ranger station at the entrance of the Park measures 2.2 miles, on a very rocky and potholed road that can only be traveled in a 4WD vehicle. Throughout this road we will be able to enjoy amazing views of the central valley.
 
At the entrance of the park we will begin our hike on the Stag Horn Path (1.5 hrs). Then we will hook on to the “Barva” Lagoon Path (1 hr), where we will be able to experience breath-taking views of the main lagoon from inside the crater and from the lip of the crater. Depending on the group and weather conditions we will finally link our hiketo the “Copey” Lagoon Trail (2 hrs – optional), one of the most amazing and least visited trails on the Park. The full Barva Volcano hike, including a picnic lunch, will take at least 5 hours.
 
In addition to hiking, wildlife and bird watching are top-notch at Barva Volcano. Though the Park’s high altitude creates conditions less hospitable than warmer rain forests, hikers and scientists have reported seeing 23 mammal species, 75 bird species, nine arachnid species and several reptile and amphibian species. Birds such as the Resplendent Quetzal, Golden-browed Chlorophonia, Flame-throated Warbler and many different varieties ofhummingbirds join lizards, salamanders, snakes, toads, frogs, deer, monkeys, pumas, jaguars, ocelots and tapirs on the list of animals that we can find inside the Park.

Important Information

Due to the road restrictions on the last leg to the Park entrance we can only take small groups on this hiking tour. It is recommended for people that are into hiking and moderate physical condition. All the hikes are done on park trails. The Copey Lagoon trail is the most beautiful yet hardest to hike, it is up to the guide to decide if the group is suitable or not to do this part of the hike. Since the trip is inside a Cloud Forest wet conditions are to be expected at all times. The high altitude (9,000 ft+) is a factor to keep in consideration while hiking, specially at the beginning of the activity, short breath and even a light headed feeling might be experienced if coming from sea level.

What to Bring

Good hiking shoes, warm clothing (layers), rain jacket, water bottle or Camel Back. A small backpack is recommended to carry extra layers and personal things.

Trip Includes

Transfer from the hotel to the Park and back to the hotel on one of our vans and on a 4WD vehicle; Park entrance fee; snack (granola bars, fresh fruit); sandwich lunch (if you have special eating condition please let us know in advance: vegetarian, vegan); naturalist bilingual guide.

Trip does Not Include

Gratuities for the guide.