Print Posted by International TEFL Academy Costa Rica on 01/07/2018

Hiking Barva Volcano

Hiking Barva Volcano

We love exploring Costa Rica, and Barva Volcano had been our list for years!  We finally got the chance to check it out, so let us share our experience and some tips with you.

Barva Volcano is within Braulio Carrillo National Park and is located north of the town of Barva, where our TEFL school is.  To get to the volcano's entrance, we drove through Birri-Santa Barbara, but you can also go through San Jose de la Montana.  If driving, we recommend a four-wheel drive vehicle, as the road is not entirely paved and some parts are in rough conditions.  You can park your car right in front of the entrance, and you only need to tip the guys watching the car when you leave.  If you take a taxi or Uber to the entrance, make sure the driver is aware of the road conditions.  If you are going by bus, you can take a bus from Heredia that will also pass right in front of the church in Barva.  The bus will not take you all the way to the entrance of the volcano; you will have to walk around 8 km (5 miles).  The walk up has some decent inclines, however, we saw around 20 people doing it as we drove up.

Upon arrival, you will have to check in at the office on your left and pay your park entrances.  Costa Rican citizens and residents will be charged 1000 colones and 12USD for everyone else. The park ranger will give you a pamphlet and explain the hiking trails.  The guides are bilingual!  They have bathrooms here too, if you need one.  There are four different trails in the park, and all of the trails are well-marked and in pretty good shape.  You are surrounded by the lush vegetation of the cloud forest and the beauty of the volcanic history.  The ground is quite wet and muddy from the climate of area, so watch your step! 

Shortly after the welcome booth, we strayed to the right to take the Sendero Cacho de Venado.  Of the paths we were on, this was the least-traveled and the most challenging although not difficult.  At the end of the path, we turned right to head towards the Laguna de Barva.  There is a deck right on the water and a lookout about 200 meters above.  The lagoon is around 70 meters (230 feet) in diameter and around 8.6 meters ( 28 feet) deep.  It was drizzling and windy when we were there, so we didn't get to enjoy the lagoon as much we would've liked, but we did meet a cute little raccoon!  Butterflies and hummingbirds were the only other wildlife we saw that day.  We used to live in the area, so we know there are quetzals and the other brightly-colored, long-tailed bird known locally as the "bobo," so keep your eyes open.

As the weather wasn't great, we chose not to check out the second lagoon, Copey, which is 2.5 km from the Laguna de Barva and the guide said would take at least another 45 minutes to get to.  There's also a trail to the lookout of Vara Blanca, but again, we knew the clouds would keep us from seeing anything, so we opted out.  Our hike took around two and a half hours, and the guide told us that if all four trails are hiked, it usually takes around four hours.  (That does NOT include the hike to the park entrance, of course!)

Temperature within the park can vary from around 14°C ( 57°F) to as low as 9 or 10°C ( 48°F-50°) at the lookout of the lagoon.   There's a lady selling coffee, hot chocolate and agua dulce (and empanadas!) outside the gate, so you can warm up after the hike.  We recommend bringing good walking shoes or hiking boots, layers of clothing for the temperature changes, a rain jacket or poncho and, of course, a bottle of water.   If you are hiking from the bus stop to the park entrance, you will probably want to pack a lunch too, however, there is a small store and a couple of restaurants along the way.

Hope the weather cooperates a little better for you than it did for us, but regardless, you will have a great time hiking Barva Volcano!  Are you ready to start exploring Costa Rica?  Contact us TODAY to save your spot in one of our 4-week, onsite TEFL courses 


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