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Braulio Carrillo reality check

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Brigham City, Utah
posts: 12
reviews: 25
Braulio Carrillo reality check

I am hoping to pull all of this off in one day and need to know how crazy stupid it might be.

I was planning to leave before the crack of down from Alejeula and hit Poas as soon as possible. From there I wanted to do a run through of LaPaz Waterfall Gardens, and then hi tail it to Braulio Carrillo for a couple short hikes . then drive to Cahuita for the night. I would be hiking by myself and want to just do some short quick ones if they exist.

Can I pull it off? If not what should I leave out?

San Jose, Costa Rica
posts: 41,563
1. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

It is doable...but I do not like the idea about shorts hikes byyourself in Baraulio Carrillo...it is big huge park...you most know where you are going...in matter of minutes you can get desoriented ...

roadadvisor

Brigham City, Utah
posts: 12
reviews: 25
2. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

I was hoping/thinking there were a few along the way that were less than a mile that I could know out as I am waterfall seeking. But I am WAY open to feedback and advise.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,218
reviews: 20
3. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

Leaving before the crack of dawn is not going to help you. Dawn comes mighty early in Costa Rica but the gates at Poas do not open until 8 AM.

LaPaz Waterfall Gardens typically takes 2-3 hours minimum to explore. If you want to just hike along the river and see the waterfalls that will be a very expensive hike. You can see the best of the waterfalls and walk behind LaPaz waterfall without paying to enter the Waterfall Gardens. Just past the entry and down the hill, the road takes a hairpin turn to cross the runout from the main LaPaz waterfall and its a freebie worth stopping to see.

There are waterfalls and there are short hikes in Braullio Carrillo but you won't find a waterfall on one of the short hikes accessible from Hwy 32 near the ranger stations. Don't try hiking Barva without a guide. The short trails near the Zurqui and Quebrada Gonzalez Ranger Stations are easily accessible from the highway. Trails are often muddy and don't leave anything of value in your parked car as there have been thefts in this area. Found this description of the trails online (It was too muddy to hike the last time we stopped at the ranger station):

You'll find two main hiking trails at Zurqui Ranger Station. The Capulin Loop Trail, located across the road from the station, will take you through primary and secondary forest. The Natural Botarama Trail, located at the Carillo Ranger Station (Quebrada Gonzalez), 9 miles northeast of Zurqui, leads you on a two mile walk through primary and secondary forest.

Be sure and take roadadvisor's warnings seriously as these are not tame little nature trails and frankly I think it would be foolish to hike them all by yourself.

Brigham City, Utah
posts: 12
reviews: 25
4. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

crfan, thank you so much. If I am going in the middle of September am I more likely to find impassable trails? Knowing my starting point and my ending point do you have advice for me as you seem to know this part of my itinerary quite well? I am staying in Cahuita for a full day and then leaving the following day for Corcovado, then on to Manuel Antonio before leaving CR fyi. I am traveling solo and animals and waterfalls are my target as well as scouting MA for a trip with my wife and oldest daughter in 2013.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,218
reviews: 20
5. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

Holy smokes you have a crazy itinerary if you are trying to do all this so you can have a single beach day in Cahuita and then turn around and head back to San Jose for a flight to the Osa.

Sounds like you have 3 days available to work with: the Poas/LaPaz/Braullio hike day, the beach day and the return to San Jose day (roughly 3.5 hour drive). Frankly much as I love the Caribbean coast I'm not sure I would try and cram this much in. I'd skip Poas and LaPaz and just get up in the morning and head for the Caribbean coast, stopping just before Cahuita to visit Aviarios del Caribe, the sloth sanctuary. Now if you leave in the early morning before rush hour you can be on the beach by noon. Hike the flat national park trails in Cahuita that 1st day to see tons of wildlife (monkeys, sloths and more) and enjoy the beach. The next day take a 1/2 day tour offered by Gecko Adventures down the road in Puerto Viejo that visits the jaguar rescue sanctuary (no jaguars) and the Volio waterfall. Spend the afternoon on the beach. On the way back to San Jose on day 3 you can play it by ear. Check out the zipline at the Rainforest Aerial Tram right next to the highway at the entrance to Braullio Carrillo or hike at the ranger stations. Once outside the park you could detour to visit the Toucan Rescue Ranch not too far off the highway. Save LaPaz for your wife and daughter to enjoy on your return trip. Its not really worth it unless you want to check out the butterfly garden, the hummingbirds, the frog tour, etc. and that all takes more time than you have available.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,218
reviews: 20
6. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

Also in answer to your question - you can expect lots of rain and muddy trails everywhere except the Caribbean coast. Certainly Braulio Carrillo will be wet and Corcovado will be very very wet if it's a typical September with more than 20" of rain. See the weather map at costa-rica-guide.com/Weather/WeatherMap.html

Puerto Viejo, Costa...
Destination Expert
for Puerto Viejo de Talamanca
posts: 1,444
reviews: 35
7. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

Sept /Oct is great month for Caribbean Coast, (aka The Pleasure Coast) Usually very dry. But if you do not do at least 2 nights here, it is too much travelling to enjoy it.

Brigham City, Utah
posts: 12
reviews: 25
8. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

I will be renting a 4x4 and was planning a drive from Cahuita to Corcovado as a bit of an adventure, but hoping it to not be too long. My hope was to hit a variety of National Parks and see some variety and hit both costs. I arrive late September 19 and leave early on the 27. PLEASE keep the advise coming. I have electronically fallen in love with CR and just want to see the richness of the flora and fauna while doing a little recon for MAnuel Antonio as that is our base for the week with our daughter. I am traveling in September as I got a ticket on AA for $315 and couldn't pass it up. Please, please advise. I am also hostel scouting.

nebraska
posts: 524
reviews: 49
9. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

We found most Nat. Parks are wildlife friendly but not so developed for people (which isn't a bad thing, just different from the US) The kind of solo hiking you want to do can be done at Carrara Nat. Park. There are 2 main trails 1 1/2 hr & 3 hrs.

Once you see the crater, Poas hike takes max 45min.

I agree with crfanon on the suggested route.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
posts: 5,218
reviews: 20
10. Re: Braulio Carrillo reality check

I think you are in desperate need of a reality check if you are trying to drive San Jose/Cahuita/Corcovado/San Jose in 6 days. You will barely have time to get out of the car. I mistakenly assumed you were flying in/out of the Osa. You need to take a look at www.yourtravelmap.com to get a handle on driving times as you have picked some places that are very far apart to visit. I'd suggest you scrap the Osa for this trip as you won't have any time to hike in Corcovado in any case.