Nature, National Parks & Volcanoes in Heredia
Braulio Carillo National Park: 2608-1037
This 47,500 hectare park Is one of the only National Parks in Heredia and one of the largest in the country. It is an untouched labyrinth of trees, vegetation, and a plethora of diverse animal species to be enjoyed by all. Located about 30 minutes from San Jose on the highway to Guapiles, the park is known for these significant landmarks: The Barva volcano, the Cacho volcano, the Dantas Lake, the Hondura River and Rio Sucio, also commonly known as Dirty River.
All activities in this park revolve around hiking and viewing nature and camping is permitted in the park. This park is, by far, one of Costa Rica's largest and most fascinating, and at a maximum altitude of 2900 meters, you'll encounter multiple temperate zones throughout a vast concentration of thick dense tropical rainforest that's very easy to get lost in for days or worse you you don't stay on marked paths. The Rainforest Aerial Tram provides nature lovers with an up close and personal tour the jungle canopy, 170 feet above the forest floor.
From there, you'll undoubtedly see some of the 150 species of mammals like howler monkeys, white-faced monkeys, and spider monkeys. Some larger and more illusive animals roam the ground level like white-tailed deer, jaguars, pumas, coyotes, peccaries, tapirs, ocelots, and pacas. Is that's not enough to see, you've also got 6,000 species of plants, many amphibious animals like snakes, toads, tree frogs and over 500 species of birds confirmed living in the park like humming birds, quetzales, yellow-eared toucanet, gold finches, the umbrella bird, snowcap, flame-throated warblersand tangares among others.
At an altitude of 2,906 meters, the Barva Volcano located inside the Braulio Carillo National Park, and is one of the most accessible volcanoes in the country. Dormant for hundreds of years, this area has become a haven for all manner of wildlife. set against the backdrop of one of the most majestic and beautiful volcanoes in Costa Rica. And at almost 3,000 meters up, it's always unusual to encounter a lake, right there in side the crater called Laguna Barva.
Cerro Dantas Wildlife Refuge
This 57 hectare wildlife refuge is located within the Braulio Carillo National Park, about 20km north east of the center of Heredia. Founded in 1998, the intention was to conserve and maintain the natural resources of the Mt. Chompipe area. The rainforest is made up of primary and secondary forest with a wide variety of trees, orchids, birds, rivers, and waterfalls. The park is open to the public and visitors can plan hikes and tours to their liking.
This is a non-profit organization that promotes biodiversity in Costa Rica. Rates range from $10 to $45 per person, depending on the activities enjoyed within. But well worth it as it is often said that going to InBio Parque is like visiting all of the animals in Costa Rica in one, singular place, and with an expert biologists on site who explains about each creature you may encounter in great detail. It is especially educational and enjoyable for families with small children. Among the mammals, reptiles, first, plants and insects that are copious on this site, there are other features the park is proud of, such as: waterfalls, farm, vegetable garden, biological station, exhibit halls, look out point, coffee shop, interactive presentation about Costa Rica’s national parks and protected areas, souvenir & gift store, tourist & information center, nature guides, conference rooms, playground, lagoon, 3 restaurants, maze, amphitheater, herbal & medicinal garden
Marine Zoo Museum: 2277-3240
For those who are land-locked, who also love the ocean and marine life, this is a nice spot to visit. This impressive marine life museum is administered by the National University’s marine biology department and is located on their campus in Heredia. On display are some 2,000 species of marine life and keen insight unto Costa Rica’s fragile biodiversity, something that should be of interest to everyone.
Monte de la Cruz Wildlife Preserve
Monte de la Cruz is a public park located in San Rafael of Heredia and is administered and cared for by the Municipality of San Rafael. The fee to enter is $1 and if you want to rent a BBQ area it is $3. Even though this is a wildlife preserve it has a much more of a public park ambiance. This park is a beautiful and affordable place to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends with plenty of nature, fresh air, and a rouge mountain environment to enjoy. There are several walking paths, a duck pond, places to host BBQ parties, basketball courts, soccer fields, children's play areas, and even a look out point with a view of the Central Valley.