Barra Honda National Park
Barra Honda National Park
4.5
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This park is best known for its well-preserved limestone caves.
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Al Noroeste de la Ciudad de Nicoya, Guancaste, Costa Rica 22 km, Nicoya 50201 Costa Rica
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles136 reviews
Excellent
81
Very good
38
Average
10
Poor
5
Terrible
2

Fess S
Tucson, AZ364 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2021
This cave is way overpriced. I paid $13.56 to enter the park and that is the price of the parks and you can probably see animals and do some nice hikes. The mirador had a nice view and we saw a group of capuchin monkeys.

However the cave was a joke. It cost $20 for the guide and $8 to rent the helmet with a very weak flashlight and harness they secure you with while climbing down a ladder of 17 meters. We then walked down about 30 meters to look at some nice formations and that was the whole tour. If you were by yourself and not waiting for others to climb down the ladder I don't think you would be in the cave more than 20 minutes. Pretty disappointed to spend over $40 for this.
Written May 7, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

467patricia
Munich, Germany180 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2021 • Solo
I’m speechless!
I have been at Barra Honda NP close after
Lunch time, but they haven’t let me in.
All Park Ranger were there, the lady to get the entry paid, a security guy...

But they have decided to close the park earlier!
Why?
I haven’t received an answer!
They hanged out a handwritten paper that they closing at 1pm, so working half day.

Looked like they decide week by week how long they would like to work!

I wouldn’t be angry, if they closed the park and went home.

The thing is, all employees were just sitting there, waiting till their official working day is over. Played with their mobile devices, cleaned their cars, hanging around and doing nothing.

I have been the only tourist,
but is that less worth to let me in?

In parallel, the bath room in Barra Honda NP are disgustingly dirty and with no water! These ones were the dirties toilets I have ever seen in 5 weeks in Costa Rica!
Instead hanging around, the employees could have cleaned the bathrooms!

I’m speechless how such a behavior can be accepted by local Barra Honda NP administration!

@Barra Honda NP - let me know if you would like to recap.
Written March 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

ushuias
Boston, MA1 contribution
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2016 • Friends
The true beauty of Costa Rica isn't the club scene, it isn't the Spring Break wild nights, its the once and a life time experience to go on a true quest. To step right into Jurassic Park, face the elements as an adventurer, and come out a modern day Indiana Jones(minus the small Asian child following you around). Barra Honda is the accumulation of the that kind of Costa Rican excursion.

First, to drown out some of the noise that I've seen other Commenters have left.

Money: it's about 30 US dollars (little over one Sloth, or 1500 Colones) but I have seen many reviewers stating that it was "too much" for what that they experienced. If you think 3 hours of plummeting over 700 feet into caves, a tour of the natural animal life in the area, tutelage on what medicinal purposes certain plants have, and one of the most amazing views from atop a look out is not worth 30$-then you're right, turn back from this spot, hit the back button from this page, and possibly even just consider not going on vacations in general. Barra Honda is absolutely worth the 10 US Dollars an hour. Though disclaimer, you are probably only in the actual cave for 30-40 minutes.

Physical Limitation: This isn't Disney World. This isn't the everyone gets a trophy kind of excursion. This an adventure 788 feet down into the depths of an abyss riddled with bats and stalactites that are older than modern civilization. If you are not physically fit, or you're uncomfortable with the people you venture with exploring through the depths of unstable shadows then this is not for you.

Next, to make a couple of recommendations.
1. Wear long sleeves and pants, there can be lots of bugs but there will be a ton of mud. Prepare in clothes that you aren't afraid to ruin. Maybe a Donal Trump shirt?
2. Bring 1L of water. Its the rain forest and you have to hike a good distance.
3. Bug spray. Everywhere. Twice. Then do it again.
4. If possible, drive up in a 4W vehicle that can handle the steep ascent.

Overall, this place is a gem. A sanctuary heavy with the dense the power of the dark abyss. This cave has so much mystery to it I'm surprise Nicolas Cage hasn't been featured in a movie about solving it. I would highly recommend this place. If you're traveling, leave a few hours earlier so that you can go to this place on the way for a mid day escapade.

Thanks for reading,
FreeLansing
Written October 3, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

wendypel
Bellevue, WA95 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2015 • Family
I’ll start by saying this excursion terrified me, but then I’ll say my 15 year-old sons and husband absolutely loved it. If you aren’t in good shape, have claustrophobia (my downfall) or a fear of heights, this trip is not for you.

It’s also a trip you should research well before you go. We didn’t and learned a few things along the way that I am going to pass along – in chronological order.

