Descend into the cavernous depths of Costa Rica for an adventure of a lifetime. Once you re-emerge, continue your day of exploration with a visit to one of the world’s rarest environments. The Barra Honda National Park, only an hour and a half drive from Playa Flamingo, is host to 42 independent limestone caves and an incredible tropical dry forest. The hills that encase the limestone caves were discovered to be the remains of a coral reef that is over 60 million years old! Tectonic movement pushed the ancient reef to the surface where steady rainfall carved out the caves and created the magnificent formations that we find today.
Only one cave, La Terciopelo, is open to the public, but that’s more than enough! La Terciopelo is one of the largest caves and by far the most beautiful. It will reveal incredible stalactite and stalagmite formations around every corner. The entrance to the cave is a 56 foot (17 meter) vertical descent down a ladder. Every group is accompanied by, not one, but two experienced guides. Your guides will outfit you with a rappelling harness and helmet for your safety.
Once you are inside the cave, some of the formations that you will discover include the cave grapes, curtains, needles, pearls, roses, soda straws, terraces, and, last but not least, the organ. This unique formation will produce a variety of melodic sounds when it is gently touched. Give it a try! The calcium formations are not the only things that will catch your eye. You may be surprised at the amount of wildlife that is found thriving inside the cave. Be on the lookout for bats, blind salamanders, fish, and many species of arthropods.
After you return topside you’ll want to explore one of the world’s rarest environments: the tropical dry forest. Can you picture a capuchin monkey among a group of cactus? Sounds strange doesn’t it? Stranger than trees that produce flowers only after they have shed all their leaves? These wonders and countless others await you at the Barra Honda National Park. Wildlife lovers can also hope to see howler monkeys, white-tail deer, raccoons, peccaries, kinkajous, agoutis, and anteaters during any time of the year.
A visit to La Terciopelo cave requires a reservation at least a week in advance. The cave is closed to visitors during the rainy season (May to November) due to the possibility of flooding. For more information contact Escape Villas toll free at 1-888-771-2976.