Open hours: Trails and general visit to the park 7:30am-4:00pm, Terciopelo cave 7:30am- 1:30pm.
2,295 hectares large certainly memorable Barra Honda National Park is located 22 km on the North-East of Nicoya town.
It was discovered in 1974 to conserve the outstanding, largest cave structure of the country, dating back to 70 million years. The caves were formed in the remains of ancient coral reefs which were uplifted out of the sea.
By far only 19 of the approximately 42 caves have been explored. In one of the caves human corpses were found as well as Pre-Columbian remains: utensils and ornaments.
240 meter deep Santa Ana cave is the deepest cave discovered by now. Only two of the caves are open to the public. One is La Terciopelo, which can be accessed by aluminium ladders. It is 63 meters deep and has three halls, all with different shapes and amazing decorations, which are really worth seeing. The other cave La Cuevita is easy to enter; there is only one hall but plenty of stalactites and stalagmites.
In the park there are trails for visitors to examine the caves, enjoy the spectacular view and marvel at limestone formations. In the caves underground it is possible to see most likely bats and some invertebrates. A guide is necessary when entering the caves and special equipment for climbing is available. The caves can be examined in about one hour, but more time is needed for deeper exploration. In the park there are not much fauna; for example some monkeys, armadillos, coyotes, snakes and lizards can be seen, however the animal population is increasing all the time due to the careful protection of the area. In the park there are hiking trails leading to waterfalls that are especially beautiful during the rainy season; the park also features wonderful views of the Gulf of Nicoya and Chira Island.