1) You need to stop at the “office” on your way up to buy tickets. I had done some research ahead of time, but everyone said you needed to go to the “Ranger station”, and some seemed to imply you could buy tickets at the entrance to the cave. Well, the “ranger station” is the “office” – a group of blue buildings – and that is where you buy the tickets. You get 3 of them, one for entry, one for the guide and one for the equipment.

2) If you aren’t going to hike up from the office (and it’s a fairly long, uphill hike), you have to have a 4x4, or be a very skilled driver to get to the upper parking lot. We had a 4x4 and my husband is a very skilled driver and there were some very steep parts that were difficult to traverse – god forbid it had rained.

3) They don’t give you a map of the trails and there are a couple ways in. We took a picture of the map at the office, which proved helpful. Caverna Terciopelo is the one you want – it’s the only cave open to the public. It’s still about a 1km walk from the upper parking area.

4) Bring water. The hike from the upper parking area isn’t steep or difficult, but you’ll be thirsty at the end of the climb. You go down and come up the same ladder, so you can leave your water at the top while you are down below.

5) I had read the guides don’t speak English, but the one we were counting on to keep us alive and safe, Joe, was pretty fluent.

6) It seems they only allow 4 or so people down at a time (that’s all the equipment they have), so you could wait a while if there are people in front of you.

7) We were the last ones down for the day and we arrived at the cave at 12:30. So, plan on a morning trip.

8) You get a helmet and safety harness to go down the ladder, and they give you a head lamp at the bottom. I was surprised and nervous, but they take the safety harness off at the bottom and there are no safety precautions. It’s very slippery and uneven. Wear good shoes…really good shoes with as much grip as you can find. And clothes that you don’t care about. I did a lot of crab walking down the rocks and the dirt will not come out of my clothes.

9) The ladder is very long and straight down. The only thing, besides your own strength, balance and sheer will, keeping you upright is your harness attached to a rope, through a pulley, with a slip knot held by one guy at the top.

10) The grips on the ladder vary in width and slant, and there are a couple of consecutive rungs with little toe or hand holds. Go slow and hold on tight. I found going up much easier than down…but my husband felt the opposite.

11) It’s not hot, but very humid in the caves. We were soaked when we came out. I recommend a change of clothes to leave in the car.

12) Once you reach the main cavern, there is another level down. I chickened out and did not make that decent. Apparently it is very, very dark and close quarters…even worse for the claustrophobic, but my husband and boys loved it.

13) On your way out (or in…) you should go to the “Mirador” or lookout viewpoint. The view really is spectacular.

The cavern is pretty amazing. We have visited caverns in Arizona and this is a much more up-close and personal – but challenging - experience. If you have a sense of adventure and the ability to master your fears, it’s a worthwhile trip.
Written July 11, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rose-and-Dwight
Ottawa, Canada11 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2014 • Friends
We were 2 couples and spent half a day at the park on the 10th of February 2014. We had not made reservations prior to going but had no problems getting a tour despite not arriving at the park until noon.

The drive to the park is mainly on gravel roads, no different than travelling to most other destinations in Costa Rica!

It was a very hot day when we went and our tour guide was "Hector". Hector was amazing and did quite well speaking English. We had no problems understanding him. He had a really good sense of humour. He was very knowledgeable on the flora and fauna in the park and we learned a lot from him.

Fortunately, we were able to drive part way up to the caves and only had to walk the last part on foot which was on fairly level ground. Even Hector said it was very hot that day!!

Once at the entrance to the caves, the descent was not too bad, although I definitely agree that anyone who is afraid of heights or is claustrophobic could have some issues with this tour. It is very warm and humid down in the caves.

Definitely wear decent shoes AND BRING LOTS OF WATER!!!

All four of us truly enjoyed the experience and felt it was definitely worth seeing and definitely worth the $30 fee.
Written February 28, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

