An amazing treasure, hidden under the surface PDF Print E-mail
By Andr�s Benavente

Costa Rica is known worldwide as a synonym of natural beauty due to the incredible aesthetic display found in its extraordinary life forms and the spectacular views offered in its forest, beaches, valleys and mountains.

Barra Honda Cave Costa Rica
Barra Honda Cave
However, secreted some distance below the surface, Barra Honda National Park holds a treasure that is totally different; a subterranean system of caves made up of impressive caverns, deep trenches and underground creeks, majestically decorated with calcium sculptures molded by nature over thousands or even millions of years.

Access to these enigmatic places used to be a privilege reserved for geologists and mountain climbers, but thanks to the infrastructure of the park and its seasoned guides, in Barra Honda any person in good physical condition can live the experience of descending to explore this mysterious subterranean world.

Caverns are formed by the erosive action of the water that slowly but progressively dissolves limestone for centuries, resulting in the creation of there huge caverns. The minerals infused in the dripping water are slowly deposited to other areas. With the passing of years this produces statuesque structures in the depths.

Barra Honda National Park

Located in Guanacaste, 22 kms from the city of Nicoya (See location on Guanacaste's map, page 66). It was created in 1974 and is made up of 5,600 acres of dry tropical forest. Besides the caves, the park has a look out point that offers impressive views of the valleys of the Tempisque River and the Golf of Nicoya with some of its islands.

Barra Honda National Park Costa Rica
Barra Honda National Park
At anytime of the year one can see monkeys, deer, raccoons, ocelots, peccary, opossum, tepescuintle and anteaters, in addition to an ample variety of birds and plants typical of the dry tropical forests. At first light in the morning, the forests shines with the morning dew and the animals are much more active. Therefore, arriving early will increase your chances of sighting them.

There is a good information center at the park, and you will also find picnic tables and trails in very good condition. Depending on the rains, you can drive very close to the entrance to the caves, thereby shortening the hike from 2 hours to only 40 minutes. Hours of operation are 8 am to I pm.The entrance fee is $26 per person, which includes the entrance to the park, equipment and guides.

We recommend groups no larger than 8 persons due to the characteristics of the tour. Bring trekking shoes, insect repellent and some fruits. A call the day before your planned visit is required to confirm the availability and to reserve the tour guides and the safety equipment you will need to carry.

Courtesy of Revista Utopia
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