LKWendel
Westfield, NJ2,312 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2018 • Friends
If you are driving from Monteverde to the coast, this is a great place to take a break and worth a stop. The Park is somewhat difficult to find but they do have signs (which is an improvement for most of Costa Rica) to the park (not necessarily when you leave so pay attention). The people were so friendly even if they didn’t speak great English. You need at least 2-3 hours to do the hikes and descend a cave down 58 feet into the Terciopelo cave. The Barra Honda peak was created millions of years ago by erosion after the ridge emerged from the sea. If you like stalagmites, this is the place. The park has great trails and opportunities to see howler and white-faces monkeys. We had lunch at the park while the Camp staff was on break and they were so friendly and very social to us! A very enjoyable stop!
Written February 13, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael H
Brooklyn, NY28 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2018
I'll start off by saying that the entrance to Barra Honda National Park was a bit hard to find being that my GPS was just pointing out where the actual park was and wasn't giving me the location of the actual entrance. After a quick search online I was able to find it (you have to drive through Santa Ana). The total cost (caves included) was $58.00. This covered park entry, cave entry, and equipment to go into the cave, as well as parking. It is a bit expensive all together. You will need a 4WD vehicle to drive up to the parking area closest to the trail that takes you to the caves. It is extremely steep, narrow, and has lots of gravel. If you don't have a 4WD vehicle, there seemed to be parking right by the entrance, but you'll have a pretty steep climb ahead of you just to get to the trailhead. Also, make sure you have your camera or your phone with you to take a picture of the map upon entry. They had no maps to hand out.
The trail itself is not a difficult trail in the slightest as it lays mostly flat. However, because Barra-Honda is a dry tropical forest it is an odd experience just walking the trail. Odd in a good way of course. There were a ton of lizards the whole length of the trail, as well as Costa Rican blue jays (white-throated magpie-jay), that are pretty social birds. We also saw a large group of tree monkeys when we were hiking out of the park, which was beautiful to see, but also terrifying when they began grunting. We were literally alone on the trail as the park is not very busy. We went there on a Saturday.
The caves were pretty amazing, but be prepared to wait as only one person at a time can go down and one person at a time can come up. We waited about and hour or so before we got down into one of the caves. We arrived to the caves at approximately 12:30PM.
Overall, beside waiting for the caves, I thought it was a great experience. I probably saw more wildlife here in such a short span of time than anywhere else on my trip. It is a bit expensive as a whole, but dry tropical forests are a pretty rare thing to visit, so why not?
Written February 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniel F
Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada102 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Reading the reviews I was expecting something worth while here for $30 but I was wrong.

The fee per person is 31usd and it's better to pay in dollars since conversion to colones makes the fee even higher. They don't accept credit cards.

If you don't have a 4x4 it's not likely you'll get to the top so the hike may be an hour or so to the area where I parked the Jeep. From that area you'll go about a kilometer to the lookout which is quite nice, you'll see the entire valley to the east.

From there you'll hike a little bit to the cave opening where you'll be suited with a harness and a helmet. Your cave adventure begins...for the entire 30 minutes! Sorry but however cool the cave may be, it definitely isn't worth $31 pp.

If you want to experience a real cave tour check out Venado caves close to Arenal at $21 pp. The only way someone will consider this tour to be 3-4 hr long is if you hike from the entrance and hike back which may total 4 hrs. Very disappointed what you get for the price.
Written January 15, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nextstop99
Atenas, Costa Rica37 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2014 • Couples
Get ready to drive on some pretty gnarly roads! If you have a car that can do it, the guides will hop in and take you up a very steep road rather than having you hike it. While the guides didn't speak ANY English, we were able to find a way to communicate through facial expressions and my limited Spanish. They pointed out several trees, flowers and medicinal/edible plants. We also saw a huge family of Howler Monkeys and one Spider Monkey. There is only one cave open to the public, with 3 different rooms inside the cave. The guides (we used the ones from the park because it was MUCH cheaper!) brought extra headlamps, but I would suggest bringing your own because theirs weren't so great. After you climb down a super steep set of ladders, you then get to explore the different rooms. These caves contained several different types of stalactites/stalagmites that were still very active with water dripping down. The guide even had us turn off all the lights and we just sat there in the pitch black dark. Eery and super cool! If you show up before noon, it's a pretty good chance that you will be able to go that day without making any reservations. I highly recommend checking out this site. While it is definitely not spelunking, it was a truly authentic experience.
Written January 23, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mark C
Grayslake, IL77 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2013 • Couples
First tip - call ahead. The first time we went there, they were unable to accomodate us. Luckily we did, the second time we called and they had a huge group.

So we arrive, and there are a troop of monkeys in the parking lot!!! 30 minutes of an amazing time and 200 pictures later, we proceed to get started. If you have a car, you can make the REALLY ROUGH drive to the trail to the cave up a hill. Once there, the walk is nice, flat, and super easy. We saw howler monkeys on the way back.

We loved our guides who spoke very little english. You do need to know some spanish, as these were the guides that knew 'some' english. We were able to manage though as we do know a decent amount of spanish.

The cave itself was super cool. I wish there was more too it though. I felt the time in the cave was a little short. But getting in the cave was a good experience. I will not spoil the details, but we have done other caves, including the Venado caves, and really enjoyed this. The cave rocks are super slippery, so if you have good boots, wear them!.

Overall, we would HIGHLY recommend this tour! Just have your hotel call the park directly and make sure they can take you.
Written October 23, